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Visa chooses Singapore for its first innovation centre in Asia

Visa opens its first innovation centre outside of the US to work with partners and customers to develop payment technology for the Southeast Asian market

Visa opened its first Asian innovation centre in Singapore in April 2016 to support the creation of the next generation of payments software.

The payments company company inaugurated the 7,000ft2 facility in Singapore’s business district.  

Speaking at the inauguration of the centre Jim MacCarthy, executive vice-president of innovation and strategic partnership at Visa, said it will be “a destination for clients, partners and developers across the region to work alongside Visa experts and jointly create the next generation of commerce applications.”

The Singapore innovation centre is the first in a network Visa is opening worldwide.

It follows Visa’s flagship innovation centre in San Francisco, which was opened in July 2014. Additional innovation centres will be opened in other regions later in 2016.

“Sitting at a virtual crossroads of tech and finance, with a smart city at the centre of one of the world’s most diverse and populous regions, Singapore is the ideal place to bring this collaborative approach to life,” said Matt Dill, head of Visa innovation centre in Singapore.

He said Singapore was the most suitable place for founding this centre in Asia because it has a variety of culture with low and high-end retail. This “island sandbox” is a neat set up, he added.

Exposing Visa’s networks to APIs

The innovation centre in Singapore is staffed with designers and developers to facilitate the growth of Visa’s customers in the Asia-Pacific (Apac) region.

“We are not here to push innovation to people, but to solve problems,” said MacCarthy.

The centre in Singapore will operate as a commercial gateway, helping Visa partners to build payment and commerce applications to extend their service offerings into Asia, he said. 

The centre will also engage the growing breed of financial technology (fintech) startups in the region.

It will be accessible to local and global clients and will provide Visa partners access to Visa application porgamming interfaces (APIs) and software developer kits (SDKs) available through the company’s Visa Developer Platform, said TS Anil, head of products at Visa Asia-Pacific.

Singapore an innovation hotbed

Visa’s founding of this centre is also an acknowledgement of Singapore’s status as a growing hub of banking and fintech startups in the region.

According to Accenture, fintech investments globally rose 75% to US$22bn in 2015. In Asia-Pacific, growth more than quadrupled to US$4.3bn, coming mostly from China (US$1.97bn) and India (US$1.6bn). 

“Visa seeks to collaborate with the broader corporate ecosystem in Singapore, including startups,” said Beh Swan Gin, chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

“Visa’s decision is a strong affirmation of Singapore’s growing role as an innovation hotbed in this region.”

In 2015, German logistics giant DHL opened an innovation centre in Singapore. This centre, its first outside Germany, is designed to try out logistics technologies it plans to introduce across its Asian business.

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