Following a brief exchange over Twitter with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the chief executive of a tech company has accepted the challenge to craft a unified e-payment system for Singapore.
Razer chief Tan Min-Liang told The Straits Times yesterday that the company is now working on a proposal for a nationwide e-payment system that it intends to submit to the Prime Minister's Office in the coming weeks.
"We will submit the proposal in the next 14 days or less, and we expect to assemble a team of some of the best payments engineers and experts in Singapore," said Mr Tan.
Mr Lee had tweeted on Sunday ahead of his National Day Rally speech that there were too many e-payment schemes and systems in Singapore, making it inconvenient for consumers and costly for businesses.
Two days later, Mr Tan replied to the tweet, saying he could get such a system up and running in 18 months.
"Say the word and I'll have the e-payment system rolled out nationwide in 18 months. For Singaporeans. By Singaporeans," he wrote.
We will submit the proposal in the next 14 days or less, and we expect to assemble a team of some of the best payments engineers and experts in Singapore.
RAZER CHIEF EXECUTIVE TAN MIN-LIANG, on working on a proposal for a nationwide e-payment system.
We have a dedicated team for virtual credits and e-payments, and the timeframe is based on our extensive experience with creating a global system for virtual credits and e-payments.
MR TAN, who believes the project can be completed within his proposed timeframe.
To that, Mr Lee responded: "Make me a proposal, and I will study it seriously."
Mr Tan said his team started preparing a proposal right after Mr Lee responded on Twitter, and he reiterated his belief that the project can be completed within his proposed timeframe.
"We have a dedicated team for virtual credits and e-payments, and the timeframe is based on our extensive experience with creating a global system for virtual credits and e-payments," said Mr Tan.
Razer recorded revenues of US$392 million (S$534 million) last year and is best known for its line of gaming accessories.
However, in recent years, the United States-registered company has ventured into areas such as professional audio, mobile phones and, most recently, e-payments.
Razer set up its own online currency system, called zGold, in January. Users purchase zGold with cash and can use it to buy Razer accessories or games through Razer's partners, which nets them discounts or gift vouchers after they have spent a certain amount.
Mr Tan did not reveal details about his proposal and it is not yet clear if Razer will simply be another entrant in an already crowded market.
There was also no information on how it intends to tackle some of the challenges of digital payments.
Discussions on e-payments of late have centred on issues like the higher transaction costs and the gap between the time payment is made and received.
Mr Tan said: "We will share more information when we are ready."
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister and Minister-in-charge of Singapore's Smart Nation initiative Vivian Balakrishnan has also reached out to Razer, inviting Mr Tan to meet.
Mr Tan said the fact that PM Lee responded to him on Twitter was a sign of the Government's commitment to technology.
"When Singapore's PM responds on ideas through Twitter, you can be sure they are serious on the Smart Nation initiative," he tweeted yesterday.