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Early adopters in financial services are expanding, fast, with e-wallets and instant electronic transactions marked signs of the future, especially considering that well over 75% of Asian consumers are regular users of their smartphones. As competition in the mobile payment industry intensifies in the emerging markets of Asia Pacific and Middle East regions, there is increased focus on customer acquisition to drive growth. As growth slows down in the domestic market, one of the emerging trends, has been the international expansion strategy adopted by some of the key players in Middle East and Asia Pacific region.

Beam: Targeting a range of markets in Europe, GCC, and Asia Pacific

This Dubai based, mobile payment company has seen a significant expansion in recent years. The mobile payment industry has recorded a strong growth in the UAE in last two years, owing primarily to the growing popularity of digital payments and adoption of smartphones and electronic services.

Launched in 2012, with over 1 million users, Beam has been differentiating itself from other providers by focusing on hyper local services, with integrated loyalty rewards, cashback programs and other incentives. The company also has focused on unbanked residents of the UAE. 

Following the transfer of ownership to Majid Al Futtaim, a large-scale commercial holdings company focused around retail and hotels, the company has been focusing aggressively on international expansion.

Majid Al Futtaim plans on heavily using Beam services in their retail sector, with a full roll out expected over 2019. Further expansion by Beam will be focused in new markets in Europe and Middles East regions. Key markets in Europe include Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Ukraine. Its western expansion has proven effectiveness, with active user bases in Australia and Sweden.

Mobile payment companies are set to experience growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) area over the coming years, with significant increase in funding expected over the next 8 quarters.

PayTM: Targeting limited markets with high growth potential

Founded in 2010, with the backing of Japan's Softbank and China's Alibaba group as funding, PayTM already has a footing in Canada and Japan, whilst looking to expand into international markets during 2019.

PayTM’s existing digital payment service in Japan, Paypay, has 10 million active users out of a total of 32 million who use the service. Expansion in Japan directly appears to be a sound strategy, as cashless transactions in the country currently stand at around 20% of total, but the government is currently looking to double this figure within the next 10 years.

In total, PayTM has 320 million registered users and handles up to 4 billion transactions yearly. Their current Gross Transaction Value is around 70 billion, year on year, with an increased target this fiscal year of a GTV of $100 billion.

GrabPay: International expansion through partnerships with banks, insurance companies, and other payment players

South-east Asian based ride hailing company Grab is making serious moves into mobile payments, with their mobile wallet company, Grabpay. Grab has a range of businesses and expansion going forward it is focusing around integrating functionality of all common transactions into a single e-wallet, bypassing the issue for multiple payment services across all of these markets, and providing a single cohesive service. Consequently, GrabPay has a strong international expansion strategy.

  • Grab started 6 years ago, but very quickly grew into a major player in the industry, becoming the largest supplier of ride hailing services when it merged with Uber earlier in 2019.
  • Grab also provides local services including food delivery and online grocery shopping, as well as bike sharing.
  • Grab Financial was launched in March, pairing with the Japanese credit card company Credit Saison to provide lending and loans in the area. Grab Financial has also started making moves into the money lending and finance spheres, specifically in smaller consumer goods and insurance services.

GrabPay’s strategy has focused on expansion through a series of partnerships with banks, insurance companies, and other payment players. After partnering with Kasikornbank (KBank) in Q4 2018, Grab aims to expand GrabPay and other financial services in Thailand over the next 8 quarters. With this GrabPay is now available in 5 countries, in addition to Singapore - Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines.

GrabPay has also implicated that they has expansion plans across the rest of Southeast Asia at some point in the near future. This is supplemented by the fact that, as of February 2019, GrabPay is now regulated and covered by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, as set down in the Payment Services Bill (PSB) of 2019, giving users a deeper level of security.

To know more about changing mobile payment market dynamics in Asia Pacific, click here.

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