New developments to boost Asia Pacific mobile payments market

The Asia Pacific region is expected to have one of the fastest growing mobile-payments markets as consumers in the region consider mobile commerce a more convenient way to purchase products, which has lead to a growing demand for mobile payment services and platforms that accommodate mobile shopping.

According to a report from MasterCard which examined the Asia Pacific market over the past three months, 40% of online shoppers in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore purchased items using their mobile devices. Approximately 54% of Indonesian consumers made mobile payments over the same period, with China and Thailand accounting for 53% and 51% respectively. Mobile payments are becoming increasingly common throughout the Asia Pacific region due to the abundance of mobile technology.

In addition to this, predictions from analyst Ovum show that retail banks in the Asia Pacific region are the most prolific spenders on IT, with a further 5.1% growth predicted for this year to US$118.6 billion. The region's banks are aiming to enhance the service offered to their customers who are already quick on the uptake in terms of online banking, which is done increasingly via smartphone apps.

There's also expected to be a drive towards banks offering mobile payment services to their business customers and partnerships are already being sought to build comprehensive systems that can facilitate such a service effectively. mPowa is a mobile payment service which has already signed a successful deal with First National Bank in South Africa and is now expanding into the Asia Pacific region to reach similar agreements.

mPowa works by inserting a credit card into a compact card reader, which then communicates with a mobile device via Bluetooth, enabling merchants to accept payments on the move. This type of service will boost productivity and convenience for businesses and also help to increase take up of smartphones created by the likes of Google, Apple and Nokia.

The company recently announced that it is working with Portugal Telecom, one of Europe's largest telecommunications companies. The breakthrough agreement, the first of its kind in Europe, will see Portugal Telecom employing the white label service offered by mPowa. The all-platform mobile payment deal anticipates business in other markets around the world, mainly Brazil and Africa, where Portugal Telecom is present.

Dan Wagner, CEO and Chairman of mPowa said, "Our strategy of white-labelling the mPowa mobile technology to banks and telcos in the Asia Pacific region is expected to attract a great deal of interest. This solution will help thousands of business users to leverage the multiple channels, generating sales on their mobile devices. mPowa offers our partners a simple and robust commerce infrastructure which is fully flexible and customisable, and with which they can start tapping into growing areas of new business."

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