Ripple is ‘very confident’ that it will hit China’s market this year with its blockchain-based payments solution, according to reports.
Sagar Sarbhai, Ripple’s head of government and regulatory relations for Asia Pacific, explained that while it was ‘still very early days,’ the team were discussing how it can enter the Chinese industry with regulators, payment providers, and banks by the end of this year.
A report from the Express suggests that the company will initially launch its xCurrent software in China, allowing them to quickly settle cross-border payments.
This year you will see more announcements coming in on China, in terms of educating and differentiating us from some of the other cryptocurrencies that are out there.
Last year, Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO, said that a launch into China was in the pipeline; however, it appears that this has been delayed due to a lack of regulatory clarity around the blockchain and digital currencies in China, says Sarbhai.
According to the 2015 World Payments Report, non-cash payments in Japan, China and South Korea topped $45 billion in 2013. As a result of upward trends in non-cash payments Ripple extended its services into Japan, through a joint venture with SBI in 2016. It also has live clients in India and Thailand, and is continually working at spreading itself to other Asia Pacific countries.
Last September, the company announced that it had launched a new office in Mumbai, India’s financial centre, to serve India’s digital economy. With predictions that India’s digital economy is expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2024, the move into the Indian market will enable Ripple to provide a frictionless payments platform for the country’s banks.
Even though Ripple has yet to reach mainland China, the company recently partnered with Hong Kong-based money transfer company LianLian. This will enable the company to process invoices and e-commerce payments on behalf of customers who use Ripple’s payments network, RippleNet. This, in turn, gives the company access to the inbound payments market in China.
Sarbhai is clear, however, when he states that China remains an important part of their Asia Pacific strategy. One issue that needs to be looked at, though, is Chinese capital controls. In recent years the country has limited the number of capital institutions that can send back to their own country or transfer cross-border from China.
According to Sarbhai, though, this isn’t something that has come up during discussions with China’s regulatory bodies.