Cash & Liquidity Management
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International Payments in Asia: Far from Harmonious

International Payments in Asia: Far from Harmonious

by Wim Grosemans, Head of Product Management International Payments – Cash Management, BNP Paribas

Looking East, an international sales director might picture the land of milk and honey, while a treasury executive will see a promising yet complex patchwork. While the two will marvel at growth drawing near, the cash expert will soon endure the strains of a heterogeneous market. This article explores the multiple challenges of payments in Asia.

Because of Asia’s outstanding growth and potential, corporates are eager to adapt to local requirements. To do this, they must know what is expected of them. Yet this is far from simple, as there is no such thing as a homogeneous payment market in Asia. Instead, what we find is a mix of regulated and restricted countries, in addition to a select few countries operating much like in the West. As a result, a European treasurer setting out to conquer Asia faces a serious challenge. While the sales or operation managers can foresee a consistent development of their activity across the continent, he or she is confronted with a veritable patchwork, with almost as many currencies and rules as languages.

To make things more complex, regulations may change rapidly in Asia, with some countries facing political instability. Remaining alert is essential – take China, for instance, where key developments to come will change the local clearing system (CNAPS2).