WeChat gets a v6.0 update today – only on iOS so far – that adds in two useful new features. But, as often happens with WeChat, one of these is restricted to its China-based users. The new WeChat feature open to everyone is Vine-like short videos called Sight. This is available in both personal messages and the more public WeChat Moments. In either case, you’re limited to a six-second video. If it’s sent as a message, it autoplays rather like a Vine video or a GIF. It looks like this:
Global Card Payments Company Visa, Inc. plans to establish a new technology development base in India by next year. With the new center, Visa plans to create 2,000 new full-time jobs around the world, while taking advantage of India’s software engineering talent. “Visa Inc will open a new technology center in India in 2015 and strengthen its technology resources by creating 2,000 full-time technologist positions around the world,” Visa said.
Mario Gomez Lozada looks nothing like the shaggy hipsters that you encounter at Bitcoin meetups. At 40 years old, he’s obviously more seasoned, and his tailored suit and Franck Muller watch clash with the usual T-shirts and beards. The first wave of Bitcoin exchanges, like their creators, were a bit rough around the edges. Their lack of professionalism – mixed with a lot of naivete and too much libertarian idealism – eventually ended with the collapse of Mt. Gox and the evaporation of approximately US$400 million worth of the cryptocurrency. Gomez Lozada, a former CIO at Credit Suisse in both Japan and Singapore, represents the coming wave of Bitcoin 2.0 services – polished, professional, and well-versed in both finance and IT security.
Bitcoin’s cloudy future in Japan just got a bit brighter. The virtual currency has been slow to catch on in Japan following the collapse of noted bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox and the government’s subsequent refusal to categorize it as a currency. There are still proponents of Bitcoin in the country, however. Now you can add GMO, one of Japan’s largest internet infrastructure firms, to the list of fans.
By now you would have read what every person connected to the internet thinks about the iPhone 6. So, armed with a few iPhone 6 review units and a Telstra 4G sim, iTnews decided to do something a bit different and give our readers the chance to review the device. Given the new iPhone will offer an NFC-based mobile payments service, we took to mobility experts within Australia’s biggest banks to find out if the devices impressed the financial sector.
Every cent counts for startups. Which makes the PayPal Startup Blueprint welcome news for entrepreneurs. The payment giant announced this week that it will extend the program, which gives startups free payment processing, to eight markets in Asia-Pacific. The program waives processing fees for transactions up to the US$1.5 million mark for PayPal and US$100,000 for Braintree. The latter is only available in Australia for now, but will be available for the rest of Asia soon, according to the press release.
Tencent has introduced in-store mobile payments in WeChat, its popular mobile messaging app, for nine retail chains across China. As Pingwest reports, Chinese WeChat users will spot a new “Small Payments” (shuaka, or “swipe card” in Chinese) feature inside the “Wallet” section of the app. Pressing the icon and entering one’s password for WeChat Payments will subsequently generate a QR Code or a barcode that retailers can scan to accept payments for in-store purchases.
China’s biggest internet company Tencent has signed a deal to buy a stake in Sinopec’s sales and marketing arm, according to MarketWatch . This gives Tencent access to the oil giant’s retail operations across China. The maker of WeChat is one of several investors involved in the deal with China’s biggest oil company. The deal is worth RMB 107.1 billion (US$17.44 billion) from 25 new investors, which also include insurance giant PICC, and asset management firm Munsun. Each company can own up to a 2.8 percent stake.
TOKYO: Apple’s proud announcement that its new iPhone could be used to buy goods in a single swipe left customers non-plussed in Japan, where mobile contactless payments have been normal fare for a decade. A type of Near Field Communication (NFC) chip, known in Japan as FeliCa, was introduced to the Japanese mobile market in June 2004 and has been been implanted in almost all phones sold in the country since.
Apple announced it will introduce Apple Pay, an NFC-enabled mobile payment service for brick-and-mortar sales, in its upcoming iPhone 6 devices. Apple followers predicted its arrival in the days leading up to Apple’s keynote, but its unveiling yesterday came years after folks first expected the Cupertino-based firm to start eyeing in-store payments. As far back as 2011, Bloomberg published a piece that cited analysts stating the company was working on NFC payment prototypes for small businesses.
Alipay and Huawei announced that the two parties have worked together in the launch of standard solutions for fingerprint payment in China. In this partnership, Alipay is responsible for creating more convenient payment experience to users, while Huawei provides devices and payment technologies.The new fingerprint payment function was officially available on September 4, 2014.
KakaoTalk today launches a mobile payment service called KakaoPay. As the name suggests, it allows users of the messaging app to pay using their KakaoTalk account for certain products they buy online. The team expects KakaoPay to support debit and credit cards from most major South Korean financial institutions. Users can register and use up to 20 different non-corporate debit and credit cards inside the KakaoPay account.
It’s big news when a major corporation or non-profit, such as Wikipedia, starts accepting Bitcoin . A number of people want to have more places to spend their bitcoins. So Tech in Asia spoke with entrepreneurs in the Philippine Bitcoin space on what companies they would like to see accept the cryptocurrency. There were no restrictions placed on the people we surveyed – they could name an international company with a strong Philippine presence, or a local brand.
India’s ecommerce poster-boy Flipkart is shutting down its electronic wallet PayZippy, just over a year after it launched. “While we phase out our own payments product, PayZippy, nothing changes for our customers, who will continue to enjoy all the benefits of a safe and secure payment system through Flipkart,” a Flipkart spokesperson told Tech in Asia. The news was first reported by Medianama . With PayZippy, ecommerce merchants can accept payments from all credit and debit cards as well as use 53 net banking options.
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 ― Just about anyone who has made an online transaction in Malaysia would have, whether they knew it or not, engaged with payment gateway provider iPay88. The brainchild of entrepreneur Lim Kok Hing, iPay88 has a simple mission: To enable more businesses to be more innovative and efficient with their payment collections, by eliminating the manual work of payment collections, and thereby boosting local merchants’ operational efficiencies. But how did Kok Hing, or K.H. as he’s better known, get into this game in the first place?
Mineyuki Fukuda, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives, has taken a novel approach to fund an overseas Bitcoin research tour. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker and head of the central government’s IT Strategy Committee has launched a crowdfunding campaign that will send him to the US as a private citizen – without using taxpayer funds – to author a report on American Bitcoin businesses.
Korbit , Korea’s leading Bitcoin exchange, wallet and merchant processor, has just closed a US$3 million series A funding round led by SoftBank Ventures Korea. Pantera Capital led the round from the US, with participation from BAM Ventures and previous investors Bitcoin Opportunity Corp, Tim Draper, Pietro Dova and initial investor Strong Ventures.
Online payments in Southeast Asia is broken, and that’s because many people in the region do not own credit cards or bank accounts. There is no shortage of startups attempting to fix this. Throw Omise into the mix: the Thailand-based startup announced today that it has raised US$300,000 from Indonesia and Japan-based fund East Ventures (disclosure: East Ventures also invests in Tech in Asia. See our ethics page for more information).
A new feature from Rakuten Bank, unsurprisingly called “Transfer by Facebook,” is being touted by the bank as the first of its kind in the country and is brilliantly simple to use. Launch the Rakuten Bank app, pick the Facebook friend and then enter in the amount to be transferred. There’s no need to know the other person’s banking details. It even works if the friend in question has an account at another bank, although it’s not quite so seamless.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and Bank of Thailand (BOT) have jointly launched a new cross-border payment-versus-payment (PvP) link between Hong Kong’s US dollar real time gross settlement (RTGS) system and Thailand’s Thai Baht RTGS system (BAHTNET). This link is the third cross-border PvP link in Asia for HKMA’s RTGS system, said Peter Pang, deputy chief executive of the HKMA. The other two existing links are with Malaysia and Indonesia, he added.