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Digital Marketing Agency - Silver Mouse

Fireside Chat with Jason Siew, CEO of WeChat Pay MY

In this episode of the fireside chat, we ask Jason Siew, CEO of WeChat Pay MY on what will drive WeChat Pay adoption in Malaysia - will it be mamak, petrol or something else?

In this episode of the fireside chat, it is our pleasure to host Jason Siew, CEO of WeChat Pay Malaysia right after WeChat official launching event in Kuala Lumpur.

While you can watch the fireside chat at our YouTube channel, here is the full transcript of our exclusive interview.

If you are new to WeChat Pay, read our guide on how to enable & top-up WeChat Pay in Malaysia.

Jason Siew, CEO of WeChat Pay Malaysia

Currently, how many install base you're looking at in Malaysia alone?

Install base in Malaysia alone, we have about 20 million registered users. Globally, we have about 1,089 million monthly active users (MAU).

How many monthly active users out of 20+ million in Malaysia?

If I would guess, maybe about half of it.

For 2019, what is your key focus in driving WeChat Pay forward?

So right now, if you look at the Experience Zone, what we've shared, is bringing value and user experience to solve pain points such as if you look at food ordering solution using mamak. One of the issues I've always had is when I watch Premier League in the mamak, I can't get the waiter's attention. I can't get them to come and serve me basically when I want to give them money.

So that's where the idea for the solution came about, I don't need them to come. I just need to scan the table, select whatever I want, order, and pay. Then at the kitchen, you just bring me my food, that's it. I skipped the whole part of ordering and paying.

When will we see this rolling out at the mamak in Malaysia?

You will see this very soon. Definitely this year. Possible Q2. It is as fast as I can get it because I'm going to be the user.

Apart from this, what else are you doing to drive this adoption?

If you look at the kuih-muih store we have there, that is to cater to more small businesses such as your night markets, your makciks, your nasi lemak sellers, your hawkers. That is easier to implement because it uses a static QR, just scan and pay.

So that is simple, easy, and that is something that we want to roll out very soon as well.


Currently, none of the existing merchants is using static QR?

None, we did not roll out Static QR. It was all Dynamic QR via Quick pay.

Why we did Quick Pay first was because, relatively speaking, Quick Pay is more suitable for larger businesses and franchises. For example, Starbucks. This is because it offers more powerful insights or data that they may need for their reporting and reconciliation.

But the static QR has fewer features in terms of reporting. So it will not be suitable for merchants, but it's fine for your small traders. So that's the reason why we first started with Quick Pay. This is because when we started rolling out, we wanted to get franchises and chains on board, so that's the fastest process.

After gaining more traction, people know about us, people started using, then we said okay to offer something that your average trader can use.

Currently, WeChat Pay only supports top-up via bank debit card. Why is it so? And secondly, how soon can I expect alternative top-up methods in WeChat Pay, in terms of cash, credit card, or even online banking? I'm surprised that online banking is not supported. Any particular reason for that as well?

Let's address why debit cards. So we support all Malaysia-issued Visa and Master debit cards. The rational why debit cards is almost every Malaysian would have a debit card.

According to 2017 BNM numbers, there are over 40 million debit cards in circulation versus about roughly 10-11 million credit cards in circulation. And these are the number of cards, not unique users. And from what we gauged is that if you have a debit card, you may not have a credit card. If you have a credit card, you will have a debit card.

So we decided to go with the debit card, simply because education would be easier. Right now for the market, this is something new, and the biggest challenge is educating users. So we decided to make it really simple, let's not confuse them. Let's tell them "debit card." Or for the older generation, we'll tell them "your ATM card" because we sometimes refer to it as ATM card.

It's a decision that we made after taking into consideration of the local context.

So you chose this because the debit card has more circulation, in terms of the card issued there're 40 over million. So obviously people who have debit card, they have an online bank account as well. Are you looking forward to adding that next in the pipeline?

I want to correct you a little, you can have a debit card without online banking. For example, my mom has a debit card, but no online bank account at all.

The challenge about online banking after we looked at it, is that every bank has different online banking experience. Just different in terms of interface but a similar concept; you must log in, you put in your password. Then some have OTP, some you must enter a pin number that you set.

So there are too many variations when you go from bank to bank. There's no consistency, and that makes education a challenge.

Whereas for your debit card, regardless of which bank you come from, it is consistent. So again, the decision was made based on educating the users.

You did showcase one on SmartFuel in your Experience Zone today. So you realize that Petronas has rolled out their own closed-loop app called Setel. How is SmartFuel different from Setel in terms of experience usage? And also, for SmartFuel, will you see it as a killer use case scenario that will boost your WeChat Pay usage?

Okay so first, I'll give some background on SmartFuel that you see in the Experience Zone. The one that you see right now is no longer the latest iteration. We are already working on the second iteration. And I must emphasize, it is a prototype, it is a concept, it is not ready for market.

So why we showcase it today is to let people have a look at what actually are we doing behind the scenes. What we're actually working on. And this is one industry, one aspect, one area that we are looking into. We felt that it is interesting, let's share this, but we must emphasize that this is a prototype.

Why and how this idea came about is one of our more notable merchants, Petron, accepted WeChat Pay at the petrol station, but only inside the store. You must walk into the store and pay because in petrol stations, there is a security and fire concern, so you must enter the store.

Then we're thinking, "Hey if you have to enter the store, it is not that convenient." How can we then make it more convenient? So we're thinking that since WeChat is online, for example, I know my car plate number, I can key in my car plate number and store it. I can just key in an amount, let's say RM50 for example, and okay I'll go to this pump and just press.


Can you predetermine the pump first before you arrive at the pump?

There's no need to predetermine the pump, just choose the station. For the purpose of the prototype, you must stop at the specific pump. But for the ideation part, it doesn't matter which pump you stop at, so long as you go to the station you selected.

People ask me, "What if I just fake your car plate number?" Here is an interesting thought. First, you must know that I'm going to which petrol station, you must know the timeframe that I'm going. From the moment I press 'pay,' in this iteration, there's a 1-hour window. So for you to steal my fuel is quite hard.

So you try to reduce the risk of this data getting stolen?

It's very hard. The odds, of course, there are always odds statistically speaking, but it is 1 in a million or way bigger than that.

So this iteration comes from our learning or understanding of working with Petron, and offering WeChat Pay at Petron. Then we looked at it and we realized we can do better.

I understand this is like a car plate recognition technology. Are you going to add on additional things on top? For example, the car model, the colour of the car.

I would say, technology-wise, not speaking from WeChat Pay perspective, under Tencent Cloud, we have artificial intelligence technology.

These are all possibilities. But in the context of right now, like I said, it is a prototype, we did not go that deep or far. But it is definitely possible.

So are we going to see this roll out this year as well?

I don't think so, we're still studying it.

Put it this way, we at WeChat Pay, we are really perfectionists when it comes to user experience. We will not roll out something that we will not use ourselves. All of us in the company behaves that way. We must firmly believe in it before we give it to our customers and users.

If you look at Malaysia now, 80% of our transactions are still done in cash, while cards and others comprise about 20% of that. Why do cards who already exist for a long time and only took 20% of the entire market? And why are you optimistic that e-wallet eventually will become the mainstream payment method for the consumers at mass?

So coming back to the question, it is again 2 words, User Experience. How is the experience of paying with cash or card any different? Of course, you might pay with a card if there's no change versus cash. Otherwise, is there a huge difference to the user from a user's perspective?

Today when we showcase, it's really talking about adding value to the user experience. Not so much about payment, frankly speaking. We don't focus that much on saying "Wow, WeChat Pay is great," "Use WeChat Pay." We always talk about the user experience, and how we can make scenario right now that we face, like my mamak experience, how do I make the experience better.

Again, if you look at the example, after you scan, it opens up WeChat Pay, the WeChat OA, loads the menu, you can choose and order, and pay is the last part of it.

That's why in WeChat Pay, 'Pay' is at the end and 'WeChat" is in the front. It goes hand-in-hand with our ecosystem and completes the cycle.

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ecInsider: Fireside Chat with Jason Siew, CEO of WeChat Pay MY
Fireside Chat with Jason Siew, CEO of WeChat Pay MY
In this episode of the fireside chat, we ask Jason Siew, CEO of WeChat Pay MY on what will drive WeChat Pay adoption in Malaysia - will it be mamak, petrol or something else?
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