Stripe is so easy to use, and it was built by developers, for developers!
We beg Stripe to work on accepting Hong Kong companies, and are starting this petition to start to show and build interest in the community!
Stripe’s Global website where you can also request: https://stripe.com/global
Update Nov 10, 2015
So I just got confirmation friends in Singapore are getting private invites to Stripe in Singapore. Checking the Stripe global page, Singapore is listed there. Tech in Asia heard rumors and it took a few months. Based on Stripe’s chat at Rise Conference in Hong Kong, they are coming soon, believe if they are in Singapore, they are soon to be in Hong Kong!
I wrote up an article on Stripe in Singapore, Hong Kong Next?
Topics Covered in this Episode
- The current merchant account options for Hong Kong companies and why we need to wait for Stripe!
- Asiapay – I have interviewed Asiapay (Jo Chan episode 16), and they have an application fee of about 3,000 Hong Kong dollars – so this is a big stumbling block for many small to medium sized businesses. Its a pretty high processing rate – but I think Hong Kong businesses are used to that. What I didn’t discover until after the show is that when checking out online, you are re-directed to their AsiaPay secure checkout page when a customer chooses to pay by credit card. For e-commerce businesses, this is a big user experience issue – many tech companies want to keep the flow on their own website to ensure the quality of the checkout is smooth and no interruptions or “fear” is created. Going to an asia based website to put in a credit card, for a US or European person, may get a bit scary!
- Worldpay – I am trying to arrange an interview with them – some people I have interviewed on this show use Worldpay (Marshall on Episode 6) but there is also a pretty high application fee and at least 1 month time to open the account. He has also told me that a lot of his transactions get declined from customers for unknown reasons. I know he is very anxious to have Stripe come to Hong Kong.
- Paypal – the default payment that many I have interviewed use in Hong Kong. It is free and easy to open – but the exchange rates are pretty steep. I also have had account freeze issues, and a good friend of mine (name I won’t disclose) finally got his PayPal un-frozen after about a week and a half. Its also not able to use credit cards (customer has to have a credit card), well they can use a credit card 1 time, but the second time that customer tries to use that credit card, they have to open a Paypal account. Update, I have recently written the Full Guide to Paypal for Hong Kong, read and enjoy!
- Paypal Pro– This is a good solution for accepting credit cards and having it settle in your PayPal balance. Years ago I tried to open this service in my Hong Kong Paypal but it was only available in USA and UK based Paypal accounts. After some research, I see its now offered in Hong Kong and am looking into it.
- 2Checkout – In a business many years ago I was using it and withdrawing money to my HSBC Hong Kong account. For my latest venture, Social Agent, I went there to apply, read the documentation, and applied. They require a 15 USD application fee which I had no problem paying – but within 5 minutes of applying I received a system generated email that my application was denied because my business is based in Hong Kong and they do not support Hong Kong companies. I have no problem if they decide to do this -but they system should have detected that I selected Hong Kong in their drop down menu on the online form, and immediately told me not to spend the 15 dollars as I would automatically be denied. They refused to credit my the 15 dollar fee and I will never do business with them again.
- Bitcoin – I’ll do a podcast next week about bit coin – but of course this is still a very early stage technology and not widely accepted as a payment method. So not a viable offer as a main way to accept credit card payments from online customers.
- From my experience, most online e-commerce businesses in Hong Kong solely rely on Paypal.
- Comparing to other Country’s Current Options
- China company – Obviously a lot of people, so a lot of options. There is a multitude of domestic merchant solutions, and they also offer quite a lot of “high risk” merchant accounts for overseas / cross border businesses.
- USA company – Obviously a huge population too, and deemed to be the lowest risk country when applying to banks.
- Hong Kong market – sure its not big – domestically – but as we have covered in previous podcasts, there are tons of businesses that have overseas businesses that use Hong Kong as their headquarters. I was told 7 million registered Limited companies (discussed with Sunny Wong on Episode 2), and I’m sure a ton of them accept online payments via commerce or telephone from international customers!
- Limited functionality in HK based merchants makes Hong Kong look less advanced – There are some major businesses in Hong Kong that when you checkout, you are redirected to Asiapay, or Paypal. This is embarrassing as a “tech dude” in Asia. I believe this is why the West discounts Asian tech companies, because these user experiences. Upgrading the payment gateways is a big user experience improvement on the Hong Kong tech scene!
- So what do people do now who want Stripe in Hong Kong? I know some have US or Canadian companies for the sole reason to have a Stripe (or other) merchant account. This is more complicated accounting and more yearly fees for taxes and filing services.
- Stripe may have to Modify its Offering to localize in Hong Kong – sure, they may have to charge an application fee in Hong Kong, and charge maybe a higher rate. I believe most people would still accept that. We want stripe because its EASY to USE! It is easy to integrate in our online businesses, it is built by developers for developers.
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- Paypal Hong Kong
- Paypal Pro in Hong Kong –
- Bitcoin – check Wikipedia (Bitcoin definition on Wiki, or next week’s Global From Asia episode!)
Episode Length: 16:49
So if you’re one of the many Hong Kong based businesses who are begging for Stripe, please fill out our petition below and let’s show the numbers!
Announcement: I mentioned on previous episodes there is going to be a “Hong Kong” podfest – April 12, 2014 at Les Boules in Sheung Wan on Saturday. It will be from noon til 8pm, I should be on stage from 2 to 3pm – you can get up to date ideas from PodToThePeople.com
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