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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on January 30, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: App-based lifestyle mobile wallet Boost, which is wholly-owned by Axiata Digital — the digital arm of Axiata Group Bhd — expects the e-wallet industry to see a consolidation in two years and anticipates that it will emerge to be the biggest home-grown e-wallet when that happens, according to Boost chief executive officer Christopher Tiffin.

Tiffin told reporters after Boost’s launch yesterday that 23 non-bank entities and five Malaysian banks have been granted e-money licences by the central bank last year, which allow them to provide e-wallet services.

Though only two or three companies have made use of their licence to issue e-wallets, he said a huge acceleration in the industry is expected in the coming 12 months to 18 months.

“I think personally, there will be consolidation among the e-wallet players within two years, and we will see who the winners will be. We are very confident and much focused that we will be the biggest home-grown e-wallet,” Tiffin said.

On that note, Boost, which he envisioned would break even in three to five years, is targeting to have 100,000 merchants — from the current 5,500 merchants — to adopt its services by year end. To spur adoption, Tiffin said the company will not be collecting any fees from merchants for a year.

“We will be focusing on growing the number of customers and merchants. We see a natural growth [in transaction value] at the moment, but that is not our focus at the moment,” said Tiffin, who declined to disclose the app’s sales figures.

Tiffin added that Boost aims to bridge the gap for financial inclusion for cash trading merchants. “So with our app, even if you’re not registered with SSM (Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia or Companies Commission of Malaysia), you can still become a merchant,” he added.

To date, Boost, which started offering its service on Jan 6 last year, has over 800,000 users with online and offline merchants located in over 5,000 locations.

Asked if Boost has a specific number of users it wants to achieve, Tiffin said: “We want as many as possible. Within Malaysia, the smartphone users are very high, there are about 25 million smartphone users, and we want to be targeting the significant portion of that … at least 30%”.

From offering prepaid top-ups and digital vouchers, Boost caters to the mass market, in particular youths, via partnerships with merchants at selected pasar malam, food trucks, food courts and across various industries such as F&B, entertainment, transportation, online shopping and bookstores.

“Our ambition is to be the preferred method for consumers to transact digitally. We believe that by combining consumer lifestyle needs and innovative digital technology, Boost makes transactions easier, faster, more secure, and the whole experience more rewarding,” Tiffin added.

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