Charles & Keith outlet in NEX shopping mall, Singapore.Ask any Singaporean to name a local brand, and Charles & Keith will definitely come to mind. Founded in 1996 by brothers Charles and Keith Wong, the brand has expanded its global reach to over 40 countries, including China, France, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and many Southeast Asian countries. Last year, Charles & Keith garnered further publicity when Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams carried its bags throughout the Emmy weekend. In China, Charles & Keith is known as 小CK, and has already garnered a loyal following. It has its own WeChat Official Account in China, allowing WeChat users to browse through their products and purchase them directly through the mobile app.
Charles & Keith's WeChat Official AccountIn the midst of Singapore’s subdued retail climate, more local retailers are turning to other sources of sales, especially from mainland Chinese tourists. China is the number one market for arrivals to Singapore, with over 2.6 million visitors from China from January to November in 2016, according to an article from The Straits Times. The growing number of incoming Chinese tourists presents a huge potential for retailers in Singapore. Learning from the success of their China counterpart, Charles & Keith Singapore is using WeChat Pay as a start to infiltrate the Chinese market. WeChat Pay is a mobile-payment service available for WeChat users, allowing Chinese tourists to pay using Renminbi, while Charles & Keith Singapore will receive the money using local currency.
A display sign on the cashier counter informs customers that Charles and Keith accepts Alipay and WeChat Pay.FOMO Pay assisted the Charles & Keith Singapore team by helping them reach and connect with more Chinese consumers using social media, and conducted extensive internal training prior to the launch of WeChat Pay in-store. “After integrating with FOMO Pay, the result is immediate! We saw our transaction volume growth in a very short period of time,” said Arun, Senior Information Technology Manager, Charles & Keith Singapore.
February 21, 2017
The mobile payment market in China has exceeded the US in terms of total figures and growth rates.
“China’s mobile payments were nearly 50 times greater than those in the US last year,” Financial Times reported last Monday.
A key reason why mobile payments are so widely accepted in China is because other non-cash payment channels are not as developed. Unlike other developed nations, China has a very low credit card penetration rate. In addition, online payments with debit cards have proven to be cumbersome, as it usually requires an additional authentication process. Conversely, paying via Alipay or WeChat Pay only require the scanning of a QR code in order to complete the purchase.
On the other hand, the US has a strong credit card culture, and it has become intuitive for US consumers to reach out for their cards rather than their phones when paying for purchases. Despite this, Forrester found that half of the American retailers interviewed had already installed or were planning to install NFC terminal equipment by the end of 2016.
Another reason is the popularity of P2P (peer-to-peer) payments in China. It is a preferred way of money between individuals rather than making bank transfers, and makes up 60% of mobile payment transactions in China.
Currently, WeChat Pay dominates in the P2P space in China with WeChat Red Envelopes. On average, users spend 580 Yuan (S$120) per month on P2P in WeChat, according to a report by Business Insider. It has also become a norm to send digital Red Envelopes to one another during Chinese New Year instead of traditional red packets. During the recent Chinese New Year, WeChat users exchanged a total of 46 billion Red Envelopes, up 43% from last year, said Xinhua News in a report.
In 2016, the gross merchandise value of third party mobile payments in China was estimated to reach 38.5 trillion Yuan, according to data from iResearch. This is more than 3 times its value in 2015 (12.2 trillion Yuan). Mobile payments in US rose 39% to $112 billion in the same period, according to Forrester Research.
The Financial Times credited the rapid growth of mobile payment in China to the growth of e-commerce and Internet financial services, such as P2P lending and online money market funds. The shift of traditional sectors from offline and online payment to mobile payment has also led to the fast growth of mobile payment in China. Consumers in China can now pay via mobile for groceries, taxis, take-away meals, and even for a manicure session. Starbucks has also made the shift and announced early this year that it would start accepting WeChat Pay at its China stores.
Although China dominates the global mobile payment market, it still has much potential for growth. Currently, mobile payment usage is concentrated in larger cities, and has yet reached the untapped markets of China’s smaller cities and rural areas.
About FOMO Pay Pte. Ltd
FOMO Pay is the first authorized WeChat Pay & Baidu Wallet partner in Southeast Asia, and was selected as one of the TOP 100 Asian Companies by E27, TOP 100 Startups by Red Herring Asia, and Top 8 by DBS’ FinTech Accelerator Program.
FOMO Pay provides a one-stop solution for overseas merchants by facilitating payment collection from the China market, including Chinese tourists. This comprises of online/offline Chinese payment modes, such as WeChat Pay, Alipay and Union Pay.
FOMO Pay’s business solution serves clients from a wide range of industries, including the telecom, publishing, tourism and hospitality, F&B, education and retail industries.