Airwallex: Malaysia Plays an Emerging Role in the Regional Fintech Landscape

Airwallex: Malaysia Plays an Emerging Role in the Regional Fintech Landscape

by June 6, 2024

Global payments firm Airwallex shared its commitment to expanding its Malaysian operations, with significant inroads already made, including securing licenses from Bank Negara Malaysia.

The fintech payments firm first started its Malaysia operations in 2022. In the next two years, it has gone on to secure a Money Services Business Class B license and approval to provide Merchant Acquiring services.

The company’s growing team in Malaysia is a clear indicator of its dedication to further establishing a presence in the region.

Today, the company has a team of over 40 based in Kuala Lumpur, with plans to further hire in 2024.

Commitment to Innovate for Impact in Malaysia

Airwallex Malaysia

Team Airwallex at the KL20 Summit 2024

Home to more than 300 fintech companies today, Malaysia continues to extend its position as a startup hub in Southeast Asia.

Hosting its inaugural KL20 Summit in Malaysia by the Ministry of Economy, Airwallex was in attendance to showcase its commitment towards growing its operations in Malaysia, and across Southeast Asia.

Airwallex’s Co-founder and CEO Jack Zhang shared insights into the company’s trajectory and the broader potential of Malaysia in the evolving global fintech landscape.

As Airwallex continues to expand its global footprint, Jack’s discourse offered a compelling view on emerging global themes, the transformative role of AI, and strategic moves for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Re-Globalisation and its Implications Towards Digital Innovation

Jack outlined key global trends influencing Airwallex’s growth, notably the expansion of e-commerce, which has seen platforms like Amazon, SHEIN and Shopify revolutionise how businesses operate internationally.

This shift towards a global-first mindset among modern businesses is a growing trend, as more entrepreneurs are establishing their companies with a global focus from day one, providing opportunities for fintech players like Airwallex to empower their financial operations across borders.

In discussing re-globalisation, Jack highlighted the strategic geopolitical shifts that have placed Malaysia at the forefront of digital innovation.

The ongoing trade realignments are enabling emerging markets and developing regions to play a larger role internationally, offering countries like Malaysia a unique opportunity to cement its position as an advocate for greater digital adoption.

Airwallex Malaysia

McKiney & Company’s Bharath Sattanathan (left) moderating the fireside chat with Airwallex’s Jack Zhang (right) at the KL20 Summit 2024

The Advent of Generative AI and Malaysia’s role

Describing generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) as the third evolution of technology, Jack highlights the transformative impact Gen AI can have on society, similar to that of the internet.

Malaysia’s significant role in the semiconductor industry, along with other strategic advantages, positions it as a prime location for pioneering AI-driven companies.

The country’s readiness to support high-tech industries makes it an ideal location for firms looking to harness the power of AI, ensuring that they remain at the forefront of this technological evolution.

For Airwallex, AI is not just a tool but will play a key role in its strategy over the next decade.

The company believes that AI will fundamentally change any process involving complex workflows and data; businesses that can integrate generative AI to create simplified workflows are expected to lead the next wave of technological innovation.

Digital Economy and Emerging Market Growth

With the world on the cusp of a third major digital evolution that is driven by advancements in AI and energy, the opportunities for innovative startups are boundless.

Emphasising the importance of the digital economy, Jack reiterates the importance of government transparency.

The support from Malaysian and Singaporean authorities has been key in Airwallex’s growth across Southeast Asia, underscoring the importance of a conducive regulatory environment for digital innovation.

As Airwallex gears up for further expansion, its strategic focus on AI and digital payments positions it well to lead the charge in the fintech revolution.

For aspiring entrepreneurs and established businesses alike, Airwallex’s journey offers valuable lessons in harnessing global trends to redefine financial services.

Ongoing Investment in Malaysia

All signs point to continued digital transformation and growth in Malaysia over the coming years.

Malaysia recorded more than 11.5 billion e-payment transactions in 2023 (+21% YoY), and acceptance of e-payments among businesses, especially SMEs, continues to gain traction.

Furthermore, government initiatives, including KL20 Action Paper and MyDIGITAL, are all encouraging signs that will continue to support fintech growth.

Airwallex is committed to growing alongside businesses in Malaysia, and as they continue to pursue their growth ambitions across Southeast Asia and globally.

Airwallex Malaysia

Aren Yip, Country Manager, Airwallex Malaysia

“We are encouraged by the strides we’ve made in Malaysia and excited about the growth to come. There is a huge opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs in Malaysia to leverage Airwallex’s technology and infrastructure to unlock global economic opportunities.


We are looking forward to offering more of our suite of products to businesses across Malaysia and allowing them to take advantage of our global and unified payments and financial platform,”

said Aren Yip, Country Manager, Airwallex Malaysia.