AirAsia fintech unit BigPay to enter Thai market after GoPay acquisition

Salim Dhanani, CEO and Founder of BigPay

AirAsia’s fintech unit BigPay is entering the Thai market following the recent acquisition of Gojek and GoPay’s Thailand business by the budget airline carrier’s subsidiary, airasia Digital. 

Both parties will be working closely together with the Bank of Thailand to ensure a smooth transition while GoPay is winding down its operations in Thailand, BigPay said in a statement. BigPay aims to go live in the first quarter of 2022. 

BigPay CEO and co-founder Salim Dhanani said its goal in Thailand is to launch with all of BigPay’s core features, from payments to international remittance. It is also looking to localise its user experience to appeal specifically to Thai consumers. 

On July 7, DealStreetAsia reported that AirAsia is acquiring Indonesian ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek’s Thailand business in a stock swap deal, which would result in Gojek owning a 4.76% stake in AirAsia’s lifestyle platform AirAsia SuperApp Sdn Bhd worth $50 million. 

Gojek CEO Kevin Aluwi said the transaction provides Gojek with the opportunity to focus on Vietnam and Singapore, markets it can commit significant resources to. 

Founded in 2017, BigPay has launched a number of regulated financial products, from e-money and international remittance to micro-insurance and budgeting. Available in Malaysia and Singapore, BigPay is now continuing its expansion throughout ASEAN.

In the coming months, BigPay is looking to launch a number of new services, including responsible credit, micro-savings and an offering for micro SMEs and freelancers.

Last week, BigPay announced that it has applied for the digital banking license in Malaysia by partnering with Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd, investment firm Ikhlas Capital and an undisclosed foreign conglomerate. 

Malaysia’s central bank plans to issue up to five licences, with notification of successful applications to be made in the first quarter of 2022.

BigPay garners revenue by charging fees including a 6 ringgit local ATM withdrawal fee and a 10 ringgit, or 2%, international ATM withdrawal fee. The company also charges a currency conversion fee of 1% in addition to network charges, aside from dynamic remittance fees. 

Big Pay registered 4.6 million ringgit ($1.1 million) in revenue in the quarter ended March 31, lower than the 5 million ringgit recorded in the year-ago quarter. However, it was a 5% quarter-on-quarter increase primarily due to the increase in payments and remittance revenues, the company noted.

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.