Fintech Soft Space has entered into an agreement with Japanese payment’s firm JCB, with the duo focusing on unearthing mutually beneficial opportunities in Southeast Asia.

The strategic partnership will see a series of business collaborations aimed at capitalising Soft Space’s fintech-as-a-service business model, technology and regulatory knowledge combined with JCB’s global recognition, alliances and brand reach.

In support of this objective, a total of $5 million will be invested in Soft Space as the first tranche of funding, with further investments expected in the future. 

Joel Tay, Soft Space CEO, said: “We are humbled by this investment by JCB. Being JCB’s first investee in Malaysia assures us that we are on track to develop financial solutions that will fortify payment acceptance between Japan and SEA, and benefit both regions when borders open up again. T

“This bridge between our regions will also serve as a roadmap for us to enter other regions globally in the future.”

This is not the first collaboration between Soft Space and JCB – Japan’s only international payments firm – with the latter leveraging the Malaysian firm’s services to develop the Tap on Mobile programme last year, which looked to leverage the wide availability of Android smartphones equipped with NFC (near-field communication).

JCB is currently working towards a strategic objective of expanding its global brand by leveraging its core strengthen in Asia – particularly Southeast Asia – to become a preferred competitive brand for Japanese and international cardmembers. 

The firm has targeted the region as a ‘business enhancement region’, aiming to harness synergies in cooperation with SoftSpace as well as expand its merchant network, establish card issuing solutions and provide customer marketing solutions. 

Additional areas of interest for the duo include greater merchant acceptance, mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) and transit; payment gateways; cards-as-a-service (CaaS); white label services, API platform services and technical support services.

Both firms have detailed a wider commitment to accelerate cashless payments in both Soft Space’s home market of Malaysia as well as in the Southeast Asia area by utilising ‘competitive and advanced fintech technologies’ to create a link between Japanese consumers and the wider region. 

“I am honoured to announce this investment and collaboration agreement. I believe this is not just an investment, but the first step towards realising the boundless possibility with Soft Space,” remarked Yoshiki Kaneko, President & COO of JCB International Co. Ltd. 

“We are capitalising on this opportunity to expand and secure our business in SEA by utilising Soft Space’s cutting-edge technology and robust network with the financial institutions. We are confident that this collaboration will go beyond Malaysia and expand across the globe.”