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Hiring rapidly, U.S fintech startup Stripe plots Asia expansion

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - U.S. digital payments company Stripe plans to expand across Asia, including in Southeast Asia, Japan, China and India, after boosting its staff in the region by 40% to more than 200 people this year, a senior executive told Reuters.

The decade-old San Francisco-based startup, which set up regional headquarters in Singapore a couple of years ago, has also launched earlier in 2020 a pilot project in Indonesia enabling interbank transfers for businesses.

Noah Pepper, the company’s business head for Asia Pacific, said Stripe, which counts Amazon as a client, was rapidly adding engineers in the region. Based on job postings on Linkedin, Stripe is seeking people with experience in Southeast Asia, Japan, and China.

“APAC is not just the world’s fastest growing market, but it’s such a fragmented market ... with different laws, languages, currencies, and in some cases currency controls,” said Pepper, adding that Stripe was working to adapt to each country’s laws and preferred payment methods.

The company offers products that allow merchants to accept digital payments from customers and a range of business banking services. It raised money in April at a valuation of $36 billion, and may now be worth twice that, Bloomberg reported.

In Japan, Pepper said the company was winning over merchants by cutting payments processing time from weeks to days.

Pepper declined to give details about the size of its business in Japan, but said the company was preparing to launch a service to enable “konbini” payments for merchants - a payment method where shoppers buy online but pay cash at convenience stores.

Analysts pointed to the difficulties Stripe may face in terms of varying regulations across Asia.

“Stripe’s first challenge is that to be able to execute every market (in Asia) they need to have a very localised strategy and compete against strong local players” said Zennon Kapron, director at consultancy Kapronasia.

Reporting by Fanny Potkin; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh and Jane Merriman

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