If you live in Singapore, it’s an open secret that a lot of business happens over social media like WhatsApp or WeChat, rather than through official channels.
They are often a more casual channel where one can more easily build rapport, and where business deals can be more easily greased along in a relaxed setting. Particularly in Southest Asian countries, even Forbes has noted that the ubiquity of chatting apps like Line, Wechat and Facebook Messenger in the region has helped it reign supreme in business deals—with these companies are actively working towards keeping things this way.
Seeing this as an opportunity to expand their regular services, VoxSmart, a UK-based regulatory technology firm with a regional office in Singapore, has opened up its services to energy and commodity firms that allows employees to trade across instant messaging platforms.
VoxSmart’s proprietary technology was initially developed as a solution to help banks achieve compliance on their company-issued gadgets, but the growing popularity of social media and instant messaging spurred the company to also enable capital market traders and brokers to communicate with clients and execute trades on these channels.
For now, the press release has specifically named platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat, and it is unclear if the services are available across other platforms.
Depending on its traction in Singapore, it will be interesting to see if they are able to expand outside of the island nation to tap into the other Southeast Asian markets, and especially whether this will set a standard. The Indonesian market has already observed the launch of a payments platform that enables small businesses to accept payments via social messaging apps, for example.
Social media platforms have also increasingly moved towards being business-friendly, with Facebook launching its Marketplaces feature, and WhatsApp’s business side, operational in select countries.