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The Remitsy Blog
Neil Woodfine
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Neil Woodfine

    The Problem

    First4Figures work with numerous freelance quality inspectors in China. Making payments to these individuals was a difficult task. Bank payments would result in large losses due to fees at both ends and payments regularly got blocked or delayed. Things got so bad that carrying cash across the border was even considered. All these problems reduced bottom-line, caused slow-downs, and distracted F4F from their core business.

    Who are First4Figures?

    First4Figures (F4F) manufacture collectible figures from licenses such as the Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Sonic the Hedgehog. Most of the manufacturing occurs in China and as part of F4F’s dedication to quality, they hire third-party inspection agents to oversee production.

    first_four_figures2

    “Using Remitsy has allowed us to quickly and painlessly deal with sending RMB to our inspection agents to check on quality during production in China.”

    — Kanako Davis, CFO, First4Figures

    Remitsy to the Rescue

    By switching from their old international bank wires to payments through Remitsy, F4F were able to make domestic payments from a HK bank account – much easier to manage via online banking. The inspectors would then receive RMB direct to their local bank account – no more physical trips to the bank and no messing around with currency conversion. Most importantly, fees were considerably lower, meaning the inspector got to see more of the actual send amount.

    A typical payment from F4F:

    SERVICEAMOUNT
    SENT
    PROCESSING FEE
    (SEND)
    PROCESSING FEE
    (RECEIVE)
    EXCHANGE RATE
    SPREAD
    TOTAL
    FEE
    TOTAL
    FEE (%)
    BankUS$1000US$25US$28.78US$2.00 (0.2%)US$55.785.58%
    RemitsyUS$1000US$10.00 (1%)US$10.001.00%

    “I had to send USD to individual contractors as I couldn’t send RMB. The contractors really didn’t like that. They love the fact that they can now receive RMB thanks to Remitsy.”

    — Kanako Davis, CFO, First4Figures

    Roundup

     💰 Fee savings: US$55.78 -> US$10 (5.58% -> 1%) 💰
    ⏰ Time savings: 2 working days -> 24 hours (inc. weekends) ⏰
    🏆 Biggest win: Finally found a convenient RMB payment method 🏆

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


    To learn more about how you can make RMB payments to China, drop us a message via the button in the bottom-right corner , or register an account at Remitsy!

    Neil WoodfineNeil Woodfine

    Making Micropayments to China with Remitsy

    micropayments_blog4

    Cross-border payments are hard enough for regular-size transactions, but when it comes to micropayments they can be downright impossible.

    Micropayments are usually discussed in terms of accepting them from customers (e.g. for online content), but increasingly online businesses need to deliver small payments to their users. From our work with clients, this growing demand includes platforms working in spaces as diverse as affiliate marketing, video gaming, and influencer social marketing.

    China’s Unique Market

    China poses a unique challenge to cross-border micropayments due to the controlled nature of the local currency. But it also offers a number of unique opportunities not available elsewhere. For example, the prevalence of e-wallets, such as Alipay and Wechat, allows for fast and cheap domestic delivery of small payments to platform users.

    Remitsy leverages these advantages thanks to our use of bitcoin technology to convert payments. We excel at small business payments – but for micropayments we totally knock the ball out of the park! Businesses holding US dollars (or any of our other supported currencies) can now deliver payments of any size to Alipay wallets (no WeChat yet) – converted at the mid-market rate and delivered in real-time via our API.

    Getting Started

    Keeping things as simple as possible, our micropayment service operates the same as our regular payments services, using our same standard public API.

    If interested, to get started businesses should:

    1. Register a regular account at remitsy.com
    2. Check out our API documentation here
    3. Request a sandbox API key from api@remitsy.com

    Our payment API has enabled business models that were practically impossible to successfully launch in China. If you have an interesting new business model that requires micropayments, make sure you get in touch with us at hello@remitsy.com or on the live chat below!

    🚀🚀🚀

    Neil WoodfineNeil Woodfine

    Where to Find China Freelancers

    By สุวรรณา วิเศษแก้ว (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    One of Remitsy’s key use cases is making payments to freelancers in China who are providing services to companies abroad. Freelancing and “the gig economy” are fast growing spaces, but engaging in these relationships across borders can cause all sorts of problems with payments. Small transactions to personal accounts in China is exactly where our bitcoin conversion technology excels.

    But enough about us – with so many of our clients making payments to freelancers in China, we thought we might share some of our China expertise on how to find freelancers here. There’s a lot of platforms out there these days and it can be difficult to navigate for the newcomer.

    Something you don’t already know

    Rather than create a list of global freelancing platforms you already know – the likes of Upwork, Freelancer and PeoplePerHour – we thought you might like to discover a few of the less-well-known platforms, especially those with a China focus.

    So we’ve compiled a list of the foremost platforms for hiring freelancers in China, most of them based in China itself. This also means that many of the sites are offered in Chinese-language only…and you’ll need someone on your team who can speak Chinese to navigate them. But these days, for companies doing business with China, that isn’t too unusual!

    One important thing to note about Chinese freelancing platforms: they tend to offer services from a mixture of both small agencies and individual freelancers. So depending on your requirements, make sure you take note of what kind of entity you are engaging with!

    Read on for our list (we’ll try to keep this updated as we hear of interesting new platforms!).

    Zhubajie
    Witmart (Zhubajie) is the biggest outsourcing platform in China, connecting startups with freelancers and agencies providing a wide variety of services. Currently the majority of projects listed on are related to graphic design, website production, and circuit design. A warning to freelancers listing services there: Witmart take a 20% fee on all payments, which is a bit steep compared to other platforms!
    Language: English + Chinese

    680
    680.com (formerly Vike China) specialises in software and design services, for example: trademark registration, web design (especially Taobao store fronts) and logo design. While probably the largest platform in China for this sector, it still uses the traditional method of selecting candidates – based on submitted profile only – vs. most of the other platforms which have moved to variations on the crowdsourcing model (think: 99designs).
    Language: Chinese

    Epwk
    Epwk (Yipin Weike), unlike some of the more traditional freelancer platforms, has chosen to not take a cut of freelancers fees on the site. Instead it has taken the route of providing paid value-added services. Their focus is on helping companies find creatives, designers and service agencies (both studios & individuals). Multiple selection methods available.
    Language: Chinese

    Renwuyi
    Renwuyi is a freelancer aggregator – like Skyscanner but for outsourcing. You’ll find most of China’s major platforms listing jobs here. They’re also offering a fairly aggressive referral scheme – if you register accounts with Witmart, Epwk or Freelancer via Renwuyi’s promo link, they will credit your account with 100% of their referral fee.
    Language: Chinese

    Dakun
    Dakun is a new spinoff from premier startup recruitment platform Lagou. As a huge fan of Lagou (some of our best team members joined through their platform), I’m expecting big things from their new foray into the freelancer market. However, Dakun only opened at the beginning of 2016 and at the moment seems to be aimed at the higher end of the market, offering a small selection of industry experts. With high prices and few projects listed, it may take some time to take off, but I’d be confident of the quality of service provided.
    Language: Chinese

    Cadence
    We’ve personally used Cadence (formerly SeekPanda) before for simultaneous interpretation at one of our Bitcoin Meetup events in Beijing. The platform connects you with multiple freelance interpreters working in China. They provide excellent customer service and an accurate match of skill sets.
    Language: English + Chinese

    freelancer
    FreelancerChina (their focus is in the name!)  has also focus on the developer market, and has been localised fairly well for an international English-speaking audience. After submitting your project requirements, CVs of the developers are sent across to allow you to select the most suitable developer for the job.
    Language: English + Chinese

     %e6%99%ba%e5%9f%8e
    TaskCity (Zhicheng) aims to open up Chinese software outsourcing to the global market. With an international team and perspective, they claim to have experience in helping smooth the process of connecting international companies with Chinese expertise.
    Language: English + Chinese

    Chuangyiwang
    Toidea (Chuangyi Wang) is all about innovation and design. If you are designing a logo, trying to come up with a Chinese slogan, or any type of branding, this is the place to find some creatives!
    Language: Chinese

    Ziwork
    Ziwork (Zike) is a place where you can find Chinese freelancers working in design, technology, operations, marketing, prototyping or even financial services. Freelancers on Ziwork are in the high-end talent bracket and are paid by the hour.
    Language: Chinese

    soho-task-logo
    Soho Task is another freelancer platform where fees are charged by the hour. On the Soho Task platform you can find IT freelancers, programmers, designers, product managers, administrative, financial or legal personnel. And can also find some outstanding Chinese students here…in case you are looking for somebody to do your homework 🙂
    Language: Chinese

    91y8
    On the 91y8 (91Waibao) website you can find agents who can help you with app development, website construction, animation, film production, game design and other similar services.
    Language: Chinese

    Taskcn
    Taskcn (Renwu Zhongguo) can help you with finding freelancers working in professional logo design, advertising / packaging design, web design, activity planning, translation, or creating slogan / name for your company or product.
    Language: Chinese

    Neil WoodfineNeil Woodfine

    You Wanted Payments from India to China? …You got it!

    Remitsy now supports sending Indian rupees to China

    Since starting Remitsy we’ve been focused on supporting clients from North America and Europe, but we’ve always had a large number of enquiries from Indian businesses wanting to make payments to China.

    Cheapest way to send money to China from India. Converting Indian rupees to Chinese yuan, transfer money to china bank account

    Payments from India to China have just got a whole lot better

    Making payments to China from India can be tough, with small businesses usually forced to make payments in US dollars. This means each payment is hit with two exchange fees (INR  USD, USD CNY) and results in a pile of paperwork at both ends.

    Well, we are happy to announce that from now on Remitsy allows Indian businesses to settle payments to China in rupees, with their business partners receiving Chinese yuan direct to their bank accounts.

    We’re offering the service at our usual world-leading rates: converting INR to CNY at the real exchange rate (mid-market rate), plus a 1% fee. No fixed send or receive fees. And no surprises. There has probably never been a cheaper way of sending money to China from India.

    Send money to China from India

    Our payment process for Indian customers is slightly different from other send regions. See below for the steps required:

    1. Book your rate at remitsy.com
    2. Provide us with company verification documents (you’ll only need to do this once!)
    3. Wire INR to our local banking partner bank account
    4. Provide us with your wire reference number
    5. Remitsy deliver CNY to your supplier within 24 hours! 

    If you’re a business in India and looking to make a payment, [get registered and check out our platform now]. We have 24/7 live (human!) English-language support to answer any questions you might have (I’m there too sometimes).

    This is going to be a huge money & time-saver for the Indian small business community (and their Chinese business partners as well!).

    Book payment to China on Remitsy

    If you’d like to help us spread the word, we run an affiliate program [Remitsy Share]. For any businesses you introduce to us, we will share half of our fees with you. Worth inviting a friend or two!

    We’re looking forward to expanding our service in India and expect this to be one of our most popular corridors. See you at Remitsy soon!



    Neil WoodfineNeil Woodfine

    Remitsy Mega-Update: What to Expect?

    If you’ve been to remitsy.com recently you may have noticed things look a little different — we’ve just made a major upgrade of the site!

    Before you head over to check out all the shiny new stuff, I’d recommend you read the following so that you know what to expect (for those short on time check out the summary of major changes at the bottom!).

    Why the major update?

    Since launching the Remitsy Beta site in December 2015, we’ve been rapidly onboarding all kinds of exciting businesses making payments to China. In addition to processing CNY payments for manufacturing and export, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the other uses people have found for our product.

    For example we’re now the no.1 choice for businesses making payments to China freelancers and remote workers. Our Mass Payout API (private beta) has also proved to be a big draw for online platforms looking to deliver payments quickly and cheaply to their users in China.

    We’ve been taking on board all the feedback from these users and have been trying to update the site to better suit their specific needs as fast as we can. However, we gradually realised that we needed a more flexible platform that would allow us to add features and resolve bugs at a faster pace.

    Remitsy mega update introduces payments to businesses or freelancers in China.

    The all-new select recipient type screen

    So while we’re keeping the same speedy, blockchain-based payment processing backend, we’ve moved to a completely new frontend setup*. Expect us now to move a lot faster on our user feedback — so keep the great comments coming! We have a number of cool ideas of our own in the pipeline too…sending money to China is going to get a whole lot easier!

    *For the dev geeks out there: we switched from Ember () to Bootstrap ().

    What to expect?

    For now, some of the key changes you’ll be seeing on the new site:

    • We’ve added a dedicated option to pay to personal accounts in China.
    • A world-first Alipay payment option. Remitsy is now the cheapest and fastest way to deliver cross-border payments to Alipay wallets.
    • The order of information requested for a payment booking has been changed to make the process more intuitive.
    • We’ve added a lot more directions and tooltips to help new users navigate the interface.
      Send amount limits for paying businesses and individuals have been made clearer.
    • Users can now manually enter their recipient’s bank account information (we’d still recommend putting this on the invoice).
    • The login button is a lot easier to find!

    We think you’ll like the new site and find it easier to use. But as with any change we’re expecting a lot of questions. We’ve bumped up our team’s support hours, so you’ll find someone available on our livechat 24/7 to deal with any problems you might have.

    Thanks for sticking with us… time to go check out the new site!





    Neil WoodfineNeil Woodfine

    Breaking the US Dollar Addiction

    This article first appeared in June’s issue of FOCUS Magazine, the official publication of the China-Britain Business Council and British Chamber of Commerce in China. Learn how you can read the current issue here

    Many British companies pay their Chinese business partners in US dollars, despite the fact they operate in British pounds. But for businesses based outside the US, relying on dollars can lead to hidden fees and unseen risks that can hurt your bottom line.

    US dollar alternatives, USD, GBP, RMB, sending money to China, paying supplier in China

    Don’t be limited by US Dollar. There are now other alternatives for payments to China (Picture: FOCUS Magazine)

    Why Do We Use Dollars?

    For developed economies, it’s more convenient. Businesses purchasing goods or services know their supplier abroad will accept dollars, and suppliers quote invoices in dollars because they know their partners can pay in them. But UK companies getting paid in pounds, and Chinese companies buying raw materials in RMB are both paying currency conversion fees for these same dollars.

    The Hidden Cost of Conversion

    Savvy travellers steer clear of airport currency conversions, but few businesses question banks when making overseas transactions. Businesses need to be diligent in performing their own conversion calculations and ensuring they understand the mid-market rate. This is the mid-point between the buy and sell price in the currency markets, increasingly known as the real exchange rate. Deviance from this rate means that money is being lost in the transaction. In the UK, converting from pounds to dollars means losing between one to four percent depending on the amount. Smaller payments lead to greater fees, which means small and medium-sized businesses pay the most. And while companies usually account for every expense, few record their exchange rate loss or their payment processing costs. Things are even more confusing on the supplier side, where the dollars received must be converted to RMB. Luckily, converting foreign currencies within China is a far cheaper transaction, with currency conversion losses ranging between 0.5 to one percent.

    Putting a Price On Currency Risk

    Owing to varying exchange rates, suppliers need to protect themselves from USD-CNY currency fluctuations. The time between issuing their invoices and receiving payment can take two to three months – and anything can happen. In August 2015, the RMB was devalued by over three percent in just two days. Buyers in the UK should also worry about currency risk. If British companies do not maintain US dollar accounts (at the expense of cash flow), a depreciating pound versus the dollar would mean more expensive goods or services when it comes to the settlement date. Europe’s more mature financial markets allow companies to hedge products to fix an exchange rate for a set time in the future. But Chinese suppliers are often forced to take a cruder approach; they increase the invoice’s value to include a ‘buffer’ against any potential currency fluctuation. In general, this currency risk hedge used by suppliers is around 5 percent. If the RMB devalues against the dollar, then the supplier wins twice – but is unlikely to pass the savings on to you.

    Costing It Up

    Taking all this into account, value leaks from every transaction. Small business might lose up to 10 percent per invoice, just for paying with dollars. The wrong approach is to see part of these losses as ‘not our costs’. The invoice price versus production cost is all that matters. By reducing your suppliers’ costs you should also decrease the costs of the goods or services being purchased.

    Obstacles to Change: Tax Avoidance and Inertia

    One factor behind Chinese suppliers’ preference for US dollar settlements is tax benefits. Exporters in China may set up offshore bank accounts in jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. After receiving payments to these locations, the Mainland company re-invoices the offshore company at a lower price, leaving the majority of profits in offshore accounts – which, owing to looser financial regulations, are more liquid and flexible. Furthermore, the exporter only pays taxes on the small margin between their expenses and the new invoice. Despite the conversion costs, tax savings are a big incentive for suppliers to avoid seeking any other solution. Unfortunately, this can sometimes scupper attempts to improve the payment process.

    Breaking the US Dollar Addiction, US Dollar losing its power, US Dollar and RMB, CNYUSD

    Breaking the US Dollar addiction in trade with China

    Times are changing, however

    China’s stellar economic growth is slowing, and regulators are realising that well-earned export profits are languishing outside the country’s coffers. On-shore settlement will soon be the only available option for payments to China, and suppliers will be looking to optimise margins. The other big obstacle to change is familiarity. Processes have been established around using US dollars in trade, and asking either company to upend years of tradition can be challenging.

    What Are The US Dollar Alternatives?

    As a British company making purchases from China, the obvious alternatives are RMB or pound settlements. Either option means that payments are only subject to one conversion loss, and one dimension of currency risk.

    The Rise of the Redback

    Increasingly, companies are turning to RMB settlement. By paying in RMB, the supplier no longer has to worry about currency fluctuations, and discounts should be more easily negotiated. According to a 2014 HSBC survey, 55 percent of Chinese suppliers are willing to give discounts of up to five percent if the buyer can settle in RMB. A prime example is British supermarket chain Tesco. Realising the possible savings gained through clever currency management, the company has insisted that all Chinese suppliers accept RMB settlement. By controlling the payment process, Tesco has minimised the value leakage during transactions.

    Pounds Are Good Too

    While Chinese suppliers should technically prefer RMB settlement, it’s not always an option – and in this case, UK businesses should push for invoices in pounds. This still pins the currency risk on the supplier, who will implement the usual price buffering. However, at least the payment undergoes only one conversion, which ideally should be performed within Mainland China where exchange rates are better.

    Weighing Up Your Options

    The US dollar is still, without a doubt, the world’s dominant currency, but thanks to a fast-evolving cross-border payment space, it is no longer the only option. Investigating new payment solutions takes time, but long-term rewards will more than cover the investment in research. It is no longer acceptable to ignore the costs of dollar overuse. By taking responsibility for the total cost of cross-border payments, businesses can improve their bottom line.




    Neil WoodfineNeil Woodfine