Sunway Tech to list in Beijing in September

Ms Tay with her husband, Mr Chew, and their son Ken. Ms Tay, who started Primefield to sell WordPerfect and PCs, also started a digital kiosk business in China.
Ms Tay with her husband, Mr Chew, and their son Ken. Ms Tay, who started Primefield to sell WordPerfect and PCs, also started a digital kiosk business in China.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

China-based firm set up by S'porean provides self-service kiosks for online bill payments

Singaporean entrepreneur Florence Tay is listing her China-based financial technology firm Sunway Technologies on the Beijing stock market in September.

It is expected to be the first Chinese company founded by a Singaporean to be listed there.

Ms Tay and Sunway co-founder and chairman Chew Tiong Sim, who is her husband, and their son Ken Chew, the firm's chief executive, are all based in China.

They hope to raise $20 million on Beijing's National Equities Exchange and Quotations bourse to fund expansion throughout China and South-east Asia.

Founded in 2006, Sunway provides self-service kiosks for consumers to make online payments for mobile phone usage and e-shopping bills, insurance premiums, fund transfers, loan repayments and other financial transactions.

It has around 80 customers, including household names like China Citic Bank, Ping An Insurance, China Union Pay, China Mobile and China Unicom.

READY TO ROLL

We've partners already lined up in South-east Asia.

MR KEN CHEW, chief executive of financial technology firm Sunway Technologies, saying expansion to South-east Asiais also on the cards

Sunway also sells its kiosks to other companies where they are used as self-service terminals, and licenses its software for use in automated teller machines and mobile devices.

Ms Tay, who is Sunway's executive director, told The Straits Times during a recent interview in Singapore that the Sunway service reaches about 20,000 terminals in China.

"We've more than five million users. Last year, we had a transaction volume of $1.7 billion. Sunway gets a cut out of every transaction. Our revenue last year was $5.5 million," she said.

Mr Ken Chew said funds raised from the listing will be used to expand Sunway throughout China.

Also on the cards is expansion to South-east Asia, where online transactions and e-commerce are exploding, he added. "We've partners already lined up in South-east Asia."

Ms Tay is one of the earliest tech entrepreneurs in Singapore, having started various businesses in the 1980s and 1990s.

She was the distributor for word-processing software WordPerfect and her companies Primefield and Landmark sold PCs and developed software for multinationals and local companies.

She also started AXS in 1999 with co-founder Joey Chang as an electronic delivery network for people to buy tickets and pay utility bills. AXS was acquired by DBS Bank in 2006.

Mr Ken Chew said AXS let Sunway "get its foot through the door" at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. "The Beijing officials came to see us a few years earlier because they knew of the AXS business," he added.

Beijing expected about one million visitors during the Olympics and needed self-service kiosks for people to get news and event information, as well as tickets.

By the time the Olympics opened in August 2008, Sunway had 300 self-service kiosks in Beijing.

"After the Olympics, we saw the rise of China Union Pay. We're one of their first few foreign partners. They run our payment platform based on our software called Sunnet," said Mr Chew.

At that time, Chinese people accessed the Internet at their offices or on kiosks in public libraries, he added.

Sunway's kiosks filled the gap, making it convenient for people to access the Internet for bill payments and other services.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2016, with the headline 'Sunway Tech to list in Beijing in September'. Print Edition | Subscribe