A year ago, in this publication, Tomas Pokorny, CEO of Pi Pay, wrote an opinion piece underlining how important partnerships would be to the growing success of Cambodia’s leading cashless payment app.
“In rolling out Pi Pay as Cambodia’s first truly cashless payment app we have a very clear vision that building partnerships with stakeholders is essential to our success. And we have a very broad view of who our stakeholders are – not just the customers, merchants, banks, MFIs and government agencies that are at the heart of our cashless world, but also other fintech service providers who might look more like competitors in a traditional business sense,” he wrote then.
Fast forward a year and the vision outlined by Pokorny has become a reality.
The main partnership, with its growing customer base, has seen the Pi Pay app downloaded 270,000 times in the last year with close to US$100 million in transactions processed through the app.
Partnerships with merchants mean Pi Pay can be used in over 2,100 locations across Cambodia, with new partners being added every day.
Partnerships with overseas fintech giants like Alipay and WeChat have opened up new possibilities for Pi Pay merchants to service the growing number of Chinese visitors to the Kingdom.
Partnerships with local banks and MFIs continue to expand – with ACLEDA, Sathapana and FTB soon to join ABA, AMK and Amret as Pi Pay partners, enabling app users to move money seamlessly around the country through the extensive branch networks of these prestigious financial institutions.
And partnerships with government agencies have not only seen Pi Pay being fully licensed as a Payment Service Provider but have also opened up a range of possibilities for government fees and public transportation payments through a newly-minted partnership with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
“It’s been a busy but satisfying first year for us as we have rolled out this amazing piece of technology that has captured the imagination of young, tech-hungry Cambodians and even a more conservative population which has worked with cash all their lives,” says Pokorny.
“The quality of the relationships we have built with all our stakeholders really stands out, and in just over a year, we have created this remarkable ecosystem which includes everyone from our merchants and customers, through banks and MFIs to government agencies and inbound visitors from China,” he adds.
The cashless payment and e-commerce business in Cambodia is evolving at breakneck speed, with new local and foreign players entering the market all the time.
It’s a healthy reminder, Pokorny says, that success will not come by resting on the laurels of Pi Pay’s stellar first year of operations.
“No matter how well we have done until now, we understand that app users are a restless demographic with a keen eye for what is new, what is cool and what is working best for their lifestyles,” he says.
“This is why we operate in a state of constant evolution – adding new features to the app and building new partnerships that can bring even more value to all our users.”
Ticketing for events, health insurance and peer-to-peer lending are among the many new services that Pi Pay is developing to ensure the app constantly evolves with the changing demands of its customers.
Inevitably, with such rapid changes underway in Cambodia’s digital economy, there will always be room for improvements and ensuring more of the Kingdom’s traditionally unbanked population are brought along for the journey.
“The industry as a whole needs to do more to educate consumers about the digital economy, about the advantages of cashless and, of course, about data security,” says Pokorny.
To push these goals Pi Pay is once again turning to a partnership model – the company is now leading the charge to set up an industry association representing the interests of the Cambodian fintech sector.
“Five years ago it would have been almost absurd to think of forming a finance and technology association in Cambodia – with just a few local players beginning to take root. When we held our first exploratory meeting last month to form the association, there were representatives of more than 70 companies there. It really has come a long way,” says Pokorny.
This article was published in the August 2018 edition of Southeast Asia Globe magazine. For full access, subscribe here.