Tim Lee (right bottom), founder and CEO of QFPay, participates in the webinar themed “Tipping Point: Economic Impact of the Pandemic: A New Approach to Doing Business”, held in Hong Kong on Wednesday. (SARAH CHENG / CHINA DAILY)
Digital payments have been increasing during the coronavirus pandemic because of the ease with which they allow people to pay for goods and services while under quarantine or undertaking social distancing.
Experts predict that after the current crisis, most countries will likely become more digitized. This is because the pandemic is changing patterns of consumer behavior. Offline payment transaction volumes have recorded a dramatic drop during the COVID-19 crisis, while the number of people physically shopping in stores and enjoying outdoor entertainment has fallen.
We have received a lot of requests from retailers — both local and cross-border ones — for online business solutions
founder and CEO of QFPay
During this time, e-commerce and online business have increased, while remote payments have “largely increased”, said Tim Lee, founder and CEO of QFPay, a digital payment solution provider.
Because of the pandemic, many consumers in Hong Kong have started to use digital payments during their daily lives. Contactless digital payments at the point of sale (POS), such as facial recognition, quick response (QR) codes and near-field communications, are protecting consumers. These make it less likely that the coronavirus will spread to other people during cash exchanges.
Whether people will maintain these spending habits when the crisis is over depends on how retailers and businesses seize opportunities and maximize customer demand for online shopping.
“We have received a lot of requests from retailers — both local and cross-border ones — for online business solutions,” Lee told China Daily.
A number of e-commerce initiatives are helping businesses maintain their revenues during very difficult times.
Some chain stores are interested in exploring online channels although they are already equipped with digital payments offline. E-commerce players in Hong Kong see this rising demand as an opportunity to improve what they offer online while boosting much-needed retail spending.
QFPay wants to help offline business and cross-border related business move to being online and to develop online payment capabilities more easily. QFPay, founded in 2011, is offering three-in-one online business transformation solutions. This includes online and remote payments, global e-commerce solutions, and online marketing.
Lee said these solutions could help business people develop all-channel payments. These cover 140 payment methods around the world.
To benefit local and overseas retailers, the company has partnered with online retail platform Shopify to provide global e-commerce solutions. Those targeting Chinese mainland consumers will be assisted with a e-commerce solution based on WeChat’s mini-program. Consumers will automatically follow the retailer’s official WeChat account after payment. This could attract more followers and lead to better marketing and promotion, he said.
Many other digital payment service providers have launched all kinds of measures to help retailers survive during the next few months. AlipayHK, the Hong Kong arm of Alibaba Group’s online payment platform, said it has waived the transaction fees of some businesses. It is also offering special sales discounts to help online shops.
After the pandemic eases, people without access to digital payments may not only miss out on a convenient business tool, but also the benefits of financial inclusion and increasingly digitized global trade.
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