PingPong: The Blue Ocean of Cross-Border Transaction Payment
COVID-19 and China

Pingpong is a payment facilitator in cross-country e-commerce business rooted in China. Founded in 2015, Pingpong has become one of the largest payment facilitators in the cross-border e-commerce business. In September 2018, Pingpong closed its series B funding in amount of CNY 700 million (USD 103 million). According to CMO LU Shuai(卢帅)’s speech on announcement, funding raised in series B would be used in Seller OS system’s R&D and global-wide marketing.

From 2015, Pingpong acquired payment-facilitator-related financial qualifications in the U.S., Japan and Europe in order. Besides qualifications, Pingpong has built cooperative relationships with e-commerce platform giants like Amazon, Wish and Newegg. Pingpong serves sellers with its one-stop solution in cross-border transactions such as general payments, VAT payments, supplier payment, and others. The rise of Pingpong and alike payment facilitators is considerably attributed to economy globalization and China’s One Belt One Road policy’s encouragement.

In 2017, the e-commerce GMV recognized CNY 1,600 billion. To explain further, the GMV through third party payment facilitator reached CNY 320 billion (USD 47 million) from 1.26 billion transactions, which increased 114.7% compared with the year of 2016.  Cross-border commercial activities are continuously increasing at the peak level. Based on China and other developing countries’ economy potential growth, the cross-border transaction services are yet to be mature. Due to different currency laws, restrictions and even time zone gap, the closure time spent in cross-border transactions might span from 10 to 20 business days. For time-sensitive business, especially for those strongly relying on currency exchanging rate, the time span puts the business in a disadvantage. Beyond, the lagging in transaction hinders the satisfaction of both parties involved in cross-border business like product returns, exchange and other services.

Cross-border payment facilitators come up to solve problems occurred in the transaction process when banks and related institutes are unable to be involved. For most payment facilitators, the actual transaction time is shortened to 1-4 business days, the cash advance time is shrunk to 1-2 business days, and the transaction fee is controlled within 1- 1.2% depending on the actual payment facilitator. Pingpong’s transaction rate is 1% and employs China Central Bank Real-Time Exchange rate, while its biggest competitor in China is iPayLinks, whose transaction rate is no-higher than 0.7%. iPayLinks mainly serves for cross-border internet companies and provides integrated solution depending on the company’s industry but currency can only be settled in USD or EUR. Whilst, Pingpong can settle currency in EUR, USD, GBP, and JPY. By far, Pingpong’s daily commercial transaction volume’s peak is over CNY 300 million (USD 44 million) and the aggregated cash withdrawals reached 1 million transactions. By serving over 250,000 China’s enterprises, Pingpong has become the No.1 in customer size in China.

Along with the intensified globalization, the payment facilitators are playing an important role in connection international currency communications. Whether Pingpong or iPayLinks, the battleground is a blue ocean and the head-to-head time might not be far away.

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