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An e-wallet for Malaysia: Secured agility for fast business pivots

When asked about Alibaba Cloud’s mission in Malaysia, Jordy Cao, General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Malaysia, disclosed that Alibaba Cloud is aligned with the nation’s goal and master plan to promote cloud adoption and accelerate Malaysia’s digital economy.

JJordy Cao

He went on to share that Alibaba Cloud has been working closely with local financial institutions in helping them migrate and run their applications on cloud and manage security risks and compliance efficiently.

One such financial institution is Touch ‘n Go Digital Sdn Bhd (TNG Digital). In line with the national agenda of transforming Malaysia into a cashless society, TNG Digital has the mission and vision for its electronic payment platform, Touch ‘n Go eWallet (TNG eWallet) to be the eWallet in Malaysia.

As TNG Digital’s CEO, Ignatius Ong, explained, “Our end game in the long run has always been about making TNG eWallet a superapp. A lifestyle app for users to do more than just make payments, but to invest, to save and to even borrow money.”

A thriving ecosystem

In this ecosystem playground, if any eWallet wishes to be the biggest in Malaysia, it has to be a part of the national agenda to help drive the country towards a cashless society.

The total population is approximately 33 million while eWallet’s current user base is at 10.5 million. So realistically, an e-wallet player can address around 20 million. In many ways, these figures serve as the driving force behind the task of getting as many Malaysians onboard as possible.

“That’s why I am happy. We are still growing. And we are definitely going to look into getting at least 75% if not 100% of the addressable population,” Ignatius continued.

Being a cloud solution provider, Alibaba Cloud is the best fit for the job of powering a growing and evolving player like TNG eWallet. As Jordy pointed out, “Currently, our 2 data centres in Malaysia enable us to address the data residency requirements and curb any data latency issues. Most importantly, it helps with the business continuity plans of our customers.”

With regards to Alibaba Cloud’s local data centre infrastructure, Ignatius said, “We are assured the platform behind us is scalable.That aside, Alibaba Group also has a wealth of experience, expertise and best practices from operating the world’s largest e-wallet, for us to draw upon.”

Lin En Shu, Head of Solutions Architect at Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Malaysia, commented, “The fintech industry has been booming in Malaysia since a few years ago. Apart from security and compliance, the other top priorities for fintech players are speed- to-market and scalability while ensuring high availability of services, because they need to capture the market in the shortest possible time.

“Security is always our highest priority and we offer tools and products to our customers to secure their data, whether it is in transit or at rest,” he said. He went on to highlight that Alibaba Cloud is ranked high in an analyst report of cloud native security capabilities of cloud service providers. To which, Jordy also added that the domestically located Anti-DDoS scrubbing centre helps to mitigate cyber risks. In his words, “This offers customers the highest level of cloud protection against strong DDoS attacks.”

The cashless agenda

An acid test came earlier this year in the form of the E-Tunai Rakyat (ETR) campaign. “We launched perhaps one of our biggest campaigns in collaboration with the government. There were a couple of objectives; one to stimulate the economy and the other  to do with the cashless society agenda,” Ignatius described.

The government was seeking a way that was transparent, quick, seamless and high in integrity to distribute a certain amount of money to the rakyat. And from the comfort of their own homes with just a smartphone, Malaysians could register themselves onto an e-wallet platform via e-KYC and submit a claim to collect RM30.

“We did it really, really well. This is the first time we’ve done it and it was a huge success,” Ignatius said, adding that TNG eWallet had commanded 70% of the total claimants.

For other fintech customers, En Shu explained that they can build their fintech solution using Alibaba Cloud Kubernetes service to improve speed-to-market, achieve extreme scalability as well as high availability, by leveraging on their 2 data centres in Malaysia. To prioritise speed-to-market, a fintech player needs to frequently release new features as a means of preventing their service from suffering downtime. “To overcome this challenge, our Kubernetes container service offers a feature called blue green deployment which can help customers smoothly transition from an old version of application to a new one and mitigate the downtime risk,” En Shu also said.

Resonated with grassroots of Malaysia

Ignatius attributed the success of the ETR campaign to its diverse merchant base. With TNG eWallet, Malaysians were confident that it would be supported at most of the shops or merchants they go to.

“We started in Q4 of last year and by now, we already have SMEs and micro-SMEs with us – the person who sells you nasi lemak by the roadside, the food truck operator and the likes. They are the ones who touch the lives of a typical Malaysian almost every hour. And this is what appeals to Malaysians, leading them to embrace TNG eWallet as they know they could electronically pay at a wide range of merchants. So we wanted to make sure that the acceptance of our eWallet is present in this space as well.

Another trial by fire occurred when the MCO was announced. Ignatius mentioned that their business focus pivoted quite a bit, from capturing merchants with physical locations to focusing on online merchants.

“We quickly shifted our business focus and worked very, very closely at the back-end with Alibaba Cloud to integrate with more online portals.”

This proved to be a strategic move as more Malaysians found themselves using cashless payment methods during the MCO. Online grocery shopping and online food orders also proved to be the go-to for Malaysians adhering to stay-at-home orders.

All these meant one thing – TNG eWallet managed to meet the requirements of a typical Malaysian, across every segment of the population all the way up to the T20 category.

Ignatius emphasised, “I believe the partnership we have formed and forged with Alibaba Cloud is one that is beneficial. We want to ensure that whatever we roll out and do, including all the products and services we have in our app is something everyone can participate. That is how we can become the eWallet for the rakyat!”

And at the heart of all these services to the rakyat is a highly available and scalable infrastructure powered by Alibaba Cloud. What’s more when Alibaba Cloud is ready to support customers from the financial sector by meeting Bank Negara’s compliance requirements at every step of the cloud adoption process, as assured by Jordy.

Learn more about Alibaba Cloud FinTech Support and solutions here