Online money transfer service Azimo has launched in China, allowing Europeans to send money directly to every personal bank account in the country for just £1.
According to the World Bank China sees the second largest inflow of remittances in the world, behind only India. An estimated $64bn flowed into the country in 2014, including $1bn from both Germany and Italy.
In February the company launched in Thailand, where in 2012 over $4bn was sent from abroad.
Michael Kent, cofounder of Azimo, said: “The Chinese economy is entering a new phase: opening up and focussing on finance sector reform. The huge remittance sector is ripe for innovation and our forward-thinking service means a better deal for our Chinese customers.
“For the past decade, China has been the most spoken about, yet the most underserved market. Legacy providers like MoneyGram, Western Union, traditional High Street banks and, of course, the unregulated informal market have milked profits from hard-working Chinese migrants for too long. We are fighting for a better way to send money for our Chinese customers.”
Azimo launched in 2012 with the stated mission of disrupting the remittance industry, where more established players like Western Union can charge as much as 10% commission. According to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation cutting the commission rates in half could free up $15bn.
Azimo cofounder Marta Krupinska, speaking at an event hosted by StrategyEye, PaymentEye’s sister publication, said: “The reason we managed to create a company that is making a huge difference is because we know it’s not only about the money. We see that the key is that we’re in the relationship business. Every transaction connects people to the ones they love back home.”
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