Japan-based financial technology (fintech) firm Digital Wallet Corporation (DWC) announced that it has acquired Speed Money Transfer Philippines (SMTP), a foreign exchange and remittance company based in Manila, for an undisclosed amount.
The Japanese firm said it has already received the approval from the Philippines central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, for the acquisition and for the renaming of SMTP, which operates in the Philippines and Australia, to Digital Wallet Philippines.
DWC said the newly acquired firm is expected to contribute to its Digital Wallet Project, a global money transfer and investment wallet which aims to give customers access to Asian investment projects.
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The fintech firm is also poised to expand Smiles Mobile Remittance (Smiles), its mobile wallet technology, through Digital Wallet Philippines. Smiles allows customers to receive and transfer funds, both domestically and internationally, at any time through the Smiles mobile phone application.
In Japan, Smiles has gained a loyal customer base among migrant Filipinos working in the country since it launched in 2017.
Eiji Miyakawa, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Digital Wallet Corporation, explained that the acquisition of SMTP is the first step in its global expansion strategy to deploy Smiles to Asia and Europe.
“As we continue to expand our global services and footprint, my vision is for Digital Wallet Philippines to fast-track our growth in the market and to grow the team to 3 to 5 times its size by 2020,” Miyakawa said.
The Philippines is the fourth-highest remittance recipient globally in 2018, according to data from the World Bank. Last year, the country registered remittance amounting to $34 billion. For August alone, total remittances into the Philippines reached $2.59 billion.
Bulk of the remittance, however, was made through banks even as majority of adults in the Philippines are unbanked or underbanked.
Miyakawa said DigitalWallet Philippines aims to allow unbanked customers to benefit from financial services such as remittance, foreign exchange, and payments through their mobile devices.
“In the future, we aim to provide them access to investment projects in the Philippines through the Digital Wallet Project, offering such opportunities which would previously not have been possible,” he said.