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French firm eyes more opportunities in China

By Ouyang Shijia | China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-23 10:21

French payment processor Ingenico Group SA is gearing up for the expansion of its core business-cross-border e-commerce in China-and is set to look for more opportunities in emerging areas, including games, overseas education and the sharing economy, according to a senior executive of Ingenico ePayments.

Nick Tubb, general manager of Ingenico ePayments Asia Pacific, said last Thursday that as China is one of the company's fastest-growing markets, Ingenico will continue to invest resources to develop the cross-border e-commerce business related to the country.

"Currently, Ingenico China is mainly focused on the retail and travel business, and it is set to look for more business opportunities in games, the sharing economy, overseas education and other promising sectors in the future."

Tubb noted that over the past decade, Ingenico has seen a 180-fold increase in the number of Chinese online transactions it processes annually, which shows that cross-border e-commerce has been escalating at a remarkable pace in China.

"China is way ahead in terms of payment technologies and preferences," Tubb added. "Currently, our focus is still taking Chinese merchants to overseas markets. And more and more, we see the rise of markets alongside the Belt and Road Initiative digital route."

A report released last year by market research company iiMedia Research estimated China's cross-border e-com-merce market would reach 7.5 trillion yuan ($1.2 trillion) in 2017, with a 19 percent year-on-year increase.

"China has already become the second-largest economy in the world, and it may have huge potential in the cross-border e-commerce business," Tubb added.

According to him, as Chinese companies continue to expand globally, they also must continue to be more aware of both cultural and regulatory challenges in overseas markets.

"Culturally, it's very difficult on their own to understand the payment preferences of every country," Tubb said. "In order to develop the overseas markets, they need partners with global experience to understand consumer behavior. And this is not restricted to just payment methods but many other areas, such as checkout experiences."

Tubb said the second challenge was regulatory; globally, he said, there is a move towards greater transparency and oversight of financial risks.

Having worked in China for more than 10 years, the company said it is expanding the online and mobile commerce business in China, as it has partnered with a wide range of Chinese companies.

In 2016, Ingenico signed a deal with Alipay, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, to pave the way for European retailers to accept Chinese electronic wallet payments in local destinations.

The company also allows Chinese consumers to shop online with hundreds of global brands, ranging from fashion to gaming, to overseas study, via dozens of different payment methods such as Alipay and China Unionpay.

A report by leading global investment banking Goldman Sachs said Chinese e-commerce gross merchandise volume reached $750 billion in 2016, fostered by 460 million e-shoppers. The report also expects a compound annual growth rate of 23 percent through 2020, almost tripling the rate of offline sales.

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