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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Ant Group unveils Alipay+ D-store at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2022

Singapore – Financial technology giant Ant Group officially launched its Alipay+ D-store solution last November 3 at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2022. The solution intends to support the service industry and brick-and-mortar businesses to boost efficiency by digitalizing their operations.

Alipay+ D-store allows businesses to build digital stores across various digital platforms in a fast, scalable, and cost-efficient way. It will also give businesses a suite of toolkits to digitalize merchants’ payments, operations, services, and marketing efforts. 

The solution also gives its partners the ability to build digital stores on digital platforms in the form of mini programmes. These digital stores could also be developed as H5 pages and can be easily embedded in social media and online platforms to reach consumers.

Partner platforms of Alipay+ D-store include Chope, Alipay, Touch ‘n Go eWallet, and AlipayHK, among others. Food and beverage industry companies such as Burger King, Koufu, and more than 2,000 brands in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong SAR, China, and other markets have already adopted Alipay+ D-store in their operations.

“We welcome more digital platforms to collaborate to accelerate the digitalization of the global service industry together,” said Dr. Cherry Huang, global head of Alipay+ D-store.

She added, “Leveraging digital solutions is critical for the service industries to boost operational efficiency and adapt to the fast-changing market conditions. The Alipay+ D-store solution is developed with the goal to make it easier for brick-and-mortar businesses to go digital at scale, so that businesses can better serve and engage digital-savvy consumers by providing a seamless omni-channel experience.”

Moreover, Ant Group also announced that Alipay+ merchant coverage has more than doubled to over 2.5 million. 

Angel Zhao, president of international business of Ant Group, also revealed that Alipay+ rewards, the digital marketing platform developed by Alipay+, are already adopted by mobile payment apps such as GCash (Philippines), DANA (Indonesia), Kakao Pay (South Korea), Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia), TrueMoney (Thailand), and AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR, China) to help global brands better engage with consumers worldwide through digital coupons and exclusive deals.

Ant Group has previously expanded its partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board, which aimed to promote tourism in Singapore through a series of digital and marketing campaigns for the next two years.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

PH fintech UBX to lead multi-sectoral digital transformation initiative, ‘DigiPinas’

Manila, Philippines — UBX, the fintech venture studio of the Aboitiz Group, will be leading the multi-sectoral initiative, ‘Digital Transformation ng Pilipinas’ (#DigiPinas), that aims to drive the accelerated digital transformation in the Philippine government to help bring essential and critical services closer to Filipinos. 

On 27 October, UBX officially introduced the #DigiPinas initiative, a multi-stakeholder advocacy group that will work closely with all relevant stakeholders towards the digital transformation of the country.

A response to the call of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, #DigiPinas is composed of platforms and solutions providers, local chief executives, policymakers, national government agency representatives, members of the academe, and people organizations. 

Together, #DigiPinas members will champion digital transformation in government, supported by enabling laws, policies, and regulations, including Republic Act (RA) 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act; RA 8792 or the Electronic Commerce Act; Executive Order (EO) 170 or the Adoption of Digital Payments for Disbursements and Collections; and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) National Strategy for Financial Inclusion and Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap. 

“One of our core values and advocacies in UBX is to include everyone and even though we have come a long way towards a more inclusive Philippines, there is still much more to be done. #DigiPinas is our response to the call for an accelerated digital transformation in government to help bring essential and critical services closer to Filipinos,” said UBX President John Januszczak

The Philippines is facing obstacles in achieving digital transformation such as low digital adoption, lack of awareness, gaps in access, digital skills gap, and complex regulations. #DigiPinas intends to help the government in the development of technologies that transform everyday experiences, particularly government services and transactions. 

#DigiPinas will be identifying national government agencies and local government units that it can support through digital transformation, equipping each government partner with digital tools and solutions to bring their services closer to their constituents. 

#DigiPinas Spokesperson Mikan Leachon added, “Digitalizing government services will help reduce inequalities and inequities, as the Internet, as they say, is the greatest equalizer. But we are still far from the new digital world that we seek. #DigiPinas takes a multi-stakeholder approach to address barriers and challenges and help hasten development not only in major cities and provinces, but in rural towns and far-flung areas.” 

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

GCash teams up with Ayala Land to offer virtual property shopping on app

Manila, Philippines – Popular mobile wallet GCash has teamed up with property developer Ayala Land to now allow users to view select properties, inquire and access cashless payments when investing in real estate. 

According to a report by ABS-CBN, users can log in to the app’s GLife feature to browse Ayala Land’s property listings and submit an inquiry. Property listings can be viewed by tapping GLife and searching for the ‘real estate’ tab.

Martha Sazon, president and CEO of GCash, said, “With this partnership with Ayala Land, GCash enables potential homeowners and property seekers to conduct virtual unit viewing and, after they make the decision to buy a property, access cashless payment of reservation fees using their e-wallet account.”

Meanwhile, Bobby O. Dy, president and CEO at Ayala Land, commented, “As more and more individuals are turning to the convenience of online shopping, we strongly believe that buying home and real estate properties should not be any different. By launching four of our key brands on GLife, Filipinos can now have a more seamless experience in buying Ayala Land properties.”

The announcement comes after GCash recently announced the opening its new in-app stock trading platform service ‘GStocks’ and a digital wallet for minors ‘GCash Jr’.

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Marketing Featured Global

Global fintech Pomelo expands PPaaS offering with brand uplift, regional presence

Singapore – Global fintech platform Pomela is expanding its payment platform as a service (PPaaS) through a brand uplift as well as expanding its regional presence in Europe and Asia-Pacific. The move will enable Pomelo to continue to capitalise on growing demand for digital payments which has accelerated rapidly following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Headquartered in London, UK, with a regional headquarter in Singapore, and offices in Vietnam, Thailand and Hong Kong, Pomelo continues to expand its footprint by working with banks, non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), fintech and enterprises across Asia and Europe. The brand uplift, which includes a refreshed logo and new website, helps support this ambition.

Pomelo provides financial institutions and enterprises with a unified B2B payment platform solution to boost revenue and lower costs by increasing payment efficiencies across the financial ecosystem. It offers ready-to-use payment rails, intuitive merchant acquiring infrastructure and access to the latest technology, designed with configurable modular features and microservices.

Vincent Choi, CEO and co-founder of Pomelo said, “This represents an exciting new chapter and look for Pomelo and reflects our mission to help businesses propel forward with smart, accessible financial technology solutions. We want to help financial institutions and enterprises address complex or legacy challenges through a unified platform that’s scalable and constantly updated with the latest payment rails and technology the world has to offer.”

He added, “The expansion of our platform business will enable us to capitalise on rapidly growing demand for digital payments that we’ve seen worldwide, particularly in Asia and Europe. We are proud that our technology has helped businesses navigate uncertainty and build resilience by lowering costs and attracting new customers. With more challenging economic headwinds on the horizon, this type of support is going to become increasingly important.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Indonesia-based Akulaku’s BNPL solution now supported by Alipay+

Indonesia – Akulaku, a digital banking and finance platform in Southeast Asia, has partnered with Alipay+, a suite of global cross-border mobile payments and marketing solutions operated by Ant Group, to launch ‘Akulaku PayLater’, a BNPL solution that will allow Indonesian consumers to use at Alipay+’s global merchants.

Through the partnership, Alipay+ will now include Akulaku PayLater amongst its supported digital payment methods, and merchants will be able to access the BNPL solution as a payment method. 

Akulaku’s BNPL functionality provides individuals who have a limited credit history with access to a convenient line of credit as well as manageable instalment plans. By meeting the increased demand for flexible payment plans and instalment purchasing, Akulaku PayLater promotes consumer purchasing power and ensures previously underserved markets can participate in a convenient digital financial service.

According to market research firm eCommerceDB, the Indonesian online commerce market grew 32% in 2021 and is currently the ninth largest in the world. Over the next five years, the Indonesian e-commerce market is projected to grow at a yearly rate of 10%, making this partnership a timely solution to meet the increased demand from Indonesian consumers for online shopping.

Fan Zhang, CFO of Akulaku, believes that this partnership will lead to a more advanced and convenient financial landscape for customers in Indonesia and throughout Southeast Asia.

“Through Alipay+, we will quickly scale the pool of merchants accepting Akulaku PayLater, giving our consumers an enhanced user experience and improving the market competitiveness of BNPL products. The combined resources will reach underserved markets with immediate financial services, fostering growth within these regions across industries,” said Zhang.

Meanwhile, Cheng Guoming, general manager of global partnerships at Alipay+, noted, “We see BNPL as an important part of the digital payment ecosystem and are excited to reach this partnership with Akulaku PayLater to enable the communities in Indonesia and other potential markets to enjoy seamless and convenient cross-border payment services and enrich their daily lives through the global shopping experience.”

Both companies are also exploring opportunities to further extend their partnership to other markets in Southeast Asia.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Monetary Authority of Singapore, Bank Indonesia to commence cross-border QR payment linkage

Singapore – The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Bank Indonesia (BI) have announced plans to commence work on cross-border QR payment linkage between Indonesia and Singapore as part of the ASEAN-wide payments connectivity effort. The linkage is targeted to be launched in the second half of 2023.

The linkage allows users to make instant, secure, and efficient retail payments by scanning the Quick Response Code Indonesian Standard (QRIS) or NETS QR codes displayed by merchants.

In addition, the payment connectivity between Indonesia and Singapore will empower individuals and businesses, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to conduct their cross-border trade, e-commerce, and financial activities efficiently.

BI and MAS also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today to promote the use of local currencies in bilateral transactions such as trade and direct investments. This is in line with ASEAN financial integration efforts to facilitate the wider use of local currencies in intra-ASEAN trade and investment settlement. This can help businesses reduce their exposure to exchange rate risks and costs of conducting bilateral transactions.

Ravi Menon, managing director of MAS, said, “The QRIS-NETS QR code payments connectivity is a milestone in ASEAN’s goal to establish regional payments integration by 2025 and support the vibrant cross-border trade corridors within the region. This linkage also aligns with the G20’s efforts to address existing frictions in global cross-border payments and support post-pandemic economic recovery and growth.” 

He added, “The MOU to promote the use of local currencies for bilateral transactions complements the QRIS-NETS QR code payments connectivity as it will further facilitate the settlement of bilateral transactions between Singapore and Indonesia in their respective local currencies.”

Meanwhile, Perry Warjiyo, governor of BI, said on this occasion, “During Indonesia’s G20 Presidency in 2022 and ASEAN Central Bank Governors’ Meeting in April 2022, payment digitalisation and cross-border payments have become a priority agenda. This initiative links cross-border payments through the interconnection of national QR codes of payment between two countries, represents another milestone of the Indonesian Payment System Blueprint 2025, and also integrates with the framework to promote the use of local currencies.” 

He added, “It provides more options for users in cross-border payment transactions and serves as a key to improving transaction efficiency, promoting digital economic and financial inclusion, and strengthening macroeconomic stability by promoting more extensive use of local currencies for bilateral transactions. Bank Indonesia believes that the initiatives mark a key milestone in strengthening bilateral financial cooperation between Singapore and Indonesia.” 

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Fintech FOMO Pay’s US$13m funding to boost business, talent development

Singapore – Singapore-headquartered fintech company FOMO Pay has secured a US$13m investment, which will be used to accelerate its growth and to invest in talent acquisition and infrastructure. 

The Series A round was led by Jump Trading Group’s digital assets arm Jump Crypto. Other participating investors also include HashKey Capital, Antalpha Ventures, Ab Initio Capital, and Republic Capital.

FOMO Pay will also use the funding to strengthen its research and development capabilities, as well as to bolster its geographical expansion. Moreover, the firm will extend its client base, expand geographically, and diversify its product offerings.

Louis Liu, founder and CEO of FOMO Pay, noted that they are seeing significant growth across all business lines, as their volumes for the first half of 2022 have already surpassed the full-year 2021 levels, and their client pipeline is extremely strong.

He further shared that they will continue to strive hard towards building Asia’s first licensed payment ecosystem with interoperability between fiat and cryptocurrencies, and they are grateful for the unwavering support and belief from their investors, stakeholders, and partners. 

“We are extremely proud and grateful to be one of the front-runners in this industry in Singapore. Singapore has been at the forefront of innovation with a world-leading licensing and regulatory framework. Our goal is to work in harmony with all stakeholders, on both developmental and regulatory approaches to achieve the vision of Singapore as an innovative and responsible global digital asset hub,” said Liu.

Meanwhile, Tak Fujishima, head of Asia of Jump Crypto, said, “FOMO Pay has established its firm footing as a leading local digital payment and banking solution provider which we believe is the future gateway for financial services. The financial technology space is rapidly evolving and we believe FOMO Pay will continue to be a leading innovative player in this space in creating a seamless and secure payments ecosystem.”

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Fintech Credit OK launches new ‘Protect Now, Pay Later’ program for Thai SMEs

Bangkok, Thailand – Thailand’s fintech startup for SMEs, Credit OK, has launched the ‘Protect Now, Pay Later’ program for SMEs, corporations, and individual customers. This program aims to be an alternative for SMEs in managing their risks and accessing the right SME insurance packages plus payment plan options.

Credit OK helps to provide credit facilities for insurance premium payments (premium financing). This aims to serve the requirements of corporate customers and make SME insurance purchases not only convenient but also a friendly experience.

In collaboration with insurance company Chubb Samaggi Insurance in Thailand, Credit OK has designed and developed insurance products to fit the needs of Thai SME operators, including health insurance, motor insurance, compulsory motor insurance, group personal insurance, credit/loan protection, and construction insurance, as well as inland transit/carrier insurance, and machinery insurance.

Phuwarat Norchoovech, CEO of Credit OK, said, “There are 2 factors that contribute to the sustainable growth of SME business, one is cashflow and another is the ability to reduce the risks.”

Credit OK made instant instalment plans for SMEs possible through machine learning, data analytics, and verification systems to make credit assessment simple yet accurate and effective. Customers can choose to have instant coverage from the straight-through purchasing process with 6 instalments with a 0% interest rate. No credit history, guarantors, or bank statement is required.

Moreover, the fintech also houses an online community for SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs called ‘OK Partner’, where small business owners or even individual customers can participate to earn cash back whenever they or their friends purchase on the platform by simply registering on OK Partner and sharing their unique referral links. This will allow their friends to get a cashback discount when buying insurance on Credit OK, and the referrers will also earn extra money through a successful referral.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Indonesian fintech Flip secures fresh funding to help fuel business growth

Jakarta, Indonesia – Indonesia’s consumer payments platform Flip has secured a Series B funding round led by Tencent, with participation from Block, Inc. (formerly Square, Inc.) and existing investor Insight Partners.

This new funding brings Flip’s total Series B to more than $100 million and follows on the heels of Flip’s first Series B round in December 2021, which was co-led by Sequoia Capital India, Insight Partners, and Insignia Ventures Partners. 

With the newly secured funding, Flip will be ramping up its workforce with a focus on engineering and product teams, investing in new product and technology development to provide a higher quality of service, and further accelerating its business expansion.

Flip aims to be the world’s most customer-centric financial technology company by enabling individuals and businesses to conduct fair, low-cost financial transactions from anywhere to anyone on a digital platform. Its products include online P2P (peer-to-peer) payments with interbank transfers to more than 100 domestic banks, international remittances, e-wallet top-ups, and business solution products.

Rafi Putra Arriyan, Flip’s co-founder and CEO, shared that they are laser-focused on helping millions of Indonesians, both individuals and businesses, execute various money transactions at a low cost through their platform. 

“We believe in the vast potential of P2P (peer-to-peer) payment because it is customary in Indonesia to send money via transfer for both personal, family, or household purposes. Despite many others trying and failing, we have succeeded in capturing the market because of our customer-focused understanding,” said Arriyan.

Meanwhile, Gita Prihanto, Flip’s chief operating officer, commented that they are thrilled to welcome Tencent and Block, who share the same purpose of making fintech accessible to everyone in Indonesia. 

“The knowledge and expertise from our strong partners, both renowned global firms and angel investors, will help us to grow our business amid the challenging times facing today’s global market and tech landscape. This investment phase invigorates our aspiration to have an even greater positive impact on society by continuing to expand our fintech solutions and by promoting the digital economy ecosystem in Indonesia,” said Prihanto.

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SME Featured South Asia

Fintech WEBXPAY ties with Visa to expand scope of digital payments for SMBs in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka’s online payment gateway solution provider, WEBXPAY, has partnered with global payments company Visa to expand the scope of the country’s digital economy by enabling seamless, effortless, and sustainable digital payment acceptance solutions for SMBs across Sri Lanka. 

The partnership provides WEBXPAY with a boost to faster achieve its goal of empowering SMBs island-wide with face-to-face digital payment acceptance capability, offering them access to Visa cardholders across the globe. This in turn will increase scalability for the small business sector and consequently aid its recovery.

As a new member of the Visa Acceptance Fast Track Programme for APAC, WEBXPAY hopes to widen its net of financial inclusion by enabling digital payment acceptance to 10,000 new-to-digital Sri Lankan SMBs by 2025, aiming for a Gross Merchant Volume (GMV) of Rs 10 billion by 2025 to elevate the country’s digital economy. This will help increase contactless payment acceptance through soft POS, enable tap-to-phone payments with soft POS technology and bring about low-cost face-to-face transaction acceptance. In a post-pandemic economy, this will also help merchants rebuild and increase sales to more consumers and improve customer loyalty; all while offering their shoppers a friction-free digital payment experience at checkout.

Avanthi Colombage, Visa’s country manager for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, shared that small businesses have always been keen to adopt technology to further their business and most times, only need enablers to accelerate this. 

“Through the Visa Acceptance Fast Track Programme, we are excited to partner with WEBXPAY and play a role in helping thousands of small businesses across Sri Lanka go digital. With Visa’s solutions and best practices and WEBXPAY’s superior payment gateway solutions, small businesses can now accept contactless payments and enable tap-to-phone for merchants quicker and in a secure manner, in their path to recovery,” said Colombage.

Meanwhile, Omar Sahib, WEBXPAY’s founder, commented that they appreciate the support extended by Visa to help expand the fintech’s products and social goals in reaching out to the SMBs in Sri Lanka.

“Through this partnership, we are further extending our ability to offer fast, convenient, and frictionless payments processing in the hope that we contribute towards the greater expansion of the local digital payments ecosystem, and in turn play a transformative role in the growth of the digital economy of Sri Lanka,” said Sahib.