Singapore

Tech company Razer to submit proposal for unified e-payment scheme

Tech company Razer says it will submit proposal for unified e-payment scheme in two weeks

Following a brief exchange over Twitter with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the chief executive of a tech company has accepted the challenge to craft a unified e-payment system for Singapore.

Razer chief Tan Min-Liang told The Straits Times yesterday that the company is working on a proposal for a nationwide e-payment system that it intends to submit to the Prime Minister's Office in the coming weeks.

"We will submit the proposal in the next 14 days or less, and we expect to assemble a team of some of the best payment engineers and experts in Singapore," said Mr Tan.

Mr Lee had tweeted last Sunday at the National Day Rally that there were too many e-payment systems here, making it inconvenient for consumers and costly for businesses.

Two days later, Mr Tan tweeted a reply: "Say the word and I will have the e-payment system rolled out nationwide in 18 months."

To that, Mr Lee responded: "Make me a proposal, and I will study it seriously."

Mr Tan said his team started preparing a proposal right after Mr Lee responded on Twitter, and he reiterated his belief that the project can be completed within his proposed time-frame.

"We have a dedicated team for virtual credits and e-payments, and the time-frame is based on our extensive experience in creating a global system for virtual credits and e-payments," said Mr Tan.

Razer recorded revenues of US$392 million (S$534 million) last year, and is best known for its line of gaming accessories.

..We expect to assemble a team of some of the best payment engineers and experts in Singapore. Razer chief Tan Min-Liang

However, in recent years, the United States-registered company has ventured into areas such as professional audio, mobile phones and, most recently, e-payments.

Razer set up its own online currency system, called zGold, in January.

Users purchase zGold with cash and can use it to buy Razer accessories or games through Razer's partners, which nets them discounts or gift vouchers after they have spent a certain amount.

Mr Tan did not reveal details of his proposal, and it is not yet clear if Razer will simply be another entrant in an already crowded market.

There was also no information about how it intends to tackle some of the challenges of digital payments.

Discussions on e-payments of late have centred on issues such as higher transaction costs and the gap between the time payment is made and received.

Mr Tan said: "We will share more information when we are ready."

Mr Tan said the fact that Mr Lee responded to him on Twitter was a sign of the Government's commitment to technology.

SERIOUS

"When Singapore's PM responds on ideas through Twitter, you can be sure they are serious on the Smart Nation initiative," he tweeted yesterday.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister and Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative Vivian Balakrishnan has also reached out to Razer, inviting Mr Tan to meet when he is back in Singapore.

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