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The future of Octopus | Tim Ying, CEO | VOX Ep. 72

Octopus CEO Tim Ying talks about new pain points to solve, from cross-border payments to personal finance.



Tim Ying, Octopus

Tim Ying joined Octopus in mid-2023 as CEO, after building a career in banking, payments and technology. His tenure began as Octopus was celebrating its 25th anniversary – making it the “OG” of fintech in Hong Kong.

Octopus has a pioneering history, inventing the stored-value card that was embedded in the Hong Kong subway system, a model later copied by London’s Oyster and others.

But that’s old news. What’s Octopus doing now to transcend its primary role as contactless payments in transportation? Ying talks about his outlook for the company, new customer problems to solve, and new services to move into, including cross-border payments, e-commerce, fintech, and – to the relief of interviewer Jame DiBiasio – the Hong Kong taxi fleets.

  • Timecodes:
  • 0:00 – Tim Ying, Octopus
  • 1:49 – A trip down memory lane: the Octopus origin story
  • 6:01 – The Covid factor in merchant acquiring
  • 7:48 – Contactless payments versus QR code-based systems
  • 10:52 – The agenda today, “we’re not in the payments business”, e-commerce, personal wealth management
  • 16:25 – Partnerships and open versus closed payment rails
  • 19:33 – Solving Hong Kong’s taxi payments problem
  • 23:43 – Opening the Octopus network, in Hong Kong and abroad
  • 27:09 – Connecting to ASEAN’s domestic payment networks and moving users from cards and chips to mobile phones

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