Malaysia: Ant Financial-backed TNG Digital appoints Ignatius Ong as new CEO

Malaysia-based TNG Digital Sdn Bhd has appointed former Malaysia Airlines Bhd group chief revenue officer Ignatius Ong as its new CEO, effective August 12, it said in a statement on Monday.

Ong will succeed Syahrunizam Samsudin who will return to helm electronic payment system Touch ‘n Go as its CEO.

A 15-year airline veteran, Ong had also served as CEO of Malaysia Airlines-owned budget airline Firefly from 2011 to 2018 where his responsibilities included growth, revenue and sales management of the organisation.

CIMB Group Bhd group CEO and TNG Digital chairman Tengku Zafrul Aziz said Ong comes into the role “suitably experienced, and with a firm mandate to accelerate growth at TNG Digital as it moves to maintain and solidify its position as the No 1 e-wallet player in the country, directly supporting the nation’s cashless agenda”.

TNG Digital is a joint venture established by Touch ‘n Go – a subsidiary under CIMB Group – and Alibaba’s Ant Financial in July 2017 to introduce a mobile platform for payments and other financial services.

The joint venture obtained the approval from Malaysia’s Central Bank (BNM) to operate and offer mobile e-wallet services early this year. It aims to tap into the more than 25 million active Touch ‘n Go card users to boost its e-wallet business.

It is competing with a slew of e-wallets that are present in Malaysia – Boost by Axiata Digital, GrabPay by Grab, FavePay by Fave and BigPay by AirAsia Group Bhd. In total, there are some 42 e-wallet licenses granted by BNM.

According to a report by The Edge Malaysia, TNG Digital’s e-wallet app users has grown 5,000 per cent to 4.3 million users in the last 11 months, where about half of them are existing Touch ‘n Go card users.

Despite being a trendy bandwagon, a Nielsen survey noted that the usage of e-wallets in Malaysia is still low as security and fraud concerns are the top barriers to adoption. In addition, consumers are also worried about overspending by using an e-wallet. Only 8 per cent of Malaysians surveyed used an e-wallet to pay for their expenses.

To woo consumers, TNG Digital has recently launched a money-back guanrantee policy which enables full refund to customers for any unauthorised transactions.

Founded in October 1996, Touch ‘n Go is 52 per cent-owned by CIMB Group while Metramac Highway and PLUS Expressways own 28 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. It holds the intellectual property rights to the Touch ‘n Go e-payment system which are accepted in all highways in Peninsular Malaysia and for most ticketing system for major public transportation.