Axiata Digital, MDEC collaborate to extend MIFE API Platform
By Anushia Kandasivam November 15, 2017
- Collaboration allows MIFE access to startups and vice versa
- MIFE will become a one-stop API shop for businesses
AXIATA Digital, the digital services arm of telco Axiata Group Bhd, announced on Nov 14 the extension of its application programming interface (API) platform Mobile Internet Fulfilment Exchange (MIFE).
MIFE is now open to Malaysian businesses as a gateway into the regional marketplace across Axiata’s footprint countries in Asean and South Asia.
MIFE’s extension is a collaboration with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) via the latter’s Malaysia Digital Hub initiative, which provides startups and technology entrepreneurs connections and workspace to achieve rapid growth.
It also offers incentives for growth to startups, investors, global tech companies, accelerators and talent builders to help businesses achieve scale.
Launched in August 2015, MIFE allows for faster customer engagement and secure payment processes by enabling billing via existing prepaid or postpaid accounts, SMS notifications, and username and password free user authentication and login.
MIFE has built a network of global and regional partners, including major marketplaces such as the Apple App Store and Google Playstore.
Meeting global standards
The platform was developed in accordance with global API standards and forms, and built as a plug-and-play interface so that companies that want to access API services can do it via MIFE without connecting to the backend system. This provides secure access and increased customer data security protection.
According to CEO of Axiata Digital Mohd Khairil Abdullah, of the handful of large companies creating such gateways, MIFE is one of the only ones, if not the only one, that provides seamless plug-in to multiple countries from a single point of integration.
The collaboration with MDEC will allow MIFE to connect to MDEC’s digital hubs and enable both parties to leverage on each other’s networks.
In light of this, MIFE has also developed the Malaysian Access Gateway (MAG), a self-service portal for startups to use MIFE’s APIs.
“Through this collaboration with Axiata Digital, Malaysian digital and online businesses can offer better consumer experience and better monetisation opportunities. We believe this will help provide Malaysia’s startups unprecedented access to Axiata’s regional customer base with ease,” said MDEC chief executive officer Yasmin Mahmood.
Khairil said that Axiata Digital wanted to attract startups to MIFE from the beginning but knew that it would be difficult for the company, as a large telco, to do so.
“We were always looking for someone with the branding, resources and mandate to partner with that could help us reach out to the startup ecosystem. It because clear from our first meeting that MDEC was truly a match made in heaven, so we’re very excited it has come to this stage,” he said.
He added that he believes this is the first of many potential partnerships between Axiata Digital and MDEC.
Khairil said that Axiata realised that it was “sitting on a goldmine” that comprised the access to customers, customer insights and a regular billing relationship that startups needed.
“We realised early on that this API platform was something we had to build and get everyone on board. It would be an incredible waste if, knowing that the digital revolution is going on, you don’t use what you have to help the ecosystem grow.”
He explained that though MIFE worked with large players and aggregators such as Google and Apple in the beginning, their ultimate intention was to focus on the developer ecosystem.
Giving startups a leg up
Yasmin emphasised that MIFE poses a great opportunity for local companies, especially startups, to jumpstart their expansion into Asean and the Southeast Asian region, given that Axiata has a reach of more than 320 million customers through its various mobile consumer businesses.
“This is a big deal – one of the largest companies in the region opening up its doors to the various resources it has. I encourage more startups to take advantage of this platform,” she said.
She also said that while Asean may be seen as a complex market that is too diverse for easy penetration, it has got its own flavour and organic life that is being stitched together by its people.
“I dare say that when it comes to stitching Asean together as a market, Malaysia is the one to do it,” she said.
Axiata Digital is making sure MIFE stays relevant and sustainable by continuing to put more APIs onto the platform; MIFE’s roadmap includes a lot more APIs in the pipeline.
MIFE is also developing a way for startups and corporates to publish their own APIs on the platform so that other companies can use them.
“We’re all about creating a symbiotic ecosystem. Maybe another company has the assets that you need to grow your company. In this way, you will have a virtual one-stop shop for all the APIs you need,” said Khairil.
He also said that there will certainly be synergy between MIFE and the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) as numerous businesses will need APIs and communication and billing once they start selling overseas in Axiata’s footprint markets.
“They can work with MIFE, and we can find a way to work with the DFTZ to use our various assets to connect local SMEs to their customers,” he said.
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