The year ahead: Our 2019 predictions for APAC eCommerce
1. What were your top 3 highlights in 2018?
It’s been really busy across the region during the past 12 months. It’s hard to pick 3 highlights.
I suppose one has to be the successes we’ve had in the region. In APAC, we had many commercial wins during 2018, but one of the highlights has to be welcoming Thai Airways to the Worldpay family. We had a signing ceremony in November, just after our Rethink Bangkok event.
Secondly, we’ve expanded our offerings across the region. Amongst these are Billdesk and have been working hard on launching WeChat Pay – we’re already live with Desktop QR Code and the Retail POS (Quick Pay) and the Official Accounts will be coming in early 2019. With new payment methods growing in popularity, it’s key that merchants operating in the region can offer the prevalent methods – so it’s great that we can support them in doing that.
Finally – and I briefly mentioned this before – Rethink Bangkok has to be a big highlight for me. Attendance was up on last year and the event proved a major success. The feedback from our customers was really positive. It was an excellent launch pad for this year’s Global Payment Report, and the 1-2-1 consultations went down really well. We even live streamed several sessions – which are still available to watch.
2. Worldpay merged with Vantiv earlier this year, to become one of the world’s largest acquirers. How do you think this benefits our customers in APAC?
Although Vantiv was predominantly a US business, the merger benefits our APAC customers significantly. Aside our ability to help APAC merchants expand (or grow existing operations) in the US, the merger also brought together great teams, great knowledge and industry leading innovation. All in all we’re now in a position to serve our customers, on a global scale, even better than we could before. It’s exciting.
"In APAC, we had many commercial wins during 2018, but one of the highlights has to be welcoming Thai Airways to the Worldpay family"
3. We’ve predicted that next year will see mobile overtake desktop commerce in Singapore. Why do you think Singaporeans favour mobile and how can merchants take advantage of this?
Singapore has always been a great adopter of technology, so I’m not surprised to discover it’s leading the way with mobile adoption. mCommerce is more convenient than desktop – you can do it anywhere and anytime – and it’s a faster way of doing things. When you factor in the high mobile penetration and internet usage in Singapore, it’s only natural to see mobile commerce’s growth.
And how can merchants take advantage of this? They need to develop a mobile first strategy. They should make sure their sites are mobile optimized, and look into their customer behaviour to decide whether that should be via a website or an app. Payments should also be carefully considered. Merchants need to offer a frictionless, translucent payment experience – ensuring speedy checkouts, and of course, providing secure solutions.
4. What are you most excited about for 2019?
Firstly, on the commercial front, I’m thrilled to start delivering real value to our new customers. We have a number of large customers, including VGW and Thai Airways, who went live in late 2018. We’ll continue to optimise their payments, sharing our expertise as a key strategic partner. Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing our customers benefit from our products and expertise.
From a product perspective, we’re looking to expand our capabilities across the region next year, which is really exciting. Watch this space!
Finally, after launching our Australian acquiring licence a couple of years ago, we’re due to launch our Australian office in early 2019. It demonstrates our commitment to this market (which we predict will reach US$44bn) and the region as a whole. It will be our 4th office in the region; following Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore). That’s more offices than we have in any other region, which shows not only the importance, but also the diversity, of the region.
"We understand the importance of providing seamless integration for ease of expansion.
Our local experts can also help ensure APAC merchants understand differences in payment preferences in each market outside the region."
5. We’ve seen Eastern payment methods, such as WeChat Pay and Alipay, expanding into the West – what do you think is driving this?
I guess, what’s mainly driving this is the fact that it’s largely a lifestyle app, so people spend more time on it. They use it for news, for social communications, for dinner …. And then to pay for stuff. It’s a lifestyle app and an e-wallet in one. It offers convenience. It’s a one-stop-shop for users. It’s quick, secure, and people are familiar and comfortable with the app. All-in-all, it boils down to convenience. Convenience, reliability, familiarity and security. People want this, wherever they are. And so, as a large, relatively untapped, market, the West presents as very attractive for the likes of WeChat Pay or Alipay.
6. Other regions are seeing a trend of merchants starting to look at opportunities outside that region. Are you experiencing this trend in APAC?
Yes, we’re definitely seeing that across Asia. A lot of merchants will start in the region – but they are always looking to go global as quickly as possible. We’re in an excellent position to help them achieve this. We understand the importance of providing seamless integration for ease of expansion. Our local experts can also help ensure APAC merchants understand differences in payment preferences in each market outside the region.
As one of the world’s most diverse regions, APAC can be a hard nut to crack!
Luckily help is at hand. Whether you’re looking to enter the APAC market, or maximise your existing operations in the region, our experts are here.Contact our team here