Soft Space partners Hong Leong Bank, JCBI to drive JCB Card acceptance in Malaysia

  • Partnership enables the parties to serve growing cashless customers 
  • The parties will leverage M'sia's 16.1 mil tourist arrivals, $10.89 bil revenue in 2023

Left to right: Andrew Jong, managing director of Personal Financial Services at HLB, Joel Tay, CEO, Soft Space and Yoshiki Kaneko, president and CEO of JCB International Co., Ltd signed a tripartite partnership to expand JCB Card acceptance in Malaysia

Soft Space Sdn Bhd, JCB International Co, Ltd. (JCBI), the international operations subsidiary of JCB Co, Ltd, Japan's leading international payment brand, and Hong Leong Bank (HLB) have joined forces to actively drive JCB Card acceptance in Malaysia, bolstered by strong post-pandemic economic recovery prospects.

In a joint release, the parties state that as the Malaysian economy continues to grow positively in 2023, tourism has emerged as one of the brightest sectors spearheading the recovery process, with Japan one of the top ten contributors to tourist arrivals and spending. Malaysia is expected to welcome 16.1 million international tourists and generate US$10.89 billion (RM49.2 billion) in tourist receipts in 2023, they added.

To capitalize on this recovery prospect, Soft Space and JCBI recently signed an agreement to enable Soft Space to work with local acquirers, such as HLB, to promote JCB Card acceptance in Malaysia. Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara, a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, is one of HLB's merchants that have begun accepting JCB Card payments, they said.

Joel Tay, CEO of Soft Space, said, "As Japanese tourist arrivals in Malaysia begin to ramp up again, we are pleased to be able to enable and promote cross-border payments between Japan and Malaysia via our partners. This merely represents a first step in our ambition to roll out similar agreements in Southeast Asia, boosting JCB Card acceptance and riding on the wave of increasing contactless card payments in the region."

Meanwhile, Yoshiki Kaneko, president, and CEO of JCBI said, "Malaysia has been an important destination country for our card members across the regions. Establishing a partnership with HLB is a huge step forward for the expansion of JCB's acceptance network in Malaysia," he added. "We can now better serve JCB Card members coming to Malaysia not only from Japan but also from the ASEAN region where we have more than 10 million card members. I am especially delighted as this achievement has been brought via a unique tripartite collaboration including Soft Space. Leveraging today's success, we are further strengthening our presence in the entire ASEAN region through this partnership with Soft Space," he added.

Andrew Jong, managing director of Personal Financial Services at HLB said, "With an influx of tourists and expats coming from Japan into Malaysia, the option to accept JCB Cards will ensure convenience for its cardholders and provide businesses with an additional opportunity to capture more tourists and grow their business. This partnership will enable us to serve the customers who are increasingly going cashless as well as help our merchants increase their sales and customer transaction value."

The agreement showcases the partnership progress between JCB and Soft Space since the former invested in fintech in January 2022. This includes a series of business collaborations aimed at leveraging Soft Space's fintech-as-a-service business model, technology, and regulatory know-how, along with JCB's global recognition, alliances, and brand reach.


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