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How an Aussie fintech startup is connecting major brands to Chinese customers

SmartTrans is even sponsoring Chinese footballers. Picture: Supplied

SmartTrans, a payments startup whose board is chaired by Australia’s former ambassador to Beijing has just posted its fourth consecutive $1m-plus month of revenue from its Chinese customer base.

The fintech company’s share price has rallied this week after it posted a record revenue of $3.69 million in China during Q2. That’s an increase of 59% on the previous quarter’s revenue of $2.27 million and an increase of 620% on revenue for Q2 in FY2015.

The company acts as a payment platform that enables Western companies to enter the Chinese e-commerce market. It allows companies to have charges for things like in-app purchases added directly to their mobile phone bill.

Its mobile and online billing payment software is highly sought after in China, with the company in agreement with the country’s biggest telcos and payment providers in China Mobile, China Unicom, UnionPay and AliPay.

SmartTrans has been flying under the radar in Australia for years now having started out in China in 2008.

“Our relationship with telcos in China started out in 2008 around the Beijing Olympics,” CEO Bryan Carr told Business Insider.

“We were using our logistics software, which was essentially what Uber is, hooking drivers up with passengers, providing a ratings system and more.”

“Our initial relationship with China Mobile came from that.”

From there, SmartTrans actually attempted to build China Mobile’s very first App Store which didn’t go ahead, leading them to go into the e-commerce space.

Now SmartTrans is one of the fastest growing payment providers in China for foreign companies and local telcos, whether that be Android apps and video games or subscription type billing for digital magazines, even train tickets.

That initial relationship is what has enabled them to build up the trust and relationships with other telcos and payment providers such as Union Pay in China.

“Our China Mobile relationship has allowed us to gain access to the backend of their networks which lets us implement our billing systems,” he said.

It also helps that they have three board members located in Beijing, Carr, well-known Chinese businessman Ian Tang and Australia’s former ambassador to China Geoff Raby.

The company makes money in two ways.
The first is acting simply as a merchant and billing provider where they receive between 3% and 15% of sales from the brand they’re working with. They also offer a full service, with billing, marketing and more for brands where they can take up to a 45% cut.

The company is working with a $5 million cash boost from a rights issue in July last year, which will allow for a bigger footprint in China, as well as a larger marketing budget.

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