Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Manu Rajan, Chief Executive Officer @ Wing
What are the key changes you noticed in 2020 that will be impacting the markets you are operating in during 2021?
Mobile Banking gaining acceptance: In Cambodia there are over 5Mn mobile wallets in circulation facilitating over $50Bn worth of transactions, according to data by The National Bank of Cambodia. Wing alone has more than 3Mn wallet users who add to this fast-growing segment of mobile wallet user.These welcoming trends speak not only of widespread and faster mobile banking adoption but also show signs that the country may have unique competitive advantages that would allow it to leapfrog into digital payments.
Coming out of the Discount Trap for payments: Another interesting trend the Cambodian payments market has witnessed is that companies are choosing to come out of the discount trap created in the past to trigger offline digital payments at merchants. Companies like Wing have led this transformation with the introduction of strategic win-win solutions for customers and merchants such as: WingPoints. A rewarding program that gives cash back for digital payments in the form of points. These points can be used for any transaction or to redeem fabulous gifts from a catalogue, ensuring the discounts given filter into the economy as subsequent transactions, and do not get consumed as instant gratification.
Consolidation of PSP/PSIs: Cambodia is one of the most competitive and lowest priced Mobile Financial Services markets in the world according to the GSMA (Global System for Mobile Association). This market characteristic has led to PSP/PSI consolidation, a trend expected to continue in the coming years as a viable option to collaborate and win in a fiercely competitive market.
Bakong driving Inter-Operability: From being a market using rice as barter just over 40 years ago to being the only country in the world whose National Bank has a blockchain backed tokenized currency for inter-operability, Cambodia has come a long way. One of the biggest NBC achievements in 2020 was the launch of Bakong: an inter-operable platform for money transfers among financial institutions. The launch of Bakong has made companies like Wing the default ATM of the country. Customers of the participating banks of Bakong can now transfer money into a Wing account, and cash it out at any of the 9000+ Wing agents in any district or commune in Cambodia.
Large SME & MSME segment: The recognition of the vital role over half a million SMEs and MSMEs play in Cambodia has led to many institutions focusing on the growth potential of this segment. Public sector banks like SME Bank focus specifically on the SME segment which is expected to bring the much-needed stimulus to this sector.
Electronic platforms gaining popularity: The pandemic has globally proven the need of digital commerce in future. Cambodia has also woken up to the challenge and now many players in the market are creating electronic platforms to facilitate digital commerce in segments such as: SMEs, WSMEs, MSMEs, farmers and women. As a company with access to almost the entire Cambodian population and over 11Mn unique users annually Wing created WingMall. This electronic platform provides cost effective access to a large market with the benefits of collaboration, scaling and a gender-neutral last mile fulfillment option for corporate and private sectors.
How WING Money is leveraging its competitive advantage while adapting to the challenging market conditions in 2021?
Manu Rajan: Amidst the pandemic Wing continues to grow with the introduction of more solutions for the unbanked and underbanked population in 2020. With the vision to use Mobile Financial Services to improve the lives of Cambodians Wing continues to deliver on that vision with the same passion and dedication continually driving financial inclusion among the unbanked at the bottom of the income pyramid.
Having addressed almost the entire unbanked population via its wide agent Network using the “Aided-Digital Transaction” model, Wing is introducing more relevant solutions to cater to the digital friendly younger population of Cambodia. With over 50% of Cambodian population being less than 25 years, Wing has introduced digital payment solutions relevant to the digital friendly youth: WingPay for digital transactions across over 50,000 merchant establishments and WingPoints for merchants and the youth to get cash back on digital purchases.
WingMall offers solutions for many other segments. Smartphone users can buy products and services using the Wing Mobile App which get delivered to their door step through Wing Delivery, providing employment opportunities for the young boys & girls through a gender-neutral delivery service. SMEs employees at garment factories can get a zero-interest salary advance through the Wing App today. App users can also open a micro saving product with one of the highest interest rates in Cambodia to incentivize a savings habit amongst the unbanked. Hire purchasing options are also being made available with partner financial institutions to provide Buy now, Pay Later to scale financial inclusion.
Wing will also be facilitating and welcoming the Emergence of Integrated Commerce in Cambodia with direct and indirect associations with the private and public sectors. Wing supports the Unified Digital Identity and Unified QR Code for Payment projects. We will be increasing the focus on Digital Security and Controls for Payment and Banking Transactions in 2021, and will be taking an active part in the financial literacy programs across segments in collaboration with private and public sectors.
What are the top priorities for WING Money in 2021?
Manu Rajan: Innovation has been in Wing’s DNA for more than a decade and as the leading mobile banking service provider in Cambodia it’s our responsibility to continuously implement the latest digital payment solutions for our customers. We're attuned to the needs of the under-banked and we develop solutions for the challenges they face day-in, day-out.
We will continue to use the vast network of agents and the unparallel reach we have in Cambodia to provide easy access to finance, technology and markets for individuals and businesses and to continue driving the financial literacy and financial and gender inclusion in the Kingdom as our guiding force.
What are the key innovations and technologies that are game-changers for the financial sector in 2021?
Manu Rajan: As the world is slowly coming out of the pandemic, we believe that Emergence of Integrated Commerce will help SMEs and corporates to return to the momentum of growth in 2021 as eCommerce in Cambodia is expected to grow extraordinarily in the next 5-10 years as per industry experts. Wing will be collaborating with Group companies and major industry players to introduce the forementioned innovative products: WingMall, WingPoints and WingDelivery fueling the recovery of SMEs and MSMEs and providing millions of customers solutions for their needs.
Unified Digital Identity and Unified QR Code for Payments could be game changers in the Cambodian market in the days to come, and Wing welcomes both initiatives. We believe a collaborative effort towards faster implementation would accelerate the economic growth post pandemic.
Digital Security is going to be key in the coming years. Wing is continuously ensuring that all the transactions that are carried out on the platform are secure and safe making sure Cambodians feel satisfied with every transaction.