Thunes steps up global expansion

Written by Kapronasia || October 06 2022

Singapore-based B2B payments firm Thunes is stepping up its global expansion. Following its securing of a major payment institution license in France in late 2021, Thunes has continued to grow its global footprint. This has included partnering with Alipay, broad expansion in Greater China and establishing operations in Saudi Arabia.

In November 2021, Thunes received a payment institution license allowing it to conduct merchant acquisition services in France. These include a full range of payment services, such as global payment collection from alternative payment methods such as wallets and installments. Because France is part of the European Union, Thunes can extend these capabilities across the EU area without needing to acquire additional payment institution licenses.

Meanwhile, since early 2022, Thunes has been expanding in Greater China. These efforts focus on building local partnerships with local digital payment leaders to enable businesses and consumers to make faster and cheaper payments to and from China. Thunes is eyeing opportunities in cross-border payments between China and Southeast Asia in particular and plans to issue virtual bank accounts that will connect China-based PSPs to Indonesian e-commerce buyers. Virtual bank accounts make it easier for Chinese cross-border e-commerce merchants to join Southeast Asia marketplaces, and allow them to receive money in their local currency from buyers via local bank transfer.

Thunes is tapping into a booming and resilient market. The market size of cross-border e-commerce in China topped 14.6 trillion yuan (about $2.25 trillion) in 2021, with compound annual growth of 18% in the past five years, according to Ernst & Young. The penetration rate of cross-border e-commerce in China reached 40% in 2021.

In early September, Thunes announced a tie-up with Alipay+, a suite of cross-border payments and marketing solutions operated by Ant Group. With this collaboration, Thunes’ customers and merchants in Europe will now be able to accept major Asian e-wallets mobile wallets that run on Alipay+’s payment rails, eliminating the need to ensure operability with each individual wallet. The wallets involved include China’s Alipay, Malaysia’s Touch ’n Go and Boost, Philippines’ GCash, South Korea’s KakaoPay and Thailand’s Rabbit LINE Pay and TrueMoney.

Finally, Thunes recently expanded to Saudi Arabia as well. Saudi Arabia’s digital payments market is evolving fast to keep pace with the Kingdom’s “Vision 2030," which aims for 70% of transactions to be cashless by in 2025.