At the time we launched WING there were a number of opportunities we believed made the business model compelling:
- There was no national payments system in Cambodia
- At least US $8 billion of payments lay outside existing formal payment channels
- The Garment Industry was seeking a solution to its manually intensive payroll process
- The Cambodian market was ready for a product that could provide basic financial services to the unbanked segment
- There was an emerging global trend that was seeing convergence of mobile operators and banking services in the mass market.
The second observation I had during my brief time in Cambodia was the number of people who used and knew of WING. Every single remork (tuk tuk) driver I spoke to, every wait staff in shops and restaurants knew of and in many cases used WING. In addition, WING is now providing payroll and commercial services to many corporates in Cambodia leveraging their liquidity solutions. With anecdotal payment volume of US$350 million in June, and a projection for this year of well over US$3 billion, WING has become the national payment system for micro payments and money transfer in Cambodia.
So, approximately five years after the launch of WING, it is fantastic to see that the opportunities we first identified in 2008 and 2009 have been realised. It is also interesting to speculate whether previous owner's ANZ now have some regret in divesting when they did in 2011, given the success of the business since that time, and the opportunity to offset some of the negative public relations they have experienced in that market recently with a positive story of how WING is helping low income Cambodians to save and send money cheaply.