Skybee Plans to Acquire an e-Commerce Company to Push Mobile Money Adoption

2 mins read
October 14, 2013

Indonesian mobile devices and services company Skybee revealed that it is in the process of acquiring an e-commerce company according to a report by IndoTelko. Additionally the company is also pushing Skye Mobile Money as a payment method for mobile consumers after it let go of its majority ownership of Numedia Global, the company behind mig33, this time last year.

Skybee commissioner Kendro Hendra told IndoTelko, “we especially aim for the large consumer market which has a high long term growth potential. The e-commerce sector is in our sights since it will strengthen the ecosystem for Skye Sab Indonesia of which we own 51 percent share”.

The company is reluctant to reveal its acquisition target but the move is clearly designed to assist the adoption of its mobile payment product.

Skybee is looking to extend its partnerships with a number of e-commerce companies in Indonesia to expand the rollout and adoption of Sky Mobile Money, but the plan to acquire an e-commerce company may end up placing Skybee as a direct competitor to its existing and potential partners. No further details are available regarding the acquisition plan.

Mobile payment difficulties and outlook
Unlike the dominance of PayPal and the surging adoption of Square and Dwolla in the United States, the adoption of independent, electronic mobile payment solution has been very slow and very challenging among Indonesian consumers.

In an interview with IndoTelko, President Director of Skye Sab Indonesia, Adriaan S. Djojorahardjo said, “It’s not that [consumers] are reluctant, but more to the fact that they don’t know how to use it. We admit that there needs to be a more aggressive education for mobile money”.

The advantage of mobile money according to Djojorahardjo is the fact that consumers don’t need to carry an additional security token as the system will be integrated with mobile phones.

1 million users by mid next year
Djojorahardjo believes that adoption of mobile money is only a matter of time and that in two years, it will be a common way to pay for electronic transactions.

Skye Sab expects to have one million active users of Skye Mobile Money in 2014 and it plans on achieving that through partnering with institutions and companies.

The rapid adoption of smartphones coupled with a strong push by local mobile phone vendors is expected to drive awareness and demand for the use of a more integrated mobile payment system.

Having partnered with Zalora, Lazada, and the Indonesian e-commerce association, idEA, Skybee hopes to have its mobile money more widely accepted as a payment method across online stores in the country.

Rumah Zakat partnership
Last week the company announced a deal with Rumah Zakat and launched JaMal, a mobile app for BlackBerry OS and Android, to facilitate the annual payment of zakat and infaq for Muslims. The partnership with Rumah Zakat is expected to produce over 72,000 registered Skye users out of Rumah Zakat’s 145,000 donors.

To drive the adoption of the app, the company included a number of more common functions generally offered by banking apps. The app lets consumers purchase electricity tokens, prepaid phone credits, game vouchers, pay TV subscriptions, and other installment payments.

Long road for Skye Mobile Money
Djojodihardjo said that Skye’s existing customers are still primarily on BlackBerry with the rest being on Android, but he expects this ratio to be reversed and the company is currently preparing to roll out a solution for iOS devices.

Skye Mobile Money currently has about 50,000 monthly active users out of 250,000 registered, with the average per person transaction reaching up to IDR 250,000 per month.

Clearly Skybee has a long way to go to have its mobile money widely accepted not just by merchants but by consumers as well. The reluctance of Indonesians to adopt a new payment method is widely understood. With credit card usage not even reaching 10% of the population and growth of mobile and internet banking remains slow, there’s a mountain to climb for Skybee and other independent payment companies to reach widespread relevance.

[Header image from Shutterstock]

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