The mobile payments landscape in Asia is about to start its transformative journey towards a more homogenized space. We saw both major events coming – smartphone manufacturers taking control over now native capability (payments), and telecom companies stepping up to claim their place in their natural niche.
“The mobile payments scene in Asia today is fragmented with many different systems and this poses a challenge to the adoption of mobile payments. As a Group, we believe we can bring about change through our cross-border interoperable platform and collaboration with like-minded partners. Our vision is to unlock the growth potential of mobile payments in the region by providing customers with a convenient, seamless experience, and helping small merchants widen their reach to millions of consumers.” – Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group
Pick #1. Singtel Announces Initiative for Cross-Border Interconnectivity of Mobile Wallets
Singapore’s largest mobile network operator, the Singtel Group, has announced plans to interconnect mobile wallets across different ecosystems through an interoperable platform. This will be the first time that different mobile wallets across different markets are connected to offer seamless cross-border payments at physical merchants.
Singtel’s Open Platform, a group-wide payment gateway, already enables the Group’s mobile customers to make purchases online using direct carrier billing or their respective telco mobile wallets. Now the mobile wallet interconnectivity will allow customers to make cashless payments using their existing home wallet app at retailers when traveling overseas.
The commercial launch of the service is planned for mid-2018 between Singapore and Thailand, where Singtel and AIS have obtained regulatory clearance. This will enable over 1.5 million visitors traveling between Singapore and Thailand each year to use Singtel Dash and my AIS apps at a total of more than 20,000 retail merchant acceptance points in Singapore and Thailand.
Pick #2. China Smartphone Makers Join Hands on Apps, Pose Threat to WeChat
China’s biggest smartphone makers are collaborating to promote download-free “fast apps,” in a move backed by the government and likely to threaten Tencent Holdings’ grip on mobile traffic with its wildly popular WeChat app.
The partners in the alliance are Xiaomi Technology Co, ZTE Corp, Huawei Technologies, Gionee, Lenovo Group, Meizu, Nubia, OPPO, Vivo, OnePlus, and the China Academy of Information & Communications Technology under the Ministry of Industry & Information Technology.
They will standardize formats so that app developers need to just design one “fast app,” instead of 10 “fast apps” tweaked to each vendor’s hardware.
The open platform will form a new mobile traffic ecosystem which will be more efficient and convenient for users totaling nearly 1 billion among the 10 vendors.
Pick #3. DBS Launches DBS Electricity Marketplace Which Allows Consumers to Make Seamless Switch of Electricity Retailers
DBS announced the launch of the DBS Electricity Marketplace, which will allow all households in Jurong (residents with postal code of 60, 61, 62, 63, and 64) to seamlessly switch to other retailers with the liberalization of the retail electricity market in Singapore. Around 108,000 households in Jurong will stand to benefit in this pilot phase.
As a start, DBS is working with two electricity retailers – iSwitch and Keppel Electric. During the pilot phase, all households in Jurong can search for various price plans that best suit their electricity needs on the DBS Electricity Marketplace.
DBS/POSB customers can apply directly with just a few simple clicks via DBS/POSB digibank and choose their preferred payment options. Once the switch is done, customers can look forward to their selected electricity plans provided by their new electricity retailer, without any service disruption.