HGC in WeChat pact to pay for telecoms services online

05 December 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Hong Kong-based operator HGC Global Communications has allied itself to Tencent’s messaging, social media and mobile payment operation WeChat so that customers can pay their bills and buy services online.

This is one of several developments in the company since it was bought out by US private equity investor I Squared Capital in 2017, according to CEO Andrew Kwok.

“How can I use the technology to join with the financial industry to look for new business,” Kwok (pictured) told Capacity during the Capacity Asia conference this week in Hong Kong.

“I can access 900 million WeChat users this way. They can pay for Wifi access through their WeChat account.” Kwok is calling this move “techfin”, to contrast with the more common “fintech” term for services for the financial industry. “We can use our technology to participate in and help the financial industry.”

The meeting at Capacity Asia came almost a year since the former Hutchison Global Communications changed its name to HGC Global Communications to mark its change of ownership.

HGC is also pursuing a takeover of Myanmar fixed-line operator GTMH, agreed in August, but is waiting for government approval. Once the deal is complete, “we are going to inject technology, money and people”.

HGC is seeking other deals to follow the planned Myanmar acquisition, Kwok added. “This is only one example, the first. We are going to have more projects that we are looking at.”

The company has also set up the first two of what it calls big data exchanges (BDXs), targeting smaller over-the-top (OTT) operators that Kwok believes will enter the market. “OTTs will come into different market sectors and we are facilitating them. One BDX is in Hong Kong, where HGC is headquartered.