US payment start-up Stripe makes Asia move with Singapore launch

Stripe, a US payment start-up backed by Paypal founders Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, sought to secure its foothold in Asia Tuesday with an official launch in a key financial nerve centre, Singapore.

The launch heralds the company's plans for an Asian expansion.

"Founded as a nexus for trade between India, China, and Europe, Singapore embodies international commerce ... we’re excited to support the next generation of global businesses being built by Singaporean entrepreneurs," said the company in a blog post Tuesday.

"Asia will be a prime focus for us over the coming year. We ... are hiring across our offices in Asia-Pacific to support our growth in the region," Collinson clarified in comments to Techcrunch.

The online payments solution has completed launches in parts of Europe and Australia, and president John Collinson told Bloomberg that beta-testing in Japan and Hong Kong could pave the way for Asian expansion there.

The company ran beta-testing in Singapore for nearly a year before launching it today.

Stripe helps businesses accept nearly all forms of payment such as Alipay, Apple Pay and Android Pay and is valued at 5 billion US dollars, with backing by the likes of credit card merchant Visa.

The move comes amid an increase in e-commerce activity in the city-state, with the market expected to increase five-fold to 5.4 billion US dollars by 2025, according to a report by Google and Temasek Holdings, an investment company owned by the Singapore goverment.

Collinson said that Stripe's other business tool offerings - such as accounting, billing and payment security - make it stand out from other payment solutions, such as Paypal-owned Braintree, which launched here last March.

The company is off to a good start, claiming that two-thirds of companies backed by venture capital firms in Singapore are using its service.

Its current clients in the region include ride-hailing app Grab, food delivery service Deliveroo, and crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, which started accepting projects from Singapore this month.

However, Collinson said to regional portal Tech In Asia that China is not part of the company's strategy, saying that "serving businesses in China is a longer-term discussion."

Last update: Tue, 20/09/2016 - 12:12

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