Welcome to The Axis, your late look at payments news from around the world. Coverage includes CellPoint Mobile’s plans to enable mobile payments for Viva Air, which has destinations in places such as Peru and Colombia. Alipay said more than 500 million users helped plant trees in China, Bookme Tickets Limited (Bookme) reportedly closed a Pre-Series A funding round in Pakistan and Uganda took in remittances of $6.28 billion from citizens living in other countries for a five-year period ending in 2018.
Payments and digital commerce provider CellPoint Mobile plans to enable mobile payments for Latin American aviation company Viva Air, according to an announcement. The rollout is said to begin with Google Pay and Apple Pay, among other payment methods. Viva Air Chief Projects Officer Kevin Weber said in the announcement, “Launching these leading digital payment methods is imperative for us to better serve our customers as 65 percent of our users search for their travel options on mobile devices.” The company has a growing network of 16 destinations, including Peru and Colombia, and is looking to serve more than 60 million passengers by 2022.
In payment news from China, Alipay said more than 500 million users helped plant trees in the country through an effort to go green, Alizila reported. The company’s Ant Forest mini-program gave rewards for environmentally friendly decisions by users (it also has features such as a leader board). It was reported that 100 million trees were planted, which covers the approximate size of 130,000 soccer fields. Ant Financial CEO Eric Jing said, according to the report, “We are grateful to our many users and partners who have helped plant 100 million trees and advance a shared vision of sustainable and inclusive development.”
In Pakistan, eTicketing platform Bookme Tickets Limited (Bookme) reportedly closed a Pre-Series A funding round, The Express Tribune reported. Lakson Investments Venture Capital (LIVC) led the round, which was reportedly for growth in Pakistan. Bookme Founder and CEO Faizan Aslam said per the report, “The capital raise will accelerate our scaling across Pakistan and facilitate the enhancement of our platform as a trusted market leader by customers, operators and payment partners. We’re excited to get LIVC’s investment in the largest e-ticketing funding round in Pakistan.” The company works with movie theaters, event organizers and bus operators to make their ticketing, cash collections and seat maps digital.
On another note, Uganda took in remittances of $6.28 billion from citizens living in other countries from 2013 to 2018, All Africa reported, citing World Bank data. At the same time, foreign direct investment (FDI) decreased from $1.5 billion in 2016 to $1.3 billion in 2017. It was also reported that the Migration and Development Brief from the World Bank shows remittance volume rose by over 60 percent in five countries in East Africa, from $2.84 billion in 2013 to $4.66 billion in 2018. FDI inflows in East Africa, however, fell by 25.3 percent, from $8.8 billion in 2016 to $6.6 billion in 2017, per an EAC trade report.