Global payment technology provider Visa Inc. has opened its innovation centre in Singapore, its first in Asia.
“It’s a big day for us, it’s a big day for Singapore,” said Ryan McInerney, President at VISA, at the official launch this morning.
As the world becomes increasingly focussed on being mobile-first, the company finds that it is important to look at the way people interact with their devices to see how it can get involved with the conversation.
“Increasingly the point of sale is moving from a storefront to our pocket,” McInerney added.
The company plans to open new innovation centres in other regions later this year and in 2017.
The 7,000 square foot centre comes equipped with technologists and business executives and access to Visa APIs and software developer kits. These features include the ability to activate location based alerts, show transaction history, let users redeem points and rewards in real time, locate nearby ATMs, and more.
The company noted that many of the employees at the innovation centre are new hires brought in to create the next generation of commerce applications. It did not specify how many employees there are at the innovation centre, but shared that Visa hires over a thousand people in its offices in Singapore, managing both operations in Singapore and Asia Pacific.
“The pace of technological innovation across Asia Pacific is unprecedented and creating enormous opportunity for any company that touches the growing payment ecosystem,” said Chris Clark, Group Executive, Asia Pacific, Visa, in a statement.
Clark continued, “With the doors of the innovation centre in Singapore now officially open, we look forward to working alongside clients and partners to imagine and build the creative and leading-edge mobile and digital experiences Asia Pacific is known to deliver to the rest of the world.”
Beh Swan Gin, Chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) also said in a speech that the government entity is trying to “position Singapore as the Digital Capital of Asia” across sectors, and that it sees a big opportunity in the financial technology industry for Visa.
“Singapore, under the leadership of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has embarked on a journey to build a Smart Financial Centre, where technology will be used pervasively to increase efficiency, better manage risks, and create new opportunities,” added Beh in his speech.
The EDB and MAS, together with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), was reported to have launched a FinTech Office and promote Singapore as a hub for financial technology.
In an interaction with reporters while in New York, Ravi Menon, the head of MAS, also said that Singapore will only regulate fintech firms when they pose risks.
Beh added that he believes Singapore can be the ‘lighthouse’ for the commercialisation of new solutions before they are scaled globally.