Ripple is confident that it will begin operations this year in the world’s second biggest economy this year. Despite restrictive regulations in the Asian country, Ripple is growing confident that its remittance solutions will begin to be used widely this year.
Regulations in China remain the biggest hurdle in Ripple’s efforts to conquer the Chinese market but the company is tirelessly engaging stakeholders to find a common ground. In an interview with GTR, Ripple’s head of regulatory relations for Asia Pacific Sagar Sarbhai said that Ripple is working with banks and payment providers informally to educate on what Ripple is and its vision for the financial services industry.
“As we speak, our team is strategizing about entering the market, but it’s still very early days. We’re trying to get some regulatory clarity, we’ve started engaging informally with banks, FIs and payment providers, speaking to regulators and government bodies, trying to educate on what Ripple is and what our vision is,” the executive said.
The tense trade relations between China and the United States haven’t made it any easier for Ripple but Sarbhai doesn’t view this as a significant challenge.
“In our discussions with China’s regulatory bodies so far, this is something that hasn’t come up. We’re essentially a software company, licensing software to banks and enterprises who want to move money cross-border,” he said.
The trade relations in the US have continued to be hostile. This was made clear when the United States government last year blocked a move by Chinese giant Alibaba to purchase MoneyGram, a US firm through its venture capital arm, Ant Financial Services Group.
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Sarbhai however expressed optimism that Ripple would rise above the hostile environment and provide its services and its software to Chinese firms. He added that Chinese regulatory authorities have been nothing but cooperative with Ripple and that the hostility to US fintech companies has not been expressed towards Ripple at all.
The San Francisco based company already has a major foothold in Asia, especially in Japan where a conglomerate of over 60 banks are already using RippleNet for funds transfer. Ripple also has a money remittance mobile application in conjunction with three Japanese banks known as MoneyTap. The app allows its users to complete their transactions very quickly and at any time of the day. The app is in its pilot stage and is being trialed by three banks currently; Suruga Bank, Resona Bank and SBI Net Sumishin Bank.
The company also partnered with LianLian late last year, a leading Chinese payments provider that uses the xCurrent platform. The partnership would benefit LianLian users greatly as it would introduce speed and cost efficiency. It also benefitted existing RippleNet users as it gave them a channel to the Chinese market.