Computop, partnering with hybris, the most prestigious multichannel payment service provider from Germany, is expanding its business in Asia, and in particularly setting its feet firmly in China.  By 2015, China will take over US and become the largest e-commerce market in the world. Since online payment is a vital part of e-commerce success, we perceive the demand for good payment service provider in China will be robust. Computop, as the world renowned expert in this field, for sure entered into China with its full confidence.

During China E-commerce Expo,which was held in Shanghai on Oct 17th, TechNode sat down with Mr. Ralf Galdis, CEO of Computop, for an in-depth interview to share his great vision of China e-commerce and payment solution. And we would like to extract some useful insights based on this conversation.

Mr. Galdis talked about how Global Point of Sale Network has innovated in the face of constantly emerging and changing new technologies to power up a complete multichannel payment solution for a wide range of transactions, be it on PC, mobile or in brick-and-mortar stores.

He also pointed out, “even though Alipay dominated more than 50% of local online payment market, additional service like Chinapay (powered by China Union pay) should be crucial in the immediate future as well when considering providing solution for Chinese etailers. ”

Here’s Q&A with Mr. Ralf.

Q: What are the innovations going on in Comutop, especially in mobile payment?

A: 1)     Global PoS(Point of Sale) Network is a new and innovative solution that enables a complete multichannel solution, combining data from both eCommerce and bricks and mortar businesses at PoS.  It works in any country and enables merchants to simply and securely manage multichannel payments across their retail estate, even removes the need to receive actual card data during a PoS transaction in-store.

2)     Mobile payment is a hot topic. Although it has not gained solid traction in Europe yet, Computop is already well prepared for that. Currently Computop is working on the pilot project of mobile offline Pos, which is coming soon in Nov this year. It will allow users to accept “smart card with Chip and PIN” through mobile phone in the point of sale, a more advanced technology than Square which just accepts “magnetic stripe credit card”.

Q: In July this year, Computop added Alipay (China’s most popular third party payment) into its paygate platform, so how this move helped your company to attract more European merchants eyeing on the Chinese market?

A: The requests for China payment solution from Computop’s clients have increased almost 240%. Such growing demand actually propelled Computop to integrate Alipay, instead of the other way around.

Q: What about other popular third party payment, i.e. Tenpay, Chinapay? Are you planning to add them to your paygate platform?

A: Though Alipay occupied around 50% of the market share of third party payment, the addition of Chinapay (powered by China Union pay) should be crucial in the immediate future as well. Tenpay (back up by Tencent) might not be the priority, due to its gaming focus whereas Computop is mostly serving retailers. I already talked to Chinpay about cooperation issue, but everything is still working in progress.
Q: How do you launch your business in China? What types of clients do you have right now?

A: Partnership approach, which is a strategy not only in China, but also in other markets , is very important. Computop often partners with leading multichannel commerce service solution providers, i.e. hybris, Arvato, so as to reach its tentacles.  Retailers who plan to do e-commerce, would often knock on the door of companies like hybris, Arvato first. Because payment solution is one of the indispensable part of service chain.  Computop would be next in line for meeting their clients.

Computop currently has two types of clients in China:

1)     Global companies which have presence in Asia and need to settle its international payment, i.e. Samsung, Fossil

2)     Foreign brands which request Computop to process all their domestic payment via Alipay in China, i.e. Elly café

Q: There are plenty of local players in your field, how do you compete with those local rivals since they charge much lower service fees than Computop?

A: It might be difficult to compete with local players at the same level, especially in terms of cheapness. However Computop actually maneuvered “white label” tactic, selling its products directly to these local payment service providers, though I cannot reveal their names. So no enemy but just frenemy. In addition, more and more Chinese merchants will bring their business to Europe and they definitely need our services, rather than local ones.

Q: What is your biggest strength compared with your international rivals like GlobalCollect, Ogone?

A: Computop’s very unique strength is offering extended 90 day payment guarantee for verified by Visa and MasterCard secure code, which other competitors cannot really provide up to such long period at this stage.

Computop obviously acted a lot faster than its international rivals to tap deeper into China market, and such early entry advantage would assist its success.

Though Computop’s partnership approach is very useful to expand its business in China, most of its current partners are whose with Germany background.  It might hinder its further progressing. In China, when retailers launch their online business, they often prefer find e-commerce solution service providers which can offer one package services, from front end CRM to back end logistics. So if Computop could obtain cooperation with local or non-Germany e-commerce service providers, it definitely would help to absorb a new stream of clients. Of course it is easy to say and hard to do.

Regarding its mobile offline Pos for “Chip and PIN”, while other countries, especially in Europe have so thoroughly embraced a more secure credit card technology called “chip and PIN”, true smart cards are actually hard to find in the U.S. So this innovation might be more advanced than Square but will not likely gain much popularity in the U.S in short run.

Ralf Gladis, CEO of Computop

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TechNode Guest Editors represent the best our community has to offer: insight and perspective on how technology is affecting business and culture in China

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