Stripe’s Tee Chayakul discusses the launch, any issues the fintech faced and its work with the Bank of Thailand in bringing its platform to market
Stripe recently launched in Thailand, expanding its presence in the Asia Pacific region and setting up the fintech’s payments platform as a means to help “solve the complex payments issues” currently being experienced by businesses in the country.
Thousands of businesses in the country have been using Stripe over the past year as part of the beta phase for testing and development.
Commenting on the launch, Tee Chayakul, Thailand country director at Stripe, said: “Thailand’s digital economy is one of the fastest growing in Southeast Asia. However, moving money on the internet remains incredibly complicated and cumbersome.
“We want to remove these barriers with financial infrastructure that helps ambitious businesses increase their revenue, automate low-value tasks, and expand internationally.”
Fintech Intel spoke with Chayakul to learn more about the launch, any issues the fintech faced and its work with the Bank of Thailand in bringing its platform to market.
Chayakul is a Harvard Business School graduate. He worked for Citibank and Traveloka, a travel bookings website, before taking up his current role at Stripe.
What issues are businesses currently facing in Thailand that Stripe can solve?
In our conversations with local businesses from beta phase to general availability, they told us about four consistent issues. Firstly, they feel payments were too complicated. Secondly, they don’t want to think about payments all the time, they just want it to work so they can concentrate on their core business activities.
They also feel that it takes too long to get started and there isn’t enough guidance for their teams on how to go about setting up. Finally, they feel that the pricing isn’t very transparent and there are lots of unexpected costs creeping in.
What has Stripe learnt from the beta stage and what upgrades came as a result of the testing?
We took these pain points very seriously and focused on three areas where Stripe could help solve their problems. These are to optimise revenue, operate efficiently and scale globally.
To optimise revenue, businesses often have to deal with complexity and sometimes this can cause them to lose focus. For example, building a checkout page for online businesses can be complicated, so a business can build the best products but struggle to monetise them without an effective and efficient checkout page, where the conversion happens.
They struggle with a smooth user interface, customising their user experience, and even integrating multiple relevant payment methods. Stripe has world-class checkout solutions, whether businesses want to get started with optimised and ready-to-go checkout flows or build using highly customisable APIs.
We also provide payment methods that matter for Thailand. Our platform lets local businesses accept Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards, popular local payment methods such as PromptPay, and globally accepted digital wallets including Google Pay—all with a single integration with our complete stack for payments and financial services needs across channels.
Next, to help businesses operate efficiently, Stripe SaaS solutions help businesses build a modern back office, streamline payment-related processes, and free up teams to focus on other pressing tasks.
To help solve the problem of scaling globally, with Stripe businesses can accept payments from anywhere in the world. Stripe supports 135+ currencies and offers a unified API for cards, wallets, bank debits, and more.
Why is moving money online ‘complicated and cumbersome’?
Despite the rapid offline to online migration seen during the pandemic, online spending was only 12% of global spend in 2021. One major blocker to increasing that number is that too many businesses lack the infrastructure for moving and managing money online, which includes payments, issuing cards, calculating tax, and much more. This is where Stripe as a global financial infrastructure platform can help.
How many users do you anticipate will use Stripe?
I prefer not to speculate, but what we can share is that the positive interest we’ve seen with our launch so far has exceeded our expectations, with thousands of local businesses now using Stripe. We are focused first and foremost on serving our users’ needs. We are keen to continue to partner with ambitious companies in Thailand to drive the future of the country’s digital economy. From the smallest startups to the largest enterprises, we’re here to help by providing the financial infrastructure needed to make it easy to start, run and scale their businesses.
What competition do you have in Thailand? And what is Stripe offering to be better than them?
We are first and foremost focused on our users: businesses in Thailand. Because our products complement rather than substitute, we’re not in a zero-sum game. We’re more interested in enabling a successful, sustainable ecosystem—in growing the pie for everyone.
We help by lowering the barriers to starting and running a business online. Our software stack is deeper and our functionality is broader. At the same time, our vision goes way beyond payments processing. We are building infrastructure focusing on all the things internet businesses need to grow. Our products help businesses accept payments, power complex business models, prevent fraud, and more.
What work did you do with the Bank of Thailand?
The Bank of Thailand, as a regulatory body overseeing financial stability, is also responsible for promoting and fostering Thailand’s digital economy. We deeply value our close collaboration with the Bank of Thailand in our journey to become a licensed payments provider in the country and support the growth of the digital economy. Stripe is keen on helping support the development of innovation and the wider access of digital payments for both individuals and businesses.
Stripe also recently participated in the Bank of Thailand’s Digital Finance Conference, where we discussed the future of the local payments infrastructure and ecosystem, what this means for businesses and how to best prepare for new opportunities.
We are excited to continue working with the Bank of Thailand to support more businesses to grow and scale locally and globally.