Thunes, a Singapore-based cross-border payments firm, announced Thursday its plans to significantly accelerate the expansion of its operations in Greater China, spanning mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau.

This news follows the recent appointment of Daphne Huang, Senior Vice President (SVP) for Greater China, who will leverage her deep market expertise to spearhead Thunes’ growth strategy.

Taking into consideration China’s flourishing digital economy, Thunes will intensify its focus on building local partnerships with local digital payment leaders to enable businesses and consumers to make faster and cheaper payments to and from China, supporting business payments, global collections, and virtual accounts setup, Thunes said in a statement.

Thunes will also expand its China team, tripling its total headcount in the next 12 months and localising all major functions to ensure better customer service and quality of support.

The company will also pilot its virtual account service to connect China-based payment service providers to Indonesia ecommerce buyers.

The ability to issue virtual bank accounts makes it significantly easier for Chinese cross-border sellers to join Southeast Asia marketplaces, and allow them to receive money in their local currency from buyers via local bank transfers.

Thunes’ goal is to make the cross-border payments experience as easy as making a local payment.

China’s cross-border ecommerce exports surged 46.5 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021 to 419.5 billion yuan ($63.83 billion). At the same time more Chinese merchants and factories are tapping ecommerce platforms to sell directly to consumers, rather than going through traditional retail or supply chain models.

In a survey in 2020, more than 40 percent of Chinese cross-border ecommerce companies showed their business on Amazon and Alibaba / AliExpress, with Shopee and Lazada increasingly used by merchants targeting Southeast Asian markets.

In January 2021, it was estimated that 75 percent of new sellers in Amazon’s top four core markets – United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan – were based in China. This marks a significant increase from 47 percent in the previous year. And overall, 38 percent of the top sellers on Amazon in those core markets are based in China.

“This is an exciting moment for me personally and for Thunes as a company, as we plan to dramatically expand our presence in Greater China. China’s strong standing in digital payments and ecommerce makes it only natural for Thunes to come in and provide the payments infrastructure connecting this dynamic market with the rest of the world,

“We look forward to forging strong partnerships with Chinese Financial Institutions and integrating ourselves into the local financial community, and are committed to strong, stable, and reliable operations in this crucial market,” said Daphne Huang, SVP for Greater China, Thunes.

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