Mobilising the next one billion
Ding founder and Chief Executive Mark Roden looks back at a transformative year for the company and the market, and looks ahead to how mobile will be the driving force to bring billions into the financial fold – while unveiling the plans he’s hatching for Ding in 2019.
As a truly transformative year draws to a close here at Ding – we wanted to use our final Dispatch to look back at the high points of the year and look forward to just some of the plans in store for 2019.
This year has been one of our most successful and eventful since we sent our first top-up back in 2006. Our business was set up to help the global diaspora to connect to family and friends back home – in a year when our users sent their 300 millionth top-up we certainly feel we are on our way to fulfilling that purpose.
“In our increasingly online society – our customers used international top-up as a viable way to transfer value home to loved ones.”
We also feel this is just the tip of the iceberg as the prepaid mobile phone market continues to scale new heights – hitting close to 80% of the more than five billion phones in the world, or 90%+ in emerging markets. Our users enjoyed connecting family and friends in greater numbers than ever before with billions in top-ups sent around the world.
At Ding in 2018, we sent top-ups to 149 different countries, in fact the global diaspora sent credit to the phones of family and friends along 10,000 different sending corridors from Miami to Cuba, New York to the Philippines, Paris to Senegal, Dubai to Pakistan – international mobile top-up helped to connect family and friends all over the world.
In our increasingly online society – our customers used international top-up as a viable way to transfer value home to loved ones – they did this in store, online, and through our app. In fact, Ding launched its new app in June 2018 and exceeded the 1.5 million app download mark in short order. We launched dozens of new operators and introduced multiple new payments methods – all to meet demand from users.
The next one billion?
It was a year when the conversation turned increasingly to the movement of migrants, and the unbanked – while the debate around financial inclusion reached fever pitch. The 1.7 billion people which are believed to be without a formal bank relationship were the topic of conversation at many of the large telecoms and financial industry conferences around the world. Some progress has been made towards financial inclusion and 1.2 billion adults worldwide have gotten access to an account since 2011, according to the Global Findex survey, however, there is a long way to go.
“Mobile can be the fix for the billions of people excluded from mainstream financial services…”
There has also been a rising awareness that the next one billion people to be connected will be through mobile in emerging markets. Mobile can be the fix for the billions of people excluded from mainstream financial services. Serving unbanked users is no longer viewed as a philanthropic venture – more a commercial opportunity by big tech and other industries. Their unpredictable, and unknown spending behaviour once instilling apprehension in businesses – has fast become viewed as an extraordinary commercial opportunity to be embraced.
This trend will almost certainly continue in 2019, when we consider that growth is expected to be driven by developing countries, particularly India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America – unsurprisingly all areas with significant unbanked populations. With more and more companies factoring in meeting these consumers on their own terms and creating products to serve their needs.
Financial services battlegrounds
Regions with large unbanked populations, such as Southeast Asia, where cash remains the most common payment method, are fast becoming financial services battlegrounds for companies looking to digitise this population, give them access to a transaction account, and tap into the huge potential it represents.
“Financial inclusion is a key enabler to reducing poverty and allowing communities to grow.”
Financial inclusion is a key enabler to reducing poverty and allowing communities to grow. Providing access to the internet, and the digital economy and all it has to offer is certainly a way to level the playing field in developing nations. This has always been our belief at Ding – accelerating access for the global diaspora is why we creates our platform.
In this data driven age access to the internet is fast becoming an imperative – either to send a message or to transfer money to family and friends. The vast populations of emerging economies in Africa, India and South America are mobile first. As is widely known, they skipped the desktop age. This is where Ding offers real value. Ding isn’t about a cheaper call it’s about the benefits of being connected – empowering people, accelerating access and enabling them to access the internet on their phones and therefore access all that Fintech has to offer.
Access is the key
Ding continues to look at ways to accelerate access for our users in developing nations and help our migrant users to stay connected to the world. As we continue to scale our business in 2019, we have a number of plans on the horizon including a new programme which will see Ding give back to some of the communities which matter most to our users.
In order to do this, we have created our Access for Good Programme – which is a philanthropic endeavour which will see Ding donate a cent from every online top-up completed. Each quarter we will empower our users to vote for the recipient of our donation.
Our first donation will get off the ground in January and we couldn’t be more excited about what this means to the recipients. Our aim is to accelerate access to equality, humanitarian aid, and education with our programme and Ding will work with some international charities to try to make a difference in our users’ communities.
Once again 2019 will be a year all about growth for Ding, as we continue to scale our business in order to meet the demand for top-up from around the world – whether that will be expanding into new regions, or simply building up in existing ones.
Our business has seen double digit revenue growth and we are driving on to improve this even further in 2019. We are hugely ambitious and are going to relish the challenge in 2019 to think of even better ways to serve our users and help the global diaspora to stay connected to loved ones.
Wishing you all the best for the holiday season.