Leading fintech-as-a-service provider, Soft Space Sdn Bhd (“Soft Space”), JCB International Co., Ltd.(“JCBI”), the international operations subsidiary of JCB Co., Ltd., Japan’s leading international payment brand, and Hong Leong Bank (“HLB”) have joined forces to actively drive JCB Card acceptance in Malaysia, bolstered by strong post pandemic economy recovery prospects.
As the Malaysian economy continues to grow positively in 2023, tourism has emerged as one of the brightest sectors spearheading the recovery process, with Japan listed as one of the top 10 contributors to tourist arrivals and spending in Malaysia. Malaysia targets to welcome 16.1 million international tourist arrivals and generate RM49.2 billion (US$10.89 billion) in tourist receipts in 2023.
To capitalise on this bright recovery prospect, Soft Space and JCBI recently signed an agreement to enable Soft Space to work with local acquirers, such as HLB, to promote JCB Card acceptance in Malaysia. Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara, a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, is one of HLB’s merchants that has begun accepting JCB Card payments.
“As Japanese tourist arrivals in Malaysia begin to ramp up again, we are pleased to be able to enable and promote cross-border payments between Japan and Malaysia via our partners,” said Joel Tay, Chief Executive Officer of Soft Space. “This merely represents a first step in our ambition to roll out similar agreements in Southeast Asia, boosting JCB Card acceptance and riding on the wave of increasing contactless card payments in the region.”
“We decided to expand the collaboration with another global leader who shares similar values in enhancing user experience through state-of-the-art technological application,” said Yoshiki Kaneko, President and Chief Executive Officer of JCB International Co., Ltd.
“Malaysia has been an important destination country for our card members across the regions. Establishing a partnership with HLB is a huge step forward for the expansion of JCB acceptance network in Malaysia. We can now better serve JCB Card members coming to Malaysia not only from Japan, but also from the ASEAN region where we have more than 10 million card members. I am especially delighted as this achievement has been brought via a unique tripartite collaboration including Soft Space. Leveraging on today’s success, we are further strengthening our presence in the entire ASEAN region through this partnership with Soft Space.”
According to Andrew Jong, Managing Director of Personal Financial Services at HLB, this partnership with JCB and Soft Space signifies the Bank’s commitment to providing financial products and services that are centred around the needs of both its merchants and their customers.
“With an influx of tourists and expats coming from Japan into Malaysia, the option to accept JCB Cards will ensure convenience for its cardholders and provide businesses with an additional opportunity to capture more tourists and grow their business. This partnership will enable us to serve the customers who are increasingly going cashless as well as help our merchants increase their sales and customer transaction value.”
The agreement showcases the partnership progress between JCB and Soft Space since the former investment in the fintech in January 2022. This includes a series of business collaborations that are aimed at leveraging on Soft Space’s fintech-as-a-service business model, technology and regulatory knowhow, and JCB’s global recognition, vast alliances and brand reach.
The promotion of JCB Card acceptance in Malaysia also signals the expansion of its merchant network, the establishment of card issuing solutions, and the provision of customer marketing solutions in Malaysia, and later in Southeast Asia.