Transforming Data Centres: Equinix’s Platform and Service Integration

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As AI evolves, the supporting infrastructure has become a crucial consideration for organisations and technology companies alike. AI demands massive processing power and efficient data handling, making high-performance computing clusters and advanced data management systems essential. Scalability, efficiency, security, and reliability are key to ensuring AI systems handle increasing demands and sensitive data responsibly.

Data centres must evolve to meet the increasing demands of AI and growing data requirements.

Equinix recently hosted technology analysts at their offices and data centre facilities in Singapore and Sydney to showcase how they are evolving to maintain their leadership in the colocation and interconnection space.

Equinix is expanding in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. In Asia Pacific, they recently opened data centres in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru, with capacity additions in Mumbai, Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo, and Seoul. Plans for the next 12 months include expanding in existing cities and entering new ones, such as Chennai and Jakarta.

Ecosystm analysts comment on Equinix’s growth potential and opportunities in Asia Pacific.

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Click here to download ‘Transforming Data Centres: Equinix’s Platform and Service Integration’ as a PDF

Small Details, Big Impact

TIM SHEEDY. The tour of the new Equinix data centre in Sydney revealed the complexity of modern facilities. For instance, the liquid cooling system, essential for new Nvidia chipsets, includes backup cold water tanks for redundancy. Every system and process is designed with built-in redundancy.

As power needs grow, so do operational and capital costs. The diesel generators at the data centre, comparable to a small power plant, are supported by multiple fuel suppliers from several regions in Sydney to ensure reliability during disasters.

Security is critical, with some areas surrounded by concrete walls extending from the ceiling to the floor, even restricting access to Equinix staff.

By focusing on these details, Equinix enables customers to quickly set up and manage their environments through a self-service portal, delivering a cloud-like experience for on-premises solutions.

Equinix’s Commitment to the Environment

ACHIM GRANZEN. Compute-intensive AI applications challenge data centres’ “100% green energy” pledges, prompting providers to seek additional green measures. Equinix addresses this through sustainable design and green energy investments, including liquid cooling and improved traditional cooling. In Singapore, one of Equinix’s top 3 hubs, the company partnered with the government and Sembcorp to procure solar power from panels on public buildings. This improves Equinix’s power mix and supports Singapore’s renewable energy sector.

TIM SHEEDY Building and operating data centres sustainably is challenging. While the basics – real estate, cooling, and communications – remain, adding proximity to clients, affordability, and 100% renewable energy complicates matters. In Australia, reliant on a mixed-energy grid, Equinix has secured 151 MW of renewable energy from Victoria’s Golden Plains Wind Farm, aiming for 100% renewable by 2029.

Equinix leads with AIA-rated data centres that operate in warmer conditions, reducing cooling needs and boosting energy efficiency. Focusing on efficient buildings, sustainable water management, and a circular economy, Equinix aims for climate neutrality by 2030, demonstrating strong environmental responsibility.

Equinix’s Private AI Value Proposition

ACHIM GRANZEN. Most AI efforts, especially GenAI, have occurred in the public cloud, but there’s rising demand for Private AI due to concerns about data availability, privacy, governance, cost, and location. Technology providers in a position to offer alternative AI stacks (usually built on top of a GPU-as-a-service model) to the hyperscalers find themselves in high interest. Equinix, in partnership with providers such as Nvidia, offers Private AI solutions on a global turnkey AI infrastructure. These solutions are ideal for industries with large-scale operations and connectivity challenges, such as Manufacturing, or those slow to adopt public cloud.

SASH MUKHERJEE. Equinix’s Private AI value proposition will appeal to many organisations, especially as discussions on AI cost efficiency and ROI evolve. AI unites IT and business teams, and Equinix understands the need for conversations at multiple levels. Infrastructure leaders focus on data strategy capacity planning; CISOs on networking and security; business lines on application performance, and the C-suite on revenue, risk, and cost considerations. Each has a stake in the AI strategy. For success, Equinix must reshape its go-to-market message to be industry-specific (that’s how AI conversations are shaping) and reskill its salesforce for broader conversations beyond infrastructure.

Equinix’s Growth Potential

ACHIM GRANZEN. In Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia provide growth opportunities for Equinix. Indonesia holds massive potential as a digital-savvy G20 country. In Malaysia, the company’s data centres can play a vital part in the ongoing Mydigital initiative, having a presence in the country before the hyperscalers. Also, the proximity of the Johor Bahru data centre to Singapore opens additional business opportunities.

TIM SHEEDY. Equinix is evolving beyond being just a data centre real estate provider. By developing their own platforms and services, along with partner-provided solutions, they enable customers to optimise application placement, manage smaller points of presence, enhance cloud interconnectivity, move data closer to hyperscalers for backup and performance, and provide multi-cloud networking. Composable services – such as cloud routers, load balancers, internet access, bare metal, virtual machines, and virtual routing and forwarding – allow seamless integration with partner solutions.

Equinix’s focus over the last 12 months on automating and simplifying the data centre management and interconnection services is certainly paying dividends, and revenue is expected to grow above tech market growth rates.

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Innovation in Government: Social, Economic, and Environmental Wins

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Governments worldwide struggle with intricate social, economic, and environmental challenges. Tight budgets often leave them with limited resources to address these issues head-on. However, innovation offers a powerful path forward.

By embracing new technologies, adapting to cultural shifts, and fostering new skills, structures, and communication methods, governments can find solutions within existing constraints.

Find out how public sector innovation is optimising internal operations, improving service accessibility, bridging the financial gap, transforming healthcare, and building a sustainable future.

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Click here to download ‘Innovation in Government: Social, Economic, and Environmental Wins’ as a PDF

Optimising Operations: Tech-Driven Efficiency

Technology is transforming how governments operate, boosting efficiency and allowing employees to focus on core functions.

Here are some real-world examples.

Singapore Streamlines Public Buses. A cloud-based fleet management system by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) improves efficiency, real-time tracking, data analysis, and the transition to electric buses.

Dubai Optimises Utilities Through AI. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) leverages AI for predictive maintenance, demand forecasting, and grid management. This enhances service reliability, operational efficiency, and resource allocation for power and water utilities.

Automation Boosts Hospital Efficiency. Singapore hospitals are using automation to save man-hours and boost efficiency. Tan Tock Seng Hospital automates bacteria sample processing, increasing productivity without extra staff, while Singapore General Hospital tracks surgical instruments digitally, saving thousands of man-hours.

Tech for Citizens

Digital tools and emerging technologies hold immense potential to improve service accessibility and delivery for citizens. Here’s how governments are leveraging tech to benefit their communities.

Faster Cross-Border Travel. Malaysia’s pilot QR code clearance system expedites travel for factory workers commuting to Singapore, reducing congestion at checkpoints.

Metaverse City Planning. South Korea’s “Metaverse 120 Center” allows residents to interact with virtual officials and access services in a digital environment, fostering innovative urban planning and infrastructure management.

Streamlined Benefits. UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) launched an online child benefit claim system that reduces processing time from weeks to days, showcasing the efficiency gains possible through digital government services.

Bridging the Financial Gap

Nearly 1.7 billion adults or one-third globally, remain unbanked.

However, innovative programs are bridging this gap and promoting financial inclusion.

Thailand’s Digital Wallet. Aimed at stimulating the economy and empowering underserved citizens, Thailand disburses USD 275 via digital wallets to 50 million low-income adults, fostering financial participation.

Ghana’s Digital Success Story. The first African nation to achieve 100% financial inclusion through modernised platforms like Ghana.gov and GhanaPay, which facilitate payments and fee collection through various digital channels.

Philippines Embraces QR Payments. The City of Alaminos leverages the Paleng-QR Ph Plus program to promote QR code-based payments, aligning with the central bank’s goal of onboarding 70% of Filipinos into the formal financial system by 2024.

Building a Sustainable Future

Governments around the world are increasingly turning to technology to address environmental challenges and preserve natural capital.

Here are some inspiring examples.

World’s Largest Carbon Capture Plant. Singapore and UCLA joined forces to build Equatic-1, a groundbreaking facility that removes CO2 from the ocean and creates carbon-negative hydrogen.

Tech-Enhanced Disaster Preparedness. The UK’s Lincolnshire County Council uses cutting-edge geospatial technology like drones and digital twins. This empowers the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum with real-time data and insights to effectively manage risks like floods and power outages across their vast region.

Smart Cities for Sustainability. Bologna, Italy leverages the digital twins of its city to optimise urban mobility and combat climate change. By analysing sensor data and incorporating social factors, the city is strategically developing infrastructure for cyclists and trams.

Tech for a Healthier Tomorrow

Technology is transforming healthcare delivery, promoting improved health and fitness monitoring.

Here’s a glimpse into how innovation is impacting patient care worldwide.

Robotic Companions for Seniors. South Korea tackles elder care challenges with robots. Companion robots and safety devices provide companionship and support for seniors living alone.

VR Therapy for Mental Wellness. The UAE’s Emirates Health Services Corporation implements a Virtual Reality Lab for Mental Health, that creates interactive therapy sessions for individuals with various psychological challenges. VR allows for personalised treatment plans based on data collected during sessions.

The Future of Industries
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Leaders Roundtable: Accelerate People First Culture to Empower Your Organisation’s Biggest Asset

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Leaders Roundtable: Accelerate People First Culture to Empower Your Organisation’s Biggest Asset

The corporate challenge of managing skills shortages, employer of choice strategies, and flexible work programs have long existed.

Pandemic fast tracked the transformation of the organisation today in how they do business, engage with their customers, and deliver their products and services.

But perhaps the biggest change has been in how organisations have had evolve their employee strategies and practices. With opening up of the restrictions – the debate is raging on employee work practices, hybrid working, flexibility, wellness, great resignation quiet quitting and in some economies restructuring.

Employees are an organisation’s biggest asset. Given the changes and challenges that your employees have faced over the last two years, they have developed some strong work preferences. HR has the biggest role to play in shaping the employee experience your organisation provides – and it cannot achieve this without a close alliance with the Tech/Digital Team.

As workplaces become truly hybrid, there are significant challenges that CHROs face today:

  • Capturing the pulse of the organisation and establish the right corporate culture
  • Accelerating insight and engagement with employee considering generational differences and personal choices
  • Solving the “productivity conundrum” – allowing employees to be productive and bring their whole self to work irrespective of their location and synchronicity
  • Empowering managers to offer personalised employee experience to ensure employee retention, growth, and emotional well-being
  • Rebuilding the social capital after the uncertainties of the last two years

Join me and your industry peers for this Executive Leaders discussion on how HR teams can leverage technology to empower their biggest asset and promote their organisations as Employers of Choice.

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The Future of the Digital Enterprise – Southeast Asia

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Southeast Asia has evolved into an innovation hub with Singapore at the centre. The entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem has grown significantly across the region – for example, Indonesia now has the 5th largest number of startups in the world.  

Organisations in the region are demonstrating a strong desire for tech-led innovation, innovation in experience delivery, and in evolving their business models to bring innovative products and services to market.    

Here are 5 insights on the patterns of technology adoption in Southeast Asia, based on the findings of the Ecosystm Digital Enterprise Study, 2022.

  • Data and AI investments are closely linked to business outcomes. There is a clear alignment between technology and business.
  • Technology teams want better control of their infrastructure. Technology modernisation also focuses on data centre consolidation and cloud strategy
  • Organisations are opting for a hybrid multicloud approach. They are not necessarily doing away with a ‘cloud first’ approach – but they have become more agnostic to where data is hosted.
  • Cybersecurity underpins tech investments. Many organisations in the region do not have the maturity to handle the evolving threat landscape – and they are aware of it. 
  • Sustainability is an emerging focus area. While more effort needs to go in to formalise these initiatives, organisations are responding to market drivers.

More insights into the Southeast Asia tech market below.

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Click here to download The Future of the Digital Enterprise – Southeast Asia as a PDF

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The Future of Industries: The Global Semiconductor Industry Disruption

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The semiconductor industry is 70-years old and has a prominent – and sometimes inconspicuous – presence in our daily lives. Many of us, however, have become more aware of the industry and the ramifications of its disruption, because of recent events. The pandemic, natural disasters, power outages, geo-political conflicts, and accelerated digital transformation have all combined to disrupt the semiconductor sector, leaving no organisation immune to the impacts of the continuing global chip crisis.

It is estimated that 200 downstream industries have failed to fulfill customer demands owing to the silicon scarcity, ranging from automotive, consumer electronics, utilities and even the supply of light fixtures.

This Ecosystm Bytes discusses the impact of the crisis and highlights major initiatives that chip manufacturers and governments are taking to combat it, including:

  • The factors leading to the shortage in the semiconductor industry
  • The impact on industry sectors such as Automotive, Consumer Electronics and MedTech
  • How leading chip makers such as TSMC, Intel and Samsung are increasing their manufacturing capabilities
  • The importance of Asia to the semiconductor industry
  • How countries such as Malaysia and India are aiming to build self-sufficiency in the industry

Read on to find out more.

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Click here to download The Future of Industries: The Global Semiconductor Industry Disruption slides as a PDF

The Future of Industries

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Operating in the New Normal – Telecom Providers in Southeast Asia

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Never before has the world experienced a shutdown in both supply and demand which has effectively slammed the brakes on economic activities and forced a complete rethink on how to continue doing business and maintain social interactions. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalisation of consumers and enterprises and the telecommunications industry has been the pillar which has kept the world ticking over.

It is unthinkable just how the human race would have coped with such massive disruption, two decades ago in the absence of broadband internet. The technology and telecom sector has seen a rise in their visible importance in recent months. Various findings show that peak level traffic was about 20-30% higher than the levels before the pandemic. The rise in traffic coupled with the fervent growth of the digital economy augurs well for the technology and telecom sector in Southeast Asia.

Revenues Hit Despite Rise in Traffic

Unfortunately, the rise in network traffic has not translated to an increase in revenue for many operators in the region. The winners, that enjoyed YoY growth in Q1 2020 despite challenging circumstances were: Maxis (4.9%) and DiGi (3.4%) in Malaysia; dtac (3.3%) and True (5.7%) in Thailand; PDLT (7.5%) and Globe (1.4%) in the Philippines; and  Indosat Ooredoo (7.9%) and XL Axiata (8.8%) in Indonesia. The telecom operators that struggled include: Celcom (-6.1%) and TM (-8.0%) in Malaysia; Singapore’s trio of Singtel (-6.5%), StarHub (-15.2%) and M1 (-10.3%); and AIS (-1.0%) in Thailand.

Key market trends include a dip in prepaid subscribers due to fall in tourist numbers, roaming income losses due to travel restrictions, and a general decline in average revenue per user (ARPU) due to weaker customer spend. The postpaid customer segment was resilient while the fixed broadband revenue stream was stable due to the increase in work from home (WFH) practices. With fixed tariffs, there are no incremental gains with an increase in usage. Voice revenue has been hit with the increase in collaboration-based communication applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Equipment sales fell as global supply chains were severely disrupted and impacted new sign-ups of the more premium customers. Most markets in Southeast Asia depend on retail outlets as a key channel to the market, which has been hampered.

With the job losses across the world, bad debts and weakened customer spend is inevitable and it is imperative that the operators provide for reflective pricing strategies, listen to new customer requirements to ensure customer retention and strengthening of their market position. In May, Verizon’s CEO Hans Vestberg said nearly 800,000 of their subscribers were unable to pay their monthly bills. Discussions with operators in Southeast Asia also highlighted this as a current concern.

Enterprise Segment Target for New Growth

Ecosystm research shows that enterprises in Southeast Asia are increasingly considering telecom operators as go-to-market partners (Figure 1). Enterprises are demanding more than just devices and connectivity and with the fervent digital transformation (DX) efforts underway, services such as managed services, business application services, cybersecurity and network services are in demand. Technology vendors have an opportunity to partner with the right telecom operator in each market to enhance their IT market offerings, ahead of the 5G rollouts.

Top Telecom Providers in Southeast Asia

The broad 5G ecosystem inculcates cross-sector innovation and greater collaboration leading to new business models and exciting new opportunities. Singtel is the leading operator in the region and has the enterprise segment contributing approximately 65% to its revenue in its domestic market. In the World Communications Award 2019, Singtel won both “Best Enterprise Service” and “The Broadband Pioneer” awards.  This places Singtel in a fine position to capitalise on the 5G enterprise services.

5G Needed Now More Than Ever

The pandemic has seen a rise in network traffic, onboarding of the digital customer and rapid DX of businesses which has whetted the appetite for faster broadband speeds and new services. Southeast Asia countries stand to profit from the trade war between the US and China and 5G features of low latency and higher security can boost adoption of IoT, Smart Manufacturing and broader Industry 4.0 goals to drive the economy.

Fixed Wireless in Southeast Asia is expected to be very popular considering the low penetration of fibre to the home (with the exception of Singapore) and will provide enterprises with a viable secondary connection to the internet. Popular applications – including video streaming and gaming – which are speed, latency and volume hungry will also be a target market for operators. Mobile operators that do not have a fixed broadband offering can enter this space and provide a serious “wireless fibre” alternative to homes and businesses.

Governments and telecom regulators ought to make spectrum available to the major telecom operators as soon as possible in order to ensure that the cutting edge 5G communications services are made available to consumers and businesses. Many experts believe 5G can raise the competitiveness of a nation.

Recent research from World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that significant economic and social value can be gained from the widespread deployment of 5G networks, with 5G facilitating industrial advances, productivity and improving the bottom line while enabling sustainable cities and communities. GSMA notes that mobile technologies and services in the wider Asia Pacific region generated USD 1.6 trillion of economic value while the mobile ecosystem supported 18 million jobs as well as contributing USD 180 billion of funding to the public sector through taxation.

US-China Trade War Threatens to Change Equipment Supplier Landscape

Despite severe pressures caused by the US-China trade war, Huawei posted an impressive 13.1% YoY growth in 1H 2020 registering revenue of USD 64.88 billion. Both Huawei and ZTE generate approximately 60% of their business from their domestic markets which is critical with the current unfavourable global sentiments. Huawei has diversified its business and built its consumer devices business which should withstand the disruptions caused by the political challenges.

Ericsson and Nokia stand to benefit from Huawei’s current global position and this was evident with the wins for the 5G contracts by Singtel and JVCo (Singtel and M1). The JVCo announced it selected Nokia to build the Radio Access Network (RAN) for the 5G standalone (SA) mmWave network infrastructure in the 3.5GHz radio frequency band. Singtel selected Ericsson to provide for the RAN on the same mmWave network.

However, while there is an opportunity for NEC and Samsung to join the party, Huawei is expected to do well in most other countries in Southeast Asia.

The Rise of the Digital Economy in Southeast Asia

A recent Google report valued the internet economy in Southeast Asia at USD 100 billion in 2019, more than tripling since 2015, and the sector is expected to hit USD 300 billion in 2025. With a population of approximately 570 million people, the region has some of the fastest-growing internet economies in the world.

The Indonesia market is the largest in the region and is expected to hit USD 133 billion from USD 40 billion in 2025. Indonesia’s lack of a world-class telecom infrastructure coupled with their slowness in 5G adoption has not impeded the country’s attractiveness for global technology investors who see the 270 million population as an immense opportunity. US tech giants, Facebook, Google, and PayPal have invested in Indonesia to reap the benefits from the growing digital economy powered by unicorns such as Gojek, Bukalapak, Tokopedia. In June 2020, Google Cloud launched in Jakarta, only the second in the region after Singapore with the four big unicorns being anchor customers.

In 2025, Google predicts Thailand to be the second-largest internet economy worth USD 50 billion. The internet economy for Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines are estimated to be over USD 27 billion each. Shopee and Lazada are the top eCommerce apps in the region and have seen an increase in sales due to the disruption in the Retail industry. In-store shopping contributes to more than 50% of Retail in Singapore and Malaysia – this provides a tremendous opportunity for eCommerce players.

While movement restrictions are gradually being lifted, some things may never return where they were before COVID-19. Public debts have risen with numerous aids and handouts impacting economic growth forecast and rising unemployment is impacting customer spending power. On the plus side, DX of businesses and sharp onboarding of customers have redefined interactions, and sectors such as Education, are going online which will boost the digital economy. While the challenges are evident, exciting times are ahead for the technology and telecom sector in Southeast Asia.


Emerging Technology

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Instapay and Mastercard Promote Financial Inclusion in Malaysia

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5/5 (1) In the blog, The Top 5 Fintech Trends for 2020, we had spoken about the impact of Fintech on financial inclusion. “Fintech will have a much greater impact than we realise, and we will continue to see it drive the induction of the unbanked into the mainstream economy. The growth in mobile phone penetration, however, continues to grow at a faster pace than banking accessibility across emerging economies. We will continue to see Fintech play a significant role in driving greater inclusion, especially to bring in the underserved in the emerging economies and reducing the gender gap when it comes to adoption of financial services – creating greater inclusion overall.”

Fintech Driving Financial Inclusion in Malaysia

Much of Malaysia’s economy is dependent on foreign workers with an estimate of 3-4 million migrants that roughly contribute to about 30% of the country’s labour force.  Instapay, regulated by the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), caters to the underbanked community of foreign migrant workers, and recently announced a collaboration with Mastercard, to provide e-wallet accounts to Malaysian migrant workers. The app supports 9 languages and aims to have 100,000 users in the first year.

The widespread use of e-wallets by the migrant worker community is meant to bring benefits to both them, as well as their employers. It enables employers to use digital technologies for payroll management, reducing their dependence on cash handling, reducing costs and eliminating downtime as their employees no longer need to queue up on paydays.

The Instapay e-wallet also gives a largely underbanked segment of the society access to affordable financial products and services. The partnership with Mastercard gives Instapay’s customers access to the global network of merchants and ATMs, allowing easier access to financial services.

Ecosystm Principal Advisor, Dheeraj Chowdhry says, “Instapay’s foray into e-wallets furthers and supports the country’s objective of democratising banking and moving to a cashless economy. Collaboration with an international player like Mastercard helps a domestic Fintech to deliver a product that is country agnostic. The migrant worker can not only use the Instapay wallet within Malaysia but also in their home country.”

Malaysia’s Focus on Fintech

The Malaysia Government aims to create a cashless society, lower transaction costs and provide access to the underserved customers. There are two kinds of financial inclusion – for the lower income group as well as for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – and Malaysia is committed to both. Digital payments and e-wallets aimed at the lower income group receives an estimated 36% of Fintech funding. The stumbling block is that about a third of the country’s population does not have smartphones, so funds transfer using mobile phone messages is still relevant in the country. Development of the SME sector and eCommerce are twin focus areas for the Digital Economy vision. This provides a ready market for digital payments. Also, while the SME community will still have access to traditional funding, there is expected to be a greater push towards crowdfunding and peer-to-peer financing. It is expected that the share of Fintech funding for alternative funding will grow beyond the estimated 6% that it receives now.

According to a Mastercard Impact Study 2020, Malaysia has the highest e-wallet usage in Southeast Asia. As the country moves towards creating a cashless society, the Government is hoping e-wallet adoption increases. Several initiatives and schemes have been rolled out to promote e-wallets adoption. Last month, Malaysia announced the intention to spend an estimated USD 176 million in 2020 to encourage e-wallet adoption. Earlier this year, the Government announced the e-Tunai Rakyat program to boost the adoption of e-wallets, supported by Grab, Boost and Touch ‘n Go. Chowdhry says, “Instapay e-wallet is yet another manifestation of the amplified focus on e-wallets in Malaysia. BNM has set aside an estimated USD 108 million and has introduced a scheme to give USD $7.25 in credit for every adoption of any of the top 3 e-wallets. This scheme has accelerated e-wallets in the country that has set an adoption target of 15 million i.e. half of its population.”

“This push is backed by a structured approach of increasing the number of small merchants accepting card payments. With BNM’s focus, there are as many as half a million POS terminals out there for both credit cards and QR codes.”

“Malaysia’s regulators have to be applauded for having a well-coordinated, holistic and converging strategy on creating a cashless economy. The issuance, acceptance and regulatory policies have been completely synergised to deliver.”

 

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