“Inspirations from China help me transform Pakistan’s digital landscape”: Nayapay CEO
by Wang Kai
“In the last 13 years, I have travelled to China a lot to meet our partners in the fields of Internet, optical fiber, telecommunications, etc. It was during those trips that I saw the emergence of WeChat and AliPay and decided to develop a fintech company in Pakistan”, said NayaPay Chief Executive Officer and Founder Dr. Danish A. Lakhani in an exclusive interview with China Economic Net (CEN).
Nayapay is making a splash in Pakistan by securing $13 million seed fund, the largest in South Asia, to roll out its multi-service messaging and payment app and to build payment acceptance and financial management tools, which aims to connect consumers and merchants as seen in platforms such as WeChat and AliPay in China.
A most impressive digital payment experience Dr. Danish had was in Chengdu, a “Food City” in southwestern China. Upon landing at the Chengdu Shuangliu Airport, Dr. Danish started his digital journey. “From taking a taxi to booking a seat at Haidilao (a famous hotpot brand), to ordering food and paying for the meal, the entire process is digital. It was an outstanding experience”, Dr. Danish recalled.
“In Pakistan, about 63 percent of the population comprises of youth. We believe that an equivalent of WeChat and AliPay is something that is just a matter of time. So we tried”, said Dr. Danish, who aspires to bring a digital payments revolution in Pakistan.
Dr. Danish is an old hand entrepreneur. After graduation from Stanford university with a graduate degree in electrical engineering and from HarvardSchool, he returned to Pakistan to build Cybernet, a leading Internet service provider which is working with Hengtong Group on the China-Pakistan section of the PEACE undersea internet cable project that connects China, Pakistan Europe, and Africa.
Up to now, his new brainchild Nayapay has obtained the first E-Money Institution license from the central bank, State Bank of Pakistan.
“Over 55,000 users have registered our app. And we are just beginning. In the next step, we’ll open it up to our broadband users”, Dr. Danish told CEN.
In Pakistan, a large group of individuals and businesses are seeking more financial engagement. Over 50 million adults are unbanked and only 33 percent of women have a bank account. Micro, small and medium businesses that make up 90 percent of the merchant-base in Pakistan are underserved financially. “NayaPay will provide universal payments acceptance and a range of business financial management tools to empower entrepreneurs and small business owners”, Dr. Danish introduced.
Dr. Danish’ s connection with China also helps him obtain one of the three leading investments in the historical seed financing from MSA Novo Beijing Office. The other two are Zayn Capital and Graph Ventures.
“We look forward to working with more Chinese technology companies like Meituan, Didi, etc., so one day in the future, when Chinese people come to Pakistan for travel, they can pay digitally like they do in their homeland”, envisioned Dr. Danish.