PayPal eyes social commerce

PayPal eyes social commerce

PayPal, the US-based company, plans to launch its new payment system to serve the Thai market in the next two weeks. (Bloomberg photo)
PayPal, the US-based company, plans to launch its new payment system to serve the Thai market in the next two weeks. (Bloomberg photo)

PayPal, the leading international payment service provider, is focusing on social commerce in Thailand to capitalise on the country's high growth e-commerce market.

The US-based company plans to launch its new payment system, PayPal.ME, to serve the Thai market in the next two weeks. The system is intended to offer more convenience for both sellers and buyers when conducting transactions.

Fees vary depending on transaction volumes.

Rahul Shinghal, general manager for Southeast Asia, said Thailand has shown the highest growth of social commerce via both Facebook and Instagram when compared with other regional markets.

Currently, it has more than 10,000 merchant customers in Thailand, largely in the hotel, jewellery, and fashion industries.

The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) recently reported that the business-to-consumer (B2C)-focused segment of Thailand's online retail market has growth potential of 30% this year, thanks to the proliferation of mobile internet users and aggressive discount pricing among e-commerce companies.

Thailand is the largest online retail market in Asean, according ETDA.

Thailand's overall e-commerce market -- which includes B2C, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) -- was estimated to be worth 2.2-2.3 trillion baht in 2015, slightly higher than the 2.1 trillion projected by state authorities.

The local e-commerce market was valued at 2.03 trillion baht in 2014, an increase of 5% from 2013.

Thailand's large mobile subscriber base of 102 million, coupled with intense competition in the e-commerce market, are key factors driving growth in the local online retail market.

PayPal further plans to expand its client base in the tourism sphere due to robust growth in the industry.

A company survey found that 71% of Thai businesses offer payment services via smartphone, compared with 50% in Singapore and 54% in Malaysia. The survey also found that more than 50% of all travellers visiting Thailand make bookings online.

In addition, Thailand's smartphone ownership is projected to reach 100% in the next four years.

Meanwhile, Mr Shinghal said the government's national e-payment scheme would encourage the country to transform from a cash-based society to a cashless society. The policy should indirectly support the company's long term business expansion in Thailand.

"Right now cash is our key competitor, so the introduction of an online payment system should boost the company's business expansion," he said.

PayPal offers cross-border payment service in more than 200 countries over the world in 25 currencies. For the second quarter of the year, the company recorded total revenue of US$2.65 billion, increasing 19.5% year-on-year.

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