Asia Task Force Guest blogger Alastair Lukies is Group Chief Executive at Monitise. He is a business speaker on the masterclass panel at the ‘Business in Asia: Meet the Ambassador’ event to be held in London on May 3rd 2012.
While our UK-based mobile technology company has been in business for nearly a decade our global footprint took a big step forward in 2010. It was then that we formed our Asia Pacific joint venture with First Eastern, a leading Hong Kong-based investment group chaired by Victor Chu that is a pioneer in the field of direct investments in China and across Asia.
In that same year we forged new joint ventures in India with Visa Inc., the world’s largest payments processor. Creating strategic partnerships is central to our approach as we build on our position as the world’s largest independent mobile banking, payments and commerce business working across developed, emerging and hybrid markets. We do this by forging collaborations with leading players in key markets, whether they are financial institutions, payment processors, mobile network operators or merchants. We act as an enabler at the heart of an ecosystem – whether it is via computer code, networked connections or personal relationships. Through our Asia Pacific joint venture, our partnerships and relationships have grown rapidly to include businesses such as Astra and Permata in Indonesia, PCCW mobile and JETCO in Hong Kong and Handpay and China Rewards in China.
Our business has grown from a company with just a handful of people in London to a global player on four continents with millions of customers moving billions of pounds via hundreds of millions of transactions. In understanding our customer needs in such key markets as Asia, we have focused on securing new business opportunities and innovating quickly in an incredibly fast-growing space. The size of the opportunity in Asia is huge. It has eight of the world’s top 15 countries by population and includes markets with the largest new mobile subscription rates globally.
The mobile has become the channel of choice in a hyperconnected world. What is sometimes overlooked is the massive societal benefits mobile can deliver in terms of financial inclusion. There are more than 7 billion people in the world and 6 billion mobile phone subscriptions, but just over 2 billion people have bank accounts. Mobile is in many parts of the world the first way people interact with financial services. This gives our partners and hundreds of millions of consumers in the region of Asia a truly societally enhancing opportunity. Cash can be ‘mobilised’, making positive contributions to GDP growth, small businesses can receive and make payments without taking time out from their busy schedules to visit the bank and families can send money to their loved ones across the region with the click of a button on their phone!
I look forward to covering these issues in more detail when I speak at this week’s Meet the Ambassador event on May 3rd 2012.