PayPal to double APAC employees

update Online payment platform plans to add 1,000 new jobs across Asia-Pacific offices, and unveils partnerships with Singapore bank and China bankcard association.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

update SINGAPORE--PayPal plans to double its employees in the Asia-Pacific region from the current number of 1,000 to 2,000 by the end of the year, company executives said at a briefing here Wednesday.

PayPal said new jobs will be located at all seven offices in the region, including Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. Singapore, the company's international headquarters, alone will see at least 100 new jobs this year.

Speaking at the event, PayPal President Scott Thompson said e-commerce in Asia will reach US$320 billion by the end of 2012. "The future of money lives on any platform--mobile phones, laptops, and even technology that had not even been invented yet," he said.

The company also inked two new partnerships in the region with local bank DBS Bank, and China's bankcard association, China UnionPay, Thompson said.

Starting mid-2010, customers from DBS and its subsidiary POSB Bank will be able to pay directly from their bank accounts to their PayPal accounts through Internet banking. DBS and POSB customers make up 90 percent of Singapore's bank account holders.

Farhad Irani, vice president of PayPal Asia-Pacific, said the partnership will benefit customers as PayPal has "transparent" currency conversion rates and a host of policies aimed at protecting consumer rights.

Rajan Raju, group executive and head of the consumer banking group at DBS, said its customers will have more choices when making online payments, as well as have an enhanced online shopping experience as some merchant networks only accept payment through PayPal.

The China UnionPay partnership will kick off in the third quarter of 2010, where its 2.1 billion card members will be able to use PayPal to shop online.

Thompson said: "After years of being an export hub, China is now open to global online merchants. With Chinese consumers' growth in disposable income, PayPal sees a tremendous business opportunity [in the country]."

The company said it had processed over US$6 billion of total payment volume in the Asia-Pacific region last year, an increase of 38 percent from 2008. Cross-borders transactions now accounts for approximately 25 percent of the company's total payment volume.

Asked whether PayPal sees Google's online payment platform, Checkout, as a threat, Anjul Nayar, PayPal director of global communications, said it is easy to build and announce a payment platform, but would require more effort to build a critical mass and provide protection for users. This is an advantage PayPal has by being an early market mover, Nayar said.

PayPal also announced its mobile payment software development kit, which will be available to developers in the region from next quarter. With the kit, developers will be able to add a checkout button to accept mobile payments without collecting financial information from customers.

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