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Facebook, Indonesian Tech Firms Team Up On Mobile Pay Proposal

 |  April 21, 2020

Indonesia could be the next country to accept mobile payments. Reuters reported three of the nation’s financial technology companies are collaborating with Facebook to seek permission to launch mobile payments in the Southeast Asian country.

Indonesia is one of the largest markets for Facebook and WhatsApp, with millions of users. If approved, it would be among the first to use the service through the Facebook Pay app, the report said.

Filianingsih Hendarta, a Bank Indonesia (BI) executive, told Reuters several companies seeking approval have discussed the proposal with the nation’s central bank.

“So far no one submitted the formal application,” she told the news service. “Some of them just came to discuss during the consultative meeting with BI.”

She said the three eWallet operators include Indonesian ride-hailing firm Gojek’s GoPay, state-backed LinkAja, and startup OVO, which is owned by Lippo Group and backed by Singapore-based riding-hailing firm Grab, Reuters reported.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed the company is hoping to win approval and bring digital payments to more countries. She said digital payments will open up opportunities for businesses to grow.

“We are in conversations with partners in Indonesia, however the discussions are ongoing and we do not have anything further to share at this stage,” the spokeswoman told Reuters.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the plan said Facebook wants to capitalize on the Indonesian market and is preparing for regulatory approval in the country, according to the report.

Last summer, the news service reported Facebook’s WhatsApp had been in talks with the firms to launch digital payment services in Indonesia.

Jason Thompson, CEO of OVO, a digital payment service based in Jakarta, Indonesia, also confirmed the report.

“As an open ecosystem platform, we’re always seeking new partnerships to increase cashless transactions … including with Facebook,” he said.

Sources said Facebook has been eager to expand in Southeast Asia. Indonesia, with a population of 260 million people and the region’s largest economy, is one of the largest markets globally for Facebook and WhatsApp, with over 100 million users, the report noted.

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