Soft-World begins 3rd-party online payment development

By Kathryn Chiu,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — As the government expedites the relaxation of regulations over third-party online payment methods, Soft-World International Corp. on Monday commenced in-house testing of a platform that is set to provide third-party online payment, with the service slated for launch in the fourth quarter. Soft-World International (智冠科技) yesterday launched a third-party online payment platform in Taipei. The English name for Soft-World International’s third-party online payment platform is yet to be named.

Soft-World Chairman Wang Junbo (王俊博) said that the company’s newly established third-party online payment platform will provide a more reliable online trading mechanism. Soft-World International’s slated third-party online payment mechanism will offer cross-border payment services through which overseas buyers can access local goods or products while local customers can order goods or products from overseas, Wang Junbo added. Based on their current “MyCard” payment platform — which has been limited to transactions for their own company’s products — Soft-World International’s new third-party platform will expand transaction services to include a more diversified range of products, notably those from third parties, Wang said. The company will also partner with other firms, including online shopping platforms.

Soft-World International’s current “MyCard” system covers payment channels in several Asian markets, notably the Greater China Region, and now has 5 million transactions per month for well over 1,500 digital products. Soft-World International’s third-party online payment is now undergoing in-house testing and is slated to begin in the fourth quarter. The Cabinet earlier approved eased restrictions on third-party online payment methods, enabling local service providers — banking or otherwise — to develop payment services using stored value cards. A government official said last week that Article 14 of the Act Governing Issuance of Electronic Stored Value Cards announced in 2009 has offered reasonable grounds for ending restrictions in late August. The official noted however that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) has instructed the Economic Affairs Ministry and financial regulators to still devise a set of management guidelines for e-commerce and third-party payment services by the end of this year. Figures by the Institute of Information Industry (資訊工業策進會) show that the bricks-and-mortar retail market has grown by less than 10 percent per year since 2006 while the online shopping market has been growing by more than 20 percent per year since 2008. In China, payment channeled through third-party online payment providers topped 1 trillion yuan in 2010, and mainland-based research firm Research International expected the figures to exceed 10 trillion yuan as early as 2015. Given booming online shopping in China, Taiwan’s fledging third-party online payment platforms seem to face a promising future. The Financial Supervisory Commission has only given the go-ahead to Chinatrust Commercial Bank, E. Sun Commercial Bank, First Commercial Bank and Bank SinoPac. However, only First Commercial Bank and E. Sun Commercial Bank have actually rolled out third-party online payment platforms so far.