Huawei ties up with Worl­dRemit in Africa

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - Loni Prinsloo

HUAWEI Tech­nolo­gies yes­ter­day said that it would part­ner with Bri­tish money-trans­fer op­er­a­tor Worl­dRemit to en­able African ex­pa­tri­ates to send cash home to more than 100 mil­lion users of the Chi­nese com­pany’s mo­bile-money ser­vice plat­form.

The deal will let Huawei and Worl­dRemit tap into grow­ing de­mand for money trans­fers from Africans liv­ing abroad us­ing mo­bile-pay­ments ser­vices, which are pop­u­lar in places where banks are scarce or un­re­li­able. All car­ri­ers that are Huawei partners will be able to use the ser­vice, the two com­pa­nies said.

As ba­sic phone calls and text mes­sages have be­come less prof­itable, wire­less op­er­a­tors in Africa and else­where are turn­ing to ser­vices such as bank­ing to boost sales and keep cus­tomers loyal. Ac­cord­ing to Worl­dRemit, sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa re­mains the most ex­pen­sive re­gion in the world to send money to and aside from bring­ing down the costs, dig­i­tal pay­ments also elim­i­nate the need for the sender to travel to an agent to send funds back to fam­ily or friends.

“In­ter­na­tional re­mit­tance is a very im­por­tant mo­bile-money ser­vice in Africa, and our part­ner­ship with Worl­dRemit will bring the ser­vice di­rectly to Huawei’s cus­tomers across the con­ti­nent,” David Chen, Huawei’s vice pres­i­dent for south­ern Africa, said.

By ac­cess­ing Worl­dRemit’s site on any de­vice, cus­tomers can send money over­seas from bank ac­counts or us­ing debit and credit cards.

For ex­am­ple, us­ing Worl­dRemit’s ser­vice to send £500 (R8 634) from the UK to Tan­za­nia costs £12.99.

Huawei’s mo­bile-money ser­vices plat­form de­liv­ers ba­sic bank­ing trans­ac­tions in devel­op­ing coun­tries us­ing tech­nol­ogy that works on smart­phones as well as reg­u­lar hand­sets.

Since 2011, the num­ber of peo­ple us­ing dig­i­tal cash on smart­phones to col­lect wages and pay bills has jumped five­fold to more than 500 mil­lion ac­counts in al­most 100 na­tions, ac­cord­ing to GSMA, a Lon­don-based trade group.

Worl­dRemit founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive Is­mail Ahmed said in April that he ex­pects rev­enues from trans­ac­tions in­volv­ing Africans to dou­ble by 2020 and that the com­pany will open a re­gional of­fice in South Africa later this year. – Bloomberg

PHOTO: AP

Sales rep­re­sen­ta­tives at a Huawei shop in Beijing.

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