E-money system planned for skytrain
SET-listed BTS Group Holdings and Japan's Line Corporation have entered into a joint venture to develop a mobile payment service for skytrain fares as part of Thailand's drive towards becoming a cashless society.
The next stage for the venture is to set up mobile payments both online and in stores, said Keeree Kanjanapas, chairman of BTS Group Holdings.
The 50:50 joint venture between BTS Group's subsidiary, Bangkok Smartcard System (BSS), and Line Corporation's subsidiary, Line Biz Plus, will have registered capital of 400 million baht.
BSS, the operator of Rabbit card, put 750 million baht into the venture in exchange for a 50% shareholding stake in Line Biz Plus -- the operator of Line Pay service.
The Rabbit card, an e-money system, can be used to pay for BTS's skytrain fares and other mass transit networks, on top of a limited number of additional retail services.
Line Pay allows Line users in Thailand to register their debit or credit cards on their accounts and make mobile payments both online and in stores.
"We see the future of mobile payment in Thailand, which is being fuelled by the proliferation of smartphones and the government's efforts to push a cashless society," Mr Keeree said.
Thailand has 33 million Line users, while BSS's Rabbit card has gained a strong foothold in offline payment services, he added.
Takeshi Idezawa, chief executive of Line Corporation, said this venture is the first partnership deal for Line in Thailand, reinforcing that the country is an important market for the company.
Line Pay will be renamed Rabbit Line Pay by September. The service has attracted 1.5 million users in Thailand since being introduced last year.
Nelson Leung, chief executive of Bangkok Smartcard System (BSS), said the Rabbit card had attracted 5 million users since its inception four years ago, who clock in 20 million rides per month.
BSS expects up to 40% of Line's 33 million users in Thailand to use Rabbit Line Pay within the next two years, he said.