Central reshuffle adds fintech, finance lines

Central reshuffle adds fintech, finance lines

Efforts to become retail tech company

Montri Sithiyavanich, Central Group's head of financial services.
Montri Sithiyavanich, Central Group's head of financial services.

Central Group has restructured its business lines, adding financial services and fintech to its core businesses as part of the group's vision to become a retail tech company.

Montri Sithiyavanich, the group's head of financial services, said the new core business lines consist of malls and commercial property (Central Pattana); retail and brands (Central, Robinson, Central Marketing Group, Tops and Baan & Beyond); hospitality (hotels and restaurants); The 1; new economy business (JD.Com, Grab); and financial services and fintech.

The group previously ran nine business units: Central Department Store, Central Pattana, Central Home Group, Central Marketing Group, Central Restaurant Group, Centara, Central Food Retail Group, COL and Central Group Vietnam.

The business regrouping was announced last Friday in a strategic move to upgrade the group to a fully fledged retail tech company in line with the "New Central, New Economy" vision.

For financial services, the group is set to move towards providing a digital platform to cover all of Central's financial service business in the next two years.

"As a retail tech company, Central Group is no longer just a retailer as it has been for 70 years, but a tech company driven by such platforms," Mr Montri said.

The group will start providing digital service with the launch of international cash transfer services on an online digital platform this month.

"Central is the first and only agent in Thailand to provide money transfer services on Western Union's digital platforms, which provide services in 70 countries," Mr Montri said.

Through the Western Union partnership, Central expects to further expand its customer base to new customer groups and improve convenience for existing customers who already use international cash transfer services at 84 Western Union branches of Central department store, Robinson, Tops and Big C.

Central provides various financial services, including international cash transfers, the bill payment service CenPay, gift cards, insurance brokerage services, wealth management services, e-payments, The 1 credit cards, personal loans and e-wallet.

Apart from international cash transfers via the online platform, the group will apply the digital platform to all Central financial services within the next two years.

Recently, the group has launched new Central gift card to use at various Central business lines such as Central Department Store, Robinson, Tops, B2S, Supersport and OfficeMate. New Central gift cards will introduced at FamilyMart soon.

The group is working internally to develop more digital privileges for Central gift cards by the third quarter of this year.

"The financial services line has yet to contribute more revenue to our group, but it will be an important business pillar to keep customers loyal as customers' need for convenient payment is fulfilled," Mr Montri said.

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