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未雨绸缪:CEO敦促转账平台M-Pesa尽快实现多样化升级

M-Pesa是一家全球领先的手机转账平台。然而要想获得更大发展空间,平台就必须让现有的繁琐服务变得更加高效、创新、集成,至少这是M-Pesa公司首席执行官提出的构想。

M-Pesa创始公司Safaricom的领导人Bob Collymore在10月17日纽约公开演讲中承认,开发者接入系统时,这家肯尼亚公司“比我们过去更开放了一些”,同时提到他希望让M-Pesa成为创新平台。Collymore说,为了在技术领域保持快速发展的脚步,需要做许多工作。与其他技术产品相比,他认为M-Pesa“不够简洁”。

Collymore说:“我们看到我们现有的技术仍然十分繁琐,我们早就应该开放系统。这是一个开放的世界。”他认为M-Pesa应该向全球合作商开放,这将帮助非洲大陆解决电力、水源、农业等重要的日常问题。

2007年一经推出后,M-Pesa变开启了一场手机货币革命。据Collymore说,M-Pesa已有2000万活跃用户。肯尼亚43%的国内生产总值流动均经此平台,这一数值着实让人惊叹。但经过10年商业发展,M-Pesa目前也迎来了竞争与瓶颈期。Visa一直努力提高在肯尼亚的信用卡市场占有率,比如最近它们就推出了M-Pesa的竞争产品Mvisa。

南非很少有人使用手机支付业务,所以今年年初Safaricom的母公司Vodafone放弃了M-Pesa在南非的业务。不同国家系统之间缺少互通,制约着平台在新兴市场的增长能力。

Collymore仍然希望M-Pesa能够在非洲通行。10月17日,谈及Facebook公司的通讯软件在180个国家有超过10亿用户时,Collymore说:“我只希望M-Pesa能够像WhatsApp一样。”
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肯尼亚移动市场Safaricom份额遥遥领先

他的这种感叹与最近M-Pesa开发多种产品的创举一致。6月,该公司推出了叫车软件Little Cab,为乘车者提供比竞争者收费更低的服务。同时M-Pesa与Ericsson合作,帮助偏远地区居民购买清洁饮用水,与能源公司 M-Kopa合作,让消费者可以使用手机购买太阳能电力。

Collymore说,这些创新发展了M-Pesa的数字生态系统,有望保证服务未来。为了扩大公司占有率,Safaricom正深入研究如何利用巨大客户群产生的数据,也在投资更多电子商务。过去15年间,电子商务已经在非洲扩展形成3950亿美元的产业。

Collymore说:“如果你经营商业,那经商除了解决困难没别的的事儿,这一点儿也不夸张。”
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2015年12月非洲不同区域活跃移动金融账户

The future of M-Pesa, the world’s leading mobile money-transfer system, lies in transforming the service’s “clumsy” technology into something more efficient, innovative, and collaborative. At least that’s the vision spelled out by the company’s CEO.

Speaking to an audience in New York on Oct. 17, Bob Collymore, head of M-Pesa creator Safaricom, acknowledged that the Kenyan firm was “a little bit more open than we used to be” when it comes to developers plugging into their system, and said he hoped to make M-Pesa into a platform for innovation. But to keep up in the fast-paced tech industry, Collymore said a lot of work needs to be done. He described M-Pesa as “far from elegant” when stacked up against other tech products.

“We see that the technology we have today is very clumsy,” Collymore said. “We should have open systems. It’s an open world.” He said M-Pesa was open to global partnerships that would help it address crucial, everyday issues in the African continent—from electricity to water to agriculture.

M-Pesa kickstarted a mobile money revolution when it launched in 2007 and has since grown to 20 million active users, according to Collymore. A staggering 43% of Kenya’s GDP flows through the platform. But after a decade in business, the company is facing new limitations and mounting competition. Visa, which has struggled to promote credit cards in the region, recently launched an M-Pesa competitor in Kenya, called Mvisa.

Earlier this year, Safaricom’s parent company Vodafone scrapped M-Pesa in South Africa, where fewer people use mobile money services. The lack of interoperability between different countries’ systems is also limiting the platform’s ability to grow in emerging markets.

Collymore still hopes to make M-Pesa ubiquitous across the continent. “I just want it to be like WhatsApp,” he said on Oct. 17, referring to the Facebook-owned messaging app currently used by 1 billion people in 180 countries.

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His sentiments are in line with recent initiatives to diversify M-Pesa products. In July, the company launched Little Cab, a ride-hailing app that offered passengers cheaper fares than those of competitors. M-Pesa has also partnered with Ericsson to help rural residents pay for clean water, and with energy firm M-Kopa to let customers buy solar electricity with their mobile phones.

These kinds of initiatives improve the digital ecosystem around M-Pesa, and will hopefully guarantee the service’s future, Collymore says. To spread the company’s foothold, Safaricom is also looking into harnessing the data produced by its large customer base and investing in more e-commerce ventures. Over the past 15 years, e-commerce has expanded to a $395 billion industry in Africa.

“If you are running a business,” Collymore said, “the purpose of business has to be [about] literally solving problems. Nothing else.”

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