iPayLinks’ entry to impact Middle East market

Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi with an official from iPayLinks.
Updated 17 August 2019

iPayLinks’ entry to impact Middle East market

The Middle East region is fast establishing itself as an emerging cross-border e-commerce market due to its ballooning smartphone penetration and growing consumer purchasing power.

The entry of iPayLinks, a Chinese provider of cross-border payment services, into the regional fintech space has been termed a game-changer. iPayLinks, which already has a licensed branch in Dubai, as well as a SAGIA-licensed subsidiary in Riyadh, is aiming to build up the one-stop payment solution for the Middle East cross-border businesses.

This has further made the region an attractive e-commerce destination with big and medium-size players jostling for a piece of the action. MENA’s online sales have continued to register impressive growth over the years with the region’s trade volume expected to reach $26 billion by 2020. 

The GCC countries aim to boost trade and investment ties with the world’s second largest economy — China. This follows 35-year strong diplomatic relations between GCC countries and China. With recent actions, it is believed more than 2,000+ enterprises would benefit from bilateral relations, as China’s internet giant Tencent and Didi are set to expand their horizons in the region.

Headquartered in the CBD of Shanghai, iPayLinks is expected to bridge China’s and the Middle East’s e-payment industry ultimately contributing to the region’s e-commerce growth and convenient payment facilities.

“Business-to-consumer is a rapidly growing trend for e-payments among consumers in the GCC region. We also envisage that business-to-business will follow suit as more companies warm up to the idea of moving most of their payments options online. The GCC and UAE, in particular, are leading on this as more local businesses embrace cross-border business. iPayLinks is, therefore, strategically placed to offer seamless services that will enhance cross-border e-commerce. iPayLinks will provide real-time solutions that meet the regional e-commerce business demands by cooperating with regional acquirers and financial institutions,” said Ben Wang, regional director, iPayLinks. 

Following emerging fintech trends, gaps, challenges and a booming e-commerce cross-border business in the region, iPayLinks also aims to build a cross-border e-wallet for enterprises and marketplace merchants. 

This, according to iPayLinks, will help streamline the process of pay in and out by vendors in the region which will, in turn, boost revenues and avoid extra charges.

iPayLinks has raised multiple rounds of investments from prominent investors in fintech industry such as Tecent, Legend Capital, Vision+ Capital, Phoenix Fortune and Kairous Capital. It has been featured among the top 50 fintech companies by KPMG and Deloitte and among the top unlisted companies by Forbes.

ICD & We-Fi empower women entrepreneurs

Updated 18 September 2019

ICD & We-Fi empower women entrepreneurs

With the aim of discussing how the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) can expand their relationship and integrate the gender themes into ICD’s operations and businesses, a meeting was held between Ayman Amin Sejiny, CEO of ICD; Wendy Teleki, head of We-Fi secretariat; and Samir Suleymanov, director strategic initiatives, World Bank, at ICD’s premises in Jeddah recently. The parties discussed the development and promotion of women’s entrepreneurship through innovative sustainable solutions to increase women’s access to economic opportunities in developing countries. 

Teleki highlighted the main objectives of We-Fi, which is to support women entrepreneurs around the world through programs that provide financing, capacity building and also promote enabling environments that allow women to become entrepreneurs and grow their businesses. We-Fi uses an ecosystem approach to develop programs at the country level that will break down barriers and create more opportunities for women.

During the meeting, Ayman said: “ICD and We-Fi are working together to enhance their initiatives and mandates in supporting the female society in all ICD’s member countries. We want to ensure that our lines of finance and our relationship with the 102 directly connected financial institutions we are dealing with will further enhance the funding, training to women entrepreneurs and to provide the required necessary support to women in all our member countries.”

Teleki said that We-Fi has six implementing partners (IP) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is one of them. “IsDB, along with ICD is supporting women entrepreneurs in fragile countries. In Yemen, they have a very interesting ongoing program named BRAVE Women. They target to train up to 500 women to learn to develop business plans in fragile and high-risk contexts and up to 400 of them will get access to funding on a matching grant basis. This program aims also to develop the relationship between those women entrepreneurs with the local banks and also lead companies to make sure those women have access to finance and markets to grow their businesses. Moreover, the IsDB and ICD will be implementing soon this BRAVE Women program in two other countries to improve the women’s entrepreneurship potential in key economic sectors and we look forward to seeing those programs happening in future,” she said.

We-Fi is a global platform that seeks to support over a 100,000 women around the world in the next five years and mobilize at least $2 billion from the public and private sector for further activities.