Vietnamese digital payment company GPAY has received a payment intermediary licence from the country’s central bank and, according to an announcement.

Vietnamese digital payment company GPAY has received a payment intermediary licence from the country’s central bank and, according to an announcement. The licence will allow GPAY to implement online payment gateway, and offer services with respect to pay-on-behalf, e-wallet and other e-payments. The startup was founded in 2018 as an app connecting 24/7 money transfer services. It claims to have reached $50 million GMV and had a presence in 42 cities and provinces in the country as of 2019, according to a statement. The company said it plans to expand nationwide to offer digital payment and other financial services, hoping to serve more than 5 million users by 2023.

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“GPAY has a supportive ecosystem from G-Group with above 20 million users of financial platforms, game community, social network and technology companies. We will invest more in technology and hiring talents, and will have Series A funding round soon too,” said Cong Tran, a board member of GPAY. Tran told DealStreetAsia that the company was in talks with both financial and corporate investors for the Series A round. The seed round was financed by G-Group. G-Group is a technology holding company owning unit businesses in gaming media, security, financial services and social network. Its investments include P2P lending startup Tima, which raised a $3 million Series A funding from Belt Road Capital Management in 2018, and Gapo – a homegrown social media network mimicking US giant Facebook. The licence granted to GPAY has brought the total number of accredited digital payment firms to 33, according to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank. The most recent authorised e-payment companies in 2019 include Payme, FinViet, EPay, PayTech, Dibee and Smart Net.

Of the total, 12 companies were known to have received support or acquired by foreign investors. VNPAY is understood to be the largest funded e-payment firm, backed by SoftBank Vision Fund and Singapore sovereign fund GIC, while MoMo bagged financing from private equity major Warburg Pincus. Others include Moca – the strategic partner of Grab, Payoo (acquired by NTT Data), eMonkey – which was said to sell a sizeable stake to Alibaba’s Ant Financial, and 1Pay, which was acquired by Ascend Money – the Thai affiliate of Ant Financial. Local conglomerate Vingroup has also ventured into the space with the acquisition of licenced startup MonPay.

Vietnam is expected to issue its decision of a foreign ownership cap in digital payment businesses by June this year. SBV had proposed to put a 49 per cent foreign ownership limit in the sector, but eventually scraped the term. “SBV received opinions that because payment intermediary is a new service tapping technology advancement, foreign investment plays a critical role in developing the business,” the government body said in an earlier statement.

However, the final ruling is subject to the Prime Minister’s approval.