Industry News

Amid Asian market jitters signs of further surge in region’s market for mobile payments


The past weeks have been unsettling for many investors in the Asia-Pacific region, with financial markets in China in particular subject to major gyrations. But amid the swooning indices and uncertain macro statistics, some newly-released projections suggest no pause to the rapid growth in mobile payments in the region.

Last week IDC released a new report on the future of mobile payments highlighted by what the leading global tech research firm called “explosive growth” in the Asia/Pacific region, which it said would play an outsized role in bringing the global market for m-payments past the $1 trillion mark within the next two years. Indeed, according to the firm, Asia’s share of the global market would rise from 40% this year to 50% in 2017, corresponding to 150% growth over the period.

While few would be surprised that IDC’s forecast would show this growth tilted towards the region’s emerging markets, it also stressed that the character of the growth would be starkly different in countries such as China and Australia, due to existing patterns of financial sector and tech development.

More specifically, IDC says that in more advanced Asian economies – such as Australia – broad existing use of credit and debit cards will translate into growth for Near Field Communication-based proximity solutions like Android Pay and Apple Pay. Meanwhile, in less-developed (but larger) markets like China and India, traction will be greatest for top-up and bank account-linked features aligned with proprietary mobile wallets of the sort Cellum has developed for clients in the region. Overall, IDC says the differences are enough to warrant the sorting of the region’s countries into three groups, which it dubs “Card Payment Leaders,” “Mobile Payment Leaders,” and “Mobile Money Leaders.”

As should be obvious from Cellum’s increasing commitment to Asia, other research we have reviewed and conducted is in accord with IDC’s, with data from all markets suggesting room for spectacular growth in m-payments and m-commerce. Just consider that in Myanmar (Burma) – which has a population greater than South Korea and twice that of Australia – the number of mobile internet users doubled last year alone. So while there are certain to be bumps in the road for Asia over the next few years, the lane for mobile payments will remain blindingly fast.