We came across this at a florist in Singapore. What does this tell us?

Some of our thoughts:

  1. Alipay and WeChat Pay are very present in Singapore – and many other cities in Southeast Asia Chinese tourists frequent.
  2. GrabPay is finally accepted at third parties. Technology-wise it is (relatively) not complicated but when do you scale up, risk & fraud become a huge issue.
  3. GrabPay seems to be acquiring merchants themselves – which makes sense during testing and early rollout phase, but will become very hard once you scale up.
  4. In comparison, Alipay and WeChat Pay use third parties: Uniweb & Fomo respectively. Third parties do all the legwork acquiring, setting up and managing merchants, in return for a certain percentage (usually lower than 0.5%) of the transaction value.
  5. That means, as a third party in Singapore in Singapore you need at least S$200 million transaction value to make S$1 million revenue.  Hardly a sexy business.
  6. Alipay and WeChat Pay seem to have better execution – their stickers stick, while GrabPay’s doesn’t. OK you might argue sticky tape is used for the Alipay ‘sticker’, but still, it sticks, while GrabPay’s doesn’t.
  7. Carrot is simply amazing – after so many (Perx, Sugar etc.) have proven that the model of standalone rewards applications in a relatively small, highly sophisticated consumer market doesn’t work, there are still people willing to step into this minezone. You might ask, why do miles – well, they are not independent, they are strongly attached to some powerful use cases with high frequency and/or high-value transactions.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].


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Jianggan Li is the Founder & CEO of Momentum Works. Prior to founding Momentum Works, he co-founded Easy Taxi in Asia, and served as Managing Director of Foodpanda. The two years running Rocket Internet companies has given him a lifetime experience on supersonic implementation, and good camaraderie with entrepreneurs across the developing world. He holds a MBA from INSEAD (GMAT 770) and a degree in Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University. Unfortunately he never wrote a single line of code professionally - but in his first job he was in media, travelling extensively across Asia & Europe, speaking with Ministers & (occasionally) Prime Ministers. Apart from English and his native Mandarin, he is also fluent in French and conversational in Cantonese & Spanish. He tried to learn Latin (for three years) and Sanskrit (for six months) as well. In his (scarce) free time, he reads, travels, hikes and dives. Pyongyang, Tehran & Chisinau are among the interesting cities he has been to.