In Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s Budget speech, he envisioned Singapore as an “Asia 101” for global MNCs looking to expand into Asia’s growing markets, and as a “Global 101” for Asian companies ready to go global. Asian businesses looking to expand overseas generally face significant upfront costs, but also navigate different operating landscapes across multiple countries. A streamlined payments infrastructure can go a long way to facilitate regional trade.
On the other hand, global MNCs looking to expand into Asia may not be familiar with the regional payments landscape. Given that Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing regions for mobile payments, there are huge opportunities for MNCs to integrate digital payments into their business. Therefore, establishing common standards will help enable payments interoperability and allow MNCS to tap into Asia’s growth potential.
As one of the world’s leading FinTech hubs, Singapore has done well with the creation of a common QR code standard for mobile payments and promoting the usage of cashless payments. Similarly, the same could be done for enterprise payments at a regional and global level.
Singapore has already taken the lead with connecting PayNow to Thailand’s national digital payment system, PromptPay, but there is a need to accelerate the process of creating interoperability across borders for each country’s digital payment systems. If we are to pave the path for Asian companies looking to go global, and be the navigator for global MNCs venturing into our regional waters, we should look to close any gaps that continue to persist in the global and regional payments landscape.