Third-party online and mobile payments in China are set to grow over 30% in 2016 and reach 5.3 trillion RMB by 2017. China is already leading the world in fintech – particularly in the mobile payment and P2P lending sectors.
We like to think we’re a key part of the China’s fintech story, so together with fellow startups Clearcut and Megi we decided to host the event “Payment in Progress” at our home base Tech Temple. Speaking to a packed standing-room-only audience, we discussed how payments have changed throughout history, and the world along with them. We covered everything from Western Union, to Alipay, to the blockchain.
Payments – An Industry That Affects Us All
The first speaker of the night was our CEO, Richard Bensberg. Richard gave a very brief crash-course on the history of payments and the lessons we can learn from it. He then went on to show how fintech startups are taking bites out of traditional banking services, focusing on areas where bitcoin and blockchain technology can be a game-changer. Finally, we looked at a Remitsy customer case study, demonstrating how the traditional payment channels to China are completely failing businesses, and contrasting to how easy payments are via Remitsy.
Payments in Progress
Next speakers were Bob Bogaert and Jonathan Ennslen from the startup ClearCut, which is focused on events management – everything from creating an event listing through to providing payment methods tailored for China. From their point of view, changes in social messaging (think WeChat!) have been a key drive in the mobile payment revolution. In China, the average time spent on mobile per day is 200 minutes and about half of this time is spent on messaging apps provided by Tencent (35% WeChat, 10% QQ).
Speaking of progress, Bob thinks that we don’t realise the progress because it’s incremental. It is like accelerating on a bullet train, with a constant force propelling you. You can feel a little push in your back, but nothing shocking. And then before you know it, you’ve hit 300km per hour.
Likewise, in China, the total value of online transactions are estimated to reach more than one and a half trillion USD by the end of the year. And this number should double in the next 5 years.
Accounting for Small Businesses Operating in China
The last speaker of the night was Michael Chiao from accounting startup Megi. There are countless issues that SMEs in China are facing in accounting: dealing with the complications of China’s business compliance; accounting structure and internal controlling processes; staff payroll and welfare. These are all time-consuming activities that take time from what matters the most: growing the business. Megi’s software aims to automate these issues by connecting small businesses with a “virtual CFO” who examines financial records offsite and thus reduces the business’s accounting costs.
We would like to express thanks to the co-organizers of the event AustCham, BenCham and BritCham (CBBC).