Digital payments in Asean to triple to US$1.5t by 2030: report

A woman walks past the Shopee Building in Singapore.
A woman walks past the Shopee Building in Singapore. The e-commerce app helps to make Sea's SeaMoney e-wallet a key emerging player in Asean's digital payments market.
OCTOBER 16, 2020 - 6:45 PM

DIGITAL payments in Asean are expected to triple to US$1.5 trillion (S$2 trillion) by 2030, but the fragmented market means that ride-hailing, e-commerce, and telecom-driven apps are the best-positioned e-wallet players, according to an HSBC Global Research Asean Next report.

Of this, the share of consumer-to-business payments is expected to rise to about two-thirds, up from 35 per cent in 2019.

The rise of digital payments in Asean will be driven by the region's large base of underbanked consumers without credit cards; relatively high smartphone and internet penetration; and high merchant acceptance of QR code payment methods.

In contrast to a consolidated market such as China's, however, Asean's e-wallet industry is already crowded. Players range from standalone fintech companies and financial institutions to telecom operator platforms, ride-hailing operators, and e-commerce apps.

"Ride-hailing and e-commerce apps appear well positioned to gain share given their large consumer base and high level of engagement with users and merchants," said the report.

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"Telecom-driven platforms are also well placed given a large distribution network which can reach unbanked or under-banked users, and due to their consumer insights."

The report identified Sea's SeaMoney e-wallet as a key emerging player, as Sea's e-commerce app Shopee continues to expand.

SeaMoney's user base grew to 15 million in the second quarter of 2020, and HSBC expects its total payments value to rise to US$170 billion by 2030, implying a digital payments share of about 9 per cent across its total addressable market, up from less than 1 per cent in 2019.

With the ability to tap on Shopee’s engaged consumers and merchant base, SeaMoney has started to offer consumer and merchant lending, albeit in a limited way, in Indonesia and Thailand.

Gaming company Razer's payments arm, meanwhile, saw revenue surge 79 per cent year on year in H1 2020, and accounted for about a fifth of group profit. "Razer Gold and Razer Merchant Services occupy strong competitive positions in fast-growing, profitable niches: virtual gaming currency and merchant acquiring," said the report.