Japan’s JCB injects $5M in Malaysian fintech firm Soft Space

(ASEAN Startups) Malaysian fintech player Soft Space Sdn Bhd announced Thursday a new strategic partnership with Japanese international payment brand, JCB Co. Ltd.

Japan’s JCB injects $5M in Malaysian fintech firm Soft Space

This strategic partnership is the first of its kind in Malaysia for the payment giant, Soft Space said in a statement, adding that it involves a combination of $5 million investment in Soft Space and a series of business collaborations that are aimed at capitalizing on Soft Space’s fintech-as-a-service business model, technology and regulatory know-how, and JCB’s global recognition, vast alliances, and brand reach.

This is part of the first tranche of funding on the horizon for Soft Space with other investments to follow in the future.

The partnership also demonstrates the confidence JCB has in Soft Space’s management, technology portfolio, and execution strategy in today’s highly competitive fintech industry.

JCB owns and operates one of the largest payment schemes in Japan supporting about 37 million merchants and 140 million cardmembers around the world, by capitalizing on Asia’s economic growth. Backed by these assets, JCB has the vision to become “Asia’s leading payment brand” and will expand the brand globally by leveraging its strength in Asia – especially in Southeast Asia (SEA) – to become a competitive brand preferred by Japanese and international cardmembers.

To this end, JCB has targeted SEA as a strategic business enhancement region and has established its ASEAN Business Enhancement and Creation Department in Singapore last June to seek business opportunities within the region. This will serve as a template for further strategic alliances and investments within the region.

The strategic partnership with Soft Space also aims to harness synergies between the two parties and includes the expansion of JCB’s merchant network, the establishment of card issuing solutions, and the provision of customer marketing solutions.

Other collaborative areas include but are not limited to, enhanced merchant acceptance, mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), and transit; payment gateways; cards-as-a-service (CaaS); white label services, API platform services, and technical support services.

Both Soft Space and JCB are committed to accelerating cashless payment both in Malaysia and SEA by utilizing competitive and advanced fintech technologies, thereby establishing a link between Japanese consumers to SEA.

“I am honored to announce this investment and collaboration agreement. I believe this is not just an investment, but the first step towards realizing the boundless possibility with Soft Space,” said Yoshiki Kaneko, President and Chief Operating Officer of JCB International Co. Ltd.

“We are capitalizing on this opportunity to expand and secure our business in SEA by utilizing Soft Space’s cutting-edge technology and robust network with the financial institutions. We are confident that this collaboration will go beyond Malaysia and expand across the globe,” he said.

JCB is a major global payment brand and a credit card issuer and acquirer in Japan. It launched its card business in Japan in 1961 and began expanding worldwide in 1981.

As part of its international growth strategy, JCB has formed alliances with hundreds of leading banks and financial institutions globally to increase its merchant coverage and cardmember base. As a comprehensive payment solution provider, JCB commits to providing responsive and high-quality service and products to all customers worldwide.

“We are humbled by this investment by JCB. Being JCB’s first investee in Malaysia assures us that we are on track to develop financial solutions that will fortify payment acceptance between Japan and SEA, and benefit both regions when borders open up again. This bridge between our regions will also serve as a roadmap for us to enter other regions globally in the future” said Joel Tay, Chief Executive Officer of Soft Space.

Founded in 2012, Soft Space is a SoftPOS player headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The startup simplifies the complexity of financial infrastructure and creates value-added features for businesses to expand their business growth.

With over 30 financial institutions across 10 countries adopting its payment solutions, Soft Space is supported by MDEC’s Global Acceleration and Innovation Network (GAIN) program and received financial support through MIDA’s Domestic Investment Strategic Fund in 2012.

Today, Soft Space has an expansive range of product offerings that span white-label e-wallet solutions to its flagship Tap to Phone technology, which is the world’s first SoftPOS solution to support secure PIN entry. The solution has received endorsements from major card schemes such as Visa, UnionPay International, Mastercard, and Malaysia’s MyDebit, and has been deployed in some of the largest financial service institutions and corporate enterprises in the Middle East, North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific.

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