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Is AirAsia moving into SEA’s remittance and lending space?

Under their digital payments arm, BigPay, AirAsia have their eyes set on South East Asia's cross-border remittance and lending businesses.


Much has been made of South East Asia's cross-border and remittance businesses, with recent years seeing heightened interest from a slew of regional and foreign companies. With a population that is increasing both their wealth rapidly and mobile penetration, the region has been of huge interest for brands looking to monetize data collected through mobile-backed applications. With eye- wateringly strong figures behind it, such as the fact that the active internet population currently looking to be 480 million in 2020, it is estimated that the region's digital economy will be close to $200 billion, it is easy to see why it is such an attractive proposition. 


Well now, BigPay, AirAsia's digital payments arm have been the latest large company to throw their hat into the ring with the news that they will also be entering the space. Interestingly, this comes just one day after Grab announced that their fintech arm, Grab Financial and Alipay will also be entering the market. 


Speaking of the move, AirAsia founder and CEO Tony Fernandes said the following on Thursday officially launching BigPay at the Money20/20 in Singapore: “Wallet is the first step and finally we will disrupt the remittance market and money lending business…this will be in Asean, not in India, not in China." Adding that the move can be seen as totally organic due to the fact that the airline has huge amounts of data from 16 years of business and 60 million customers. 


The aim of BigPay, Fernandez states, is to be the first choice for users and allow them to manage all their spending in one place through essentially moving funds from all their existing credit cards to just one place and therefore be a more seamless user experience. 



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