With many companies expanding their product and service offering, it’s no surprise that we are seeing new and interesting combinations for what companies offer. For example, we have seen the Chinese messenger company WeChat become a major player in Chinese FinTech sector, offering services traditionally offered by financial institutions. In Kazakhstan, we may very well be witnessing the rise of a new major player in the payments industry – telecommunication companies (telecoms).
Telecoms have an abundance of data (even more than financial institutions), are an active part of the daily lives of most of the population and already operate at the forefront of the digital space. Some experts predict that telecoms will surpass financial institutions in this sector within one short year as they start to realize the potential they have to offer better services than what currently exists in the market. Moreover, their extensive knowledge of consumers (stemming from their existing massive consumer databases) and existing relationships with consumers mean that attracting a customer base will be easier than for startups. It remains to be seen if telecoms will take advantage of this opportunity in Kazakhstan, but they do have the chance to become dominant players in the Kazakh payments industry for years and decades to come.