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JG Summit Teams Up With South African Digital Bank Tyme to Expand Fintech in Emerging Markets

It could also lead to a new digital bank in the Philippines.
IMAGE Tyme
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JG Summit has teamed up with Tyme, a digital bank from South Africa with plans to expand TymeBank in South Africa, the Philippines, and more.

JG Summit and private equity fund Apis Partners have invested $110 million (P5.3 billion) in Tyme, and the funds will be used toward Tyme’s expansion plans in South Africa, the Philippines, and soon, Malaysia.

“We believe that the future of digital banking in emerging markets is multi-country, to actually build a banking group where there is enough critical mass of customers," said Coen Jonker, co-founder of Tyme. “For us, Philippines represents the best fit in terms of our business and operating model to expand, and JG Summit the best partner in terms of the retail capacity that they have and their loyalty programs.”

“We see digital banking as the next growth area globally and increasingly in ASEAN and so we are excited to partner with global investment giants Apis Partners and African Rainbow Capital in taking part in this global play by building further success for South Africa’s leading digital bank TymeBank,” said Lance Gokongwei, JG Summit president and CEO.

“Tyme’s disruptive innovation will help us to better adopt an agile and innovative mindset to provide better choices to customers,” said Jojo Malolos, president and CEO of JG Summit’s venture capital arm JG Digital Equity Ventures.

Digital banking has grown in popularity around the world, and in the Philippines, digital banks such as CIMB and ING have gained loyal users due to the sudden shift to online caused by lockdown. Now JG Summit will soon bring Tyme to the Philippines as a new player to the local digital banking industry.

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According to Reuters, Tyme already has plans to apply for a local digital bank license.

What is Tyme?

Tyme, which stands for “Take your money everywhere,” was launched in 2018 in South Africa, and in less than three years, the digital bank has already serviced roughly 2.8 million customers. It offers interest rates as high as eight percent per year on its savings accounts and a credit card-like payment system called MoreTyme that allows users to pay only 50 percent of an item’s price at a cashier, giving them two months to pay the rest of the bill.

South African mining billionaire Patrice Motsepe is the majority shareholder of TymeBank through his investment company African Rainbow Capital.

Tyme’s biggest appeal in South Africa is that it allows its customers to set up accounts and collect debit cards at a kiosk, of which there are more than 700 around the country. These kiosks are located in Boxer supermarkets, which are under Pick n Pay, one of the largest supermarket chains in South Africa. Through its partnership with the supermarket chain, Tyme also offers supermarket rewards programs to its users.

It’s this system that Tyme hopes to replicate in the Philippines with JG Summit as its partner. Through Robinsons Land Corporation, JG Summit boasts over 50 shopping malls in the country. Through Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc., it has the following brands: Robinsons Supermarket, Southstar Drug, TGP, and more.

Esquire Philippines is published by Summit Media, the media arm of the Gokongwei group.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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