Southeast Asian Roundup Includes Big Names: Google, Alibaba, Jack Ma, Mastercard and Visa

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The Asia Pacific region continued this past week to provide evidence of its explosive potential for payments, as Mastercard reshuffled management for the area and a country asked the founder of a global powerhouse payments company to advise it on ecommerce.

Indonesia would like Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma to help it grow an ecommerce market that is attracting global attention from investors. The multi-island nation has the fourth highest population in the world and the fifth-largest internet using population (over 100 million), and has recently committed to a multi-million-dollar project enhancing internet speeds throughout the country by 2019.

A report from Google and Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings said that number should hit 215 million by 2020. The same report says the country’s ecommerce market will be worth $46 billion by 2025, the largest in Southeast Asia. To promote growth in the ecommerce industry, the government is developing a committee of 10 ministers and it is for this body Ma was asked to be an adviser. He has reportedly yet to answer.

Many Indonesians have grown with digital on phones rather than PCs first, and the startups to take advantage of this are many, helped by a commitment to foster development by larger and global tech companies like Mastercard, which committed earlier this year to add 40 million small and micro merchants to electronic payments capabilities by 2020. The brand moved around some executives in the region this past week.

Julienne Loh rose to the role of executive vice president of global products and marketing, Asia Pacific, and will oversee the firm’s regional products and marketing including core products, digital payments and labs, and marketing and communications. She has worked for the brand in the region since 2005 on prepaid, debt and credit and helped launch Masterpass in Singapore, the first Southeast Asian market to do so.

Felix Marx is now executive vice president of services, including loyalty solutions, advisors, enterprise security services and processing in Asia Pacific. Before joining Mastercard in 2014, Marx was president and CEO of mobile solutions company C-Sam, which Mastercard acquired.

Visa has recently made news in Indonesia, as it re-upped its multiyear debit agreement with Mandiri, the largest state-owned bank in the country.

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