Thursday, 28 March 2013 00:21

New innovations boosting Asia Pacific mobile payments market

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There’s a growing demand for mobile payment services and platforms that accommodate mobile shopping in the Asia Pacific region, according to a new study which has found that in the past three months 40% of online shoppers in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore purchased items using their mobile devices.

According to a report from MasterCard, the Asia Pacific region is expected to have one of the fastest growing mobile-payments markets as consumers in the region consider mobile commerce a more convenient way to purchase products, which the credit card company says has lead to a growing demand for mobile payment services and platforms that accommodate mobile shopping.

Approximately 54% of Indonesian consumers made mobile payments over the same three month period of the Mastercard study, with China and Thailand accounting for 53% and 51% respectively.

Mastercard also says that mobile payments are becoming increasingly common throughout the Asia Pacific region due to the abundance of mobile technology.

In addition to this, predictions from analyst Ovum show that retail banks in the Asia Pacific region are the most prolific spenders on IT, with a further 5.1% growth predicted for this year to US$118.6 billion, and with the region’s banks aiming to enhance the service offered to their customers who are already quick on the uptake in terms of online banking, which is done increasingly via smartphone apps.

According to Dan Wagner, CEO and Chairman of the mobile payment service, mPowa, there’s also expected to be a drive towards banks offering mobile payment services to their business customers.

Wagner says partnerships are already being sought to build comprehensive systems that can facilitate mobile payment services effectively, and that mPowa has already signed a successful deal with First National Bank in South Africa and is now expanding into the Asia Pacific region to reach similar agreements.

mPowa works by inserting a credit card into a compact card reader, which then communicates with a mobile device via Bluetooth, enabling merchants to accept payments on the move, with Wagner suggesting this type of service will boost productivity and convenience for businesses and also help to increase take up of smartphones created by the likes of Google, Apple and Nokia.

The company recently announced that it is working with Portugal Telecom, one of Europe’s largest telecommunications companies.

According to Wagner, under the breakthrough agreement, "the first of its kind in Europe," Portugal Telecom will employ the white label service offered by mPowa.

“Our strategy of white-labelling the mPowa mobile technology to banks and telcos in the Asia Pacific region is expected to attract a great deal of interest, Wagner predicts.

“This solution will help thousands of business users to leverage the multiple channels, generating sales on their mobile devices. mPowa offers our partners a simple and robust commerce infrastructure which is fully flexible and customisable, and with which they can start tapping into growing areas of new business.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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