Despite a name that makes it sound like a droid from "Star Wars," 2C2P has grown to be a serious contender in Southeast Asia's burgeoning alternative payments market.
Just over a decade old, 2C2P has been gaining a lot of traction in recent months as it aims to handle online and mobile payments for businesses in Southeast Asia, enabling millions of unbanked consumers there to make purchases more easily. The company already handles 78,000 transactions a day for merchants in Asia Pacific, including Nok Air and Deal.com, and works with major regional banks including United Overseas Bank, Kasikornbank, and TMB Bank in its more conventional role as an international B2B payment processor for credit and debit cards.
Its latest objective is to provide an alternative payments option, called 123, for businesses in Southeast Asia that are opening up more to electronic and mobile commerce.
Initially launched in Thailand, the 123 system connects merchants to locations throughout the country where customers can pay in cash for their electronic purchases. The shopper initiates a purchase online and receives a slip with a bar code that can be printed out or displayed on-screen at a cash acceptance location. 2C2P has a transaction fee similar to major card brands in the region.
Online payment services are complicated by the varying levels of Internet and financial services access in the 10 countries that make up Southeast Asia, says Aung Kyaw Moe, founder and group CEO for 2C2P.
For example, he says, Singapore has nearly full Internet broadband penetration and boasts Internet speeds two to three times faster than the United States. Over 70% of the country's mobile subscribers use Internet-accessing smartphones. But Myanmar has just two million Internet users out of a population of 60 million, and limited mobile Internet access.
"Credit and debit card penetration also varies similarly," Aung says. For example, just 10% of Thai consumers have credit cards and 15% have debit cards, he says. "Due to that, e-commerce retailers cannot fully rely on the credit card processing payment gateway alone."
But despite the challenges, 2C2P is building steam in this complicated payments market. In January, the online payment processor concluded a Series B financing round for $2 million, which it will use for expansion and product development. (2C2P already operates in every Southeast Asian country except Brunei, according to Aung.)
2C2P announced a deal in February to process payments for Burma's first mobile point of sale services with Myanmar Hotels International Group. In April, 2C2P announced a deal to process all global online transactions for Thailand's national airline, Thai Airways.
"Our focus now is to bring our products and services to the countries we've entered recently [and] to secure the home ground and increase service quality and product features in the market we have penetrated strongly," says Aung.
The company processed just over $500 million in online payments last year, and aims to grow its annual transactions by 30% to 50% per year. That might seem small potatoes compared to U.S. rivals like PayPal, which processed $27 billion in mobile payments alone in 2013 and $180 billion total. But the market here is a nascent one, where a company like 2C2P must take a hand in building the infrastructure.