BNPL is booming in SE Asia but faces regulations, crowded market


Mirroring global market trends, the buy-now-pay-later or the BNPL model that allows customers to shop for smaller-ticket items on installments is becoming a fast-growing phenomenon in Southeast Asia if deal activity and consumption trends are an indicator.

Earlier this month, Temasek-backed cashback player Shopback announced that it had acquired Singapore-based BNPL startup hoolah for an undisclosed sum.

James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, an investor in ShopBack, said the acquisition [of hoolah] will allow the site to offer bigger-ticket items since consumers are more likely to prefer paying for them in instalments. ShopBack mostly makes money by charging merchants and marketplaces that list on its site commission, with a small sum of revenue coming from advertising. Creating a BNPL department in-house would have been difficult because of the amount of money they would have needed to finance the credit, Tan added.


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