Ascend Money targets Nasdaq listing
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Ascend Money targets Nasdaq listing

Mr Suphachai says listing on the Nasdaq exchange would strengthen the company's growth. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)
Mr Suphachai says listing on the Nasdaq exchange would strengthen the company's growth. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

Ascend Money, a financial technology firm backed by Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, aims to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange within two years, Suphachai Chearavanont, the company's founder and chairman, told the Bangkok Post.

"The listing would strengthen its growth after becoming Thailand's first fintech unicorn," Mr Suphachai said.

Ascend Money operates under CP Group's online business arm, Ascend Group. In September 2021, Ascend Money hit a US$1.5 billion valuation following a $150 million funding infusion.

He recently said CP Group is in the process of preparing documents and ensuring readiness before applying for a virtual bank licence.

The development of the virtual bank service would be jointly led by CP Group's TrueMoney, a Southeast Asian e-payment and financial service provider, together with Ant Group.

CP Group's retail channels such as 7-Eleven convenience stores could be touchpoints for the virtual bank service.

In 2023, TrueMoney was profitable and posted revenue growth that beat expectations, Ascend Money co-president Monsinee Nakapanant told the Bangkok Post.

She said Ascend Money will raise more money in the near future to increase funds for its lending business.

As of January 2024, TrueMoney digital wallet had 30 million users and it targets 35 million users by year-end, said Ms Monsinee. The number of active monthly users is 19 million.

She said the company has not been affected by economic challenges. Last year usage of TrueMoney wallet increased from 14 times per month per user to 18.5 times.

Users' average spending via the wallet rose from 1,700 baht monthly to 2,000 baht monthly.

"We increased average usage from 2.5 types of service use to 3.5 types of service use, particularly for payments for online products and services," said Ms Monsinee.

Wallet users' spending for online shopping averages 250 baht. TrueMoney wants to increase its market share through the planned launch of a loyalty programme.

The company plans to use artificial intelligence to automate lending approval for new users, but will be cautious because of the country's high household debt, she said.

TrueMoney also expects to raise credit limits for existing customers who have good credit scores, said Ms Monsinee.

The lending business accounts for 20% of TrueMoney's total revenue and 5% of total profit, while the payment service accounts for 80% of revenue and 95% of profit. Lending is expected to account for more than half of total profit within three years, she said.

New Segments

This year TrueMoney predicts higher customer payments on over-the-top operators such as Netflix and online platforms like Lazada and TikTok.

Payments are also expected to rise in the food delivery sector.

"We partner with TikTok as the e-wallet for its content creators and sellers," Ms Monsinee said.

She said this year TrueMoney has tapped more new segments, including underserved groups of people, including around 6.5 million migrant workers in Thailand.

In addition, the company tapped students aged 7-12, enabling money payments at schools. TrueMoney wants to expand points of payment to cover 300 schools this year, said Ms Monsinee.

In April, TrueMoney scheduled a fan meeting between its users and K-pop singer Lalisa "Lisa" Manoban, a member of the group Blackpink. Lisa is TrueMoney's brand ambassador.

The company expects to gain 500,000 new users from having her as its ambassador.

Ms Monsinee said use of TrueMoney wallet to pay for online products and services is increasing rapidly.

Some 80% of transactions via the wallet are payments to offline merchants and 20% to online merchants, she said.

As local banks plan to charge holders of Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards a fee of 1% for foreign currency conversion when they make purchases in baht from merchants and online shops registered outside the country, Ms Monsinee said customers could use the True Money e-wallet more to avoid the fee.

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