In October 2019, the IMF predicted that Asia would grow by 5% in 2019. That’s 0.4% lower than the IMF’s April 2019 projection for full year growth, but overall not too bad. How is that prediction holding up now after the impact of COVID-19? The short answer is that we don’t know yet. The pandemic has swept away all assumptions before it.
At the end of March 2020, it seems that the worst is over for APAC: China has seen the number of new cases fall to zero. Singapore, Japan, South Korea and other Asian markets also appeared to have the virus under control. Reports indicate that people in these countries are once more spending money, but that does not mean that a rapid recovery is assured. However, on the bright side (at least for businesses involved in online retail) e-commerce appears to be benefitting from a boom.
The Local Payment Culture
For this report, PPRO surveyed 14 key Asian markets to find out what the payment landscape looked like. Those markets are: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The most common type of online payment method was the e-wallet, with a 46% market share. Cards came second at 30%, followed by bank transfers (13%), cash (7%) and various minor payment types (4%). The card market is dominated by local schemes and minor players at 86%. Visa has 9% of the card market, Mastercard 5% and American Express less than 1%.
The E-Commerce Market
On average, the B2C e-commerce market in the countries covered by this report is growing by 22%. In rapidly industrialising and developing markets such as the Philippines and Indonesia, e-commerce is growing at around 30% a year. In more mature markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, the growth rate hovers closer to 10%. 58% of all online purchases in the region are made on a mobile device. China dominates the regional e-commerce market. 42% of all e-commerce purchases worldwide take place in China. Southeast Asia looks like it will be the next big arena of competition, with local players squaring off against US and Chinese competitors.
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PPRO Country Insight Australia
A member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Australia is a constitutional monarchy with its capital in the city of Canberra. With a population of just 24.6 million in a country almost the size of Brazil, Australia has one of the world’s lowest population densities. Large areas of the interior are effectively uninhabited.
PPRO Country Insight China
With almost 1.4 billion inhabitants, China is the world’s most populous country. One of the oldest continuous civilizations — China sent ambassadors to the Roman emperor Augustus — the country is home to at least 55 ethnic groups, though over 90% of the population are Han Chinese.
PPRO Country Insight Hong Kong
Handed back to China by the British in 1997, Hong Kong is now an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. With 7.4 million inhabitants, the citystate has a population density of 7,075 persons per square kilometre, making it one of the most crowded cities on Earth.
PPRO Country Insight India
India is a federal republic consisting of 29 states. With 1.3 billion citizens, it’s the world’s second most populous country. The state recognises fourteen official languages, with Hindi (spoken by 44% of the population) and English the official languages of the federal government.
PPRO Country Insight Indonesia
By the middle of 2018, Indonesia’s economy was growing at a rate of 5.3% year on year. The Financial Times quotes Capital Economics as warning against expectations of a sustained recovery (after the global recession, Indonesia’s growth rates peaked at over 6%2), quoting the continued low prices of key commodities, including palm oil.
PPRO Country Insight Japan
Japan is home to 127 million people. Having resisted immigration as a way to ameliorate the impact of its ageing population, Japan is one of the world’s most ethnically homogenous countries. Ethnic Japanese make up over 98% of the population.
PPRO Country Insight New Zealand
A member of the Commonwealth of Nations, New Zealand – also known by its Maori name of Aotearoa – is an English-speaking constitutional monarchy with a population of just under 5 million. Settled by the Maoris in the fourteenth century AD, the country was colonised by the British in the nineteenth century. Today it is an increasingly multicultural and diverse society.