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Razer announces partnership with Visa to transform digital payments in SE Asia

2019-08-08 11:39 Thursday

Gaming lifestyle brand Razer is expanding its digital payment network through a partnership with Visa, which will allow Razer's e-wallet users to pay for goods and services at 54 million Visa merchants globally, according to a recent announcement.


The move is the first time that a gaming company has partnered with an international payment operator in this way, and reflects the growing trend for smaller companies offering niche e-wallets, following similar apps from fitness tracker Fitbit and HSBC in Hong Kong.

After the system is set up, it means that up to 60 million users of Razer's specialist online payments service, Razer Pay, will be able to use the new virtual prepaid solution offered by Visa from their phone's e-wallet. This means that users can make payments wherever the Visa sign is shown. Users will be able to pay without the need for a bank account or a credit card.

The new service will roll out in June and July, starting in Malaysia and Singapore where Razer Pay is already available. Later, Visa expects to expand into other countries including the Philippines where the launch of Razer's e-wallet is being planned.

Razer is an American-founded gaming hardware manufacturing company established in 2005 by Singaporean entrepreneur Min-Liang Tan and Robert Krakoff, which pitches itself as “the world leader in high-performance gaming hardware, software and systems.”

It is primarily known for producing gaming laptops, gaming tablets, and PC peripherals such as mice, audio devices and keyboards, where it holds a significant market share.

At the moment, Razer Pay is mostly used for internet e-commerce and transport hailing apps. It can also be used to send micro-transactions between users, access services such as mobile phone top-ups, and buy gaming credits and other digital entertainment subscriptions.

The partnership could help Razer expand its share in a highly fragmented payments sector. In SE Asia, each country has multiple digital wallet services from different players. Some of the bigger e-wallet players include Go-Pay and GrabPay, respectively operated by transport app and food delivery firms Grab and Go-Jek.

Chinese tech behemoths Alibaba Group, and Tencent Holdings, which pioneered mobile payments in China, have also expanded into the Singapore region with their own offerings, Alipay and WeChat Pay.

The idea for the gaming gear maker Razer to build a payments service began with a tweet on Twitter in 2017, when founder and chief executive Tan Min Liang offered to build an e-payments system for Singapore in 18 months. This was made in response to a post by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the social media platform.

The partnership with Visa is tapping into the under-banked, young, tech-savvy population in SE Asia that is undergoing a shift toward online payments, say experts. Only 27% of SE Asia's 600 million people have a bank account, according to analysis from KPMG.

Yet, 51% of them are monthly active internet users, according to a report by Google and Temasek from 2 years ago.

“We want to make sure we're able to introduce the benefits of mobile and digital payments to [the under-banked youth citizens in SE Asia], in order to bring them up to the formal financial system,” said Chris Clark, regional president of Visa Asia Pacific.

“We are currently focusing on SE Asia where we see massive opportunity. There is a huge youth demographic and a lot of them are gamers,” Lee said “These are usually the early adopters of new technology.”

The whole region has seen its mobile payments landscape grow rapidly in recent years, pushed by high mobile adoption rates and the popularity of mobile services.

For example, Vietnam has seen the highest growth globally in mobile payment use in the past year. There are no less than 6 SE Asian countries, including Singapore and Malaysia, in the top ten markets for the shift to mobile, according to a PwC survey published in April.

In Singapore, as elsewhere, the shift from cash to smartphones has been helped by the endorsement of the government. Singapore, for instance, has tried to nudge its population to embrace mobile payments, e-wallets and e-commerce payment platforms.

In the latest measure, the city state pledged to lower cash withdrawals at ATM and phase out paper checks completely by 2025.

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