Molly Shea, general manager of Asia Pacific from Western Union joined us to discuss the business and distribution footprint of the company across Asia Pacific. We begin the conversation with Molly’s career story, and subsequently leading into the discussion on Western Union’s focus on digital services and geographic expansion in Asia Pacific. Last but not least, Molly shared her perspectives and thoughts on the current trends in the fintech space, for example, the current super apps trends from China to Asia and how Western Union are experimenting with blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Molly Shea (@mollymshea, LinkedIn), General Manager, Western Union, Asia Pacific [0:24]
    • How did you start your career? [0:56]
    • How did the move from US to Asia come along for you with Western Union? [4:32]
    • Throughout your career journey, what are the interesting lessons that you can share with my audience? [6:26]
  • Western Union in Asia Pacific and Trends in Fintech [8:18]
    • Introduction: Western Union is a US financial services and communications company and was founded in 1851 and is currently a listed company on NYSE, that focus on various services such as wire transfers, money transfers (or remittances), transfer tracking and price estimation. Hikmet Ersek is the current CEO of the company. 
    • Can you introduce Western Union to my audience and what is its current mission and vision? [8:58]
    • What is your current role and coverage with WU? [9:52]
    • How does Western Union operate in Asia Pacific (or what’s the current footprint of WU in Asia Pacific)? [11:00]
    • Who are the customers for Western Union and how do they access your products and services? [12:06]
    • What are the products and services, for example in remittances, that Western Union solve your customers’ pain points? [13:22]
    • How does Western Union integrate digital into their current offerings and how does that change the customer experience? [15:30]
    • How does Western Union work with financial regulatory bodies across Asia Pacific? [17:58]
    • Where do you see the remittances market currently, and what are the major trends? [19:02]
    • Given the rise in fintech for the past few years and inherently, it is shaped by traditional services moving towards digital, how does it shape your current perspective in how you think about the relevance of WU in this new world? [21:26]
    • Most digital native fintech companies are currently operate without the regulatory tax as compare to the traditional companies, how does one think of competition with new fintech companies that are set to disrupt the space? [23:26]
    • The strength of WU is in its distribution network and its access to the unbanked, what are your thoughts to how mobile wallets such as Alipay, Wechat Pay or even regional players might move towards the remittance spaces? [25:00]
    • What are your current views towards blockchain and its applications to remittances? [28:10]
  • Closing [29:48]
    • Can you recommend a book or movie or podcast or anything which recently made an impact to your work and personal life? [29:56]
    • How do my audience find you? [31:14]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong & weibo) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Altizen Desk (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack and this episode is edited by Carol Yin, and co-produced by Carol Yin and Bernard Leong.