AMTD Digital to buy controlling stake in Singapore fintech FOMO Pay

AMTD Digital is looking to acquire a controlling stake in Singapore-based one-stop Quick Response (QR) code payment aggregator and payment gateway provider FOMO Pay, the two companies announced in a joint statement on Monday.

The deal is subject to approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said FOMO Pay and AMTD Digital, the digital solutions platform of Hong Kong-based financial institution and Singapore digital-bank hopeful AMTD Group.

This will be AMTD Digital’s third controlling-stake acquisition in Singapore’s fintech industry recently, following its acquisitions of PolicyPal and CapBridge in June.

The FOMO Pay deal will reinforce AMTD Digital’s strategic expansion in South-east Asia out of the latter's global headquarters in Singapore, both companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

Singapore-headquartered AMTD Digital plans to acquire the controlling stake via its "fusion-in" programme, which involves using a combination of share swap and cash for investment.

The proposed acquisition reflects AMTD Group's strategy of integrating innovative companies into its SpiderNet ecosystem, and its ambition to build out its one-stop cross-market intelligent digital financial services platform.

After the acquisition, FOMO Pay will become a key member company within AMTD Digital, adding the "rapidly growing" payment function to the latter's digital financial services, and enhancing the layout for AMTD Digital’s fintech platform across South-east Asia.

FOMO Pay allows merchants to accept a suite of digital payment methods in Singapore and Malaysia, including WeChat Pay, NETSPay, mVISA, Grab Pay and Singtel Dash.

Its largest customers include Singapore Press Holdings, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Airlines, Resorts World Sentosa and Changi Airport.

In April, the fintech collaborated with OCBC Bank (Malaysia) to develop an application for Malaysia’s first cross-border QR code collection service. This allows account holders of participating banks under Singapore’s PayNow system to make Singapore dollar payments to eligible merchants in Malaysia via direct QR code payment. Prior to this, QR code payments in Malaysia could only be done for local ringgit currency transactions.

FOMO Pay plans to scale its technology to other South-east Asian countries, to promote cashless payments and financial inclusion.

Calvin Choi, AMTD Group chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) as well as AMTD Digital's chairman, said the group sees "tremendous potential" in FOMO Pay’s payment business growth in Singapore and the rest of South-east Asia.

Mr Choi added that the group will be able to provide a "one-stop user journey" to its customers, thanks to FOMO Pay’s capability to offer diversified digital payment solutions through other digital finance platforms and products offered by other AMTD subsidiaries or ecosystem partners.

Meanwhile, FOMO Pay CEO and co-founder Louis Liu said that joining AMTD Digital will strengthen the startup's credibility and liquidity to facilitate higher requirements on handling cross-regional payments by international clients.

FOMO Pay will also benefit from AMTD’s connectivity and network in the Greater Bay Area, mainland China and South-east Asia, as well as the group's experience in financial operation and licence application, Mr Liu added.

The fintech has established cooperation with EMQ, a digital remittance company that is also part of AMTD's SpiderNet ecosystem.

Mr Liu said that FOMO Pay will leverage AMTD’s extensive digital licensed businesses portfolio to "accelerate innovation and provide corporates and merchants with a full value chain product suite".