Manage Your Loyalty Cards on Your Phone

 

12cm is an IT solutions company that brings loyalty cards to the mobile environment. It provides a simplified loyalty points collection service by simply stamping the screen of your mobile phone, allowing the relevant app on the phone to collect points. The company recently began to expand into fintech solutions to provide an electronic payment system based on the same technology.

 

This year, 12cm is targeting the Chinese market, which has a population of 1.4 billion. Through cooperation with WeChat, a China-based global messenger app with 1.1 billion users worldwide, 12cm launched “Yiqi Hanyou(一齐韩游),” which issues mobile discount coupons for Chinese tourists in Korea. Focusing on the fact that Chinese tourists tend to be price sensitive, 12cm plans to lure customers to shop at their partner stores by providing discount coupons for convenience stores, restaurants, and coffee shops.

 


 

Bring the offline loyalty card system to the mobile environment

 

“Seeing how everyone is using smartphones, I thought about services that could be optimized to this environment and decided to bring the offline loyalty card system to the mobile environment.”12cm CEO Han Jeong Gyoun is an expert in financial IT solutions with over a decade of experience in the field. He built his career in finance and IT consulting at HP Korea and decided to set up 12cm in 2013 because he realized the power and potential of the mobile platform, as smart devices, led by 3G phones,became popular.

 

Han explains, “Thinking that the ‘mobile first’ era would soon begin, I wanted to start a company that specializes in the mobile channel.” Han had previously planned to provide a service similar to echoss Stamp but failed due to the lack of IT environment that could support it. However, the rapid growth of smartphones and the expanded mobile infrastructure became a ray of light.

 


 

Capturing people’s attention with convenience and compatibility

 

12cm’s main solution, echoss Smart Stamp, brought offline loyalty cards to the mobile environment. When a smart stamp, with its multiple touch points, touches the screen of a smartphone, the relevant app automatically collects points. This solution can be paired

with various O2O services and business models.

 

echoss Stamp doesn’t require a battery, as the stamp recognition process is completed on the capacitive touchscreen. It is currently protected by about 220 patents and is compatible with all smartphones, including iOS and Android devices. echoss Stamp has been attracting attention from O2O businesses, as the solution does not require other infrastructure. Usually, IT solutions that combine online and offline services require integration of offline systems and online solutions or new terminals that need to be installed offline.

 

echoss Stamp, on the other hand, is based on cloud computing and allows businesses to provide O2O services by simply keeping stamps that are embedded with the stores’ identification at the stores.

 

echoss Stamp stands out from competing technologies such as QR codes, NFC, and BLE, in terms of security, usability, and compatibility between devices and browsers. It is also extremely simple for users, since all they need to do is touch the stamp to a smartphone screen.

 

Based on its peerless technology, 12cm is currently collaborating with Samsung, SK Broadband, Paybank, and other innovative Korean companies, as well as Tencent, China’s largest IT company. 12cm’s echoss Stamp technology is embedded in Samsung’s S Wallet and SK Broadband’s Stampbook. 

 

12cm’s efforts have been rewarded through a variety of awards from numerous technology-related competitions and contests. It won the highest prize in technology at the 1st DGB Financial Group Platform and Fintech Competition, top prize at the Smart App Awards 2018, and an Excellence Award from the K-ICT Born2Global Centre Member Awards. It was also named a Digital Media 2018 IT Innovative Financial Product.

 


 

Joining hands with WeChat and targeting 1.4 billion Chinese consumers

 

12cm declared 2018 the year of “Global 12cm” and is currently focusing on overseas advancement. Over the past five years, the company has been able to develop unparalleled technology with commercial possibilities, and now has gained enough confidence to venture out into the larger market. As of now, 12cm provides services through 53 partnerships in 22 countries, including Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the United States, and countries in Europe.

 

As 12cm continues to grow, K-ICT Born2Global Centre has been working with the company in a range of areas, building distribution channels and securing capital. One of the important ways the Born2Global Centre provided support was through exposure to foreign media, which allowed 12cm to leave a strong impression on world-class global enterprises. In addition, the Centre facilitated 12cm’s participation in exhibitions overseas to enter new markets, providing a foothold for the company to expand overseas.

 

Currently, 12cm is focusing all its efforts on the abovementioned Yiqi Hanyou, which attracts Chinese tourists in Korea to 12cm’s partner stores through a variety of discount coupons they receive on WeChat, an instant messenger app that has an absolute monopoly in China. Chinese tourists using WeChat on their smartphones can receive coupons without having to download another app.

 

Yiqi Hanyou has a bright future ahead, considering that China has grown into one of the largest mobile payment markets. Beijing is leading the way to a cashless economy, as people can use mobile payment systems to purchase lamb skewers in food stalls and some beggars even ask for money via QR codes. This means that Chinese tourists already used to making mobile payments can visit 12cm’s partner stores with Yiqi Hanyou and purchase products using WeChat Pay.

 

Han remarks, “Instead of stopping at simple loyalty marketing, vouchers, and promotional services, we hope to open a new chapter for our company by providing a variety of fintech and data-related services.”

 

 


SEOUL, South KoreaDec. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Hankook NFC, a member company of the K-ICT Born2Global Centre, was founded in April 2014 by CEO Richard Hwang. The company's goal is to provide convenient and safe fintech services based on NFC technology, one of the most widely used examples of which is the transportation card for Korea's bus and subway systems.

Hankook NFC's patented technology enables mobile payments by pairing an NFC-enabled Android smartphone with a credit card. Payments can be made even without a point-of-sale (POS) reader by holding a credit card up to an NFC-enabled smartphone and entering the credit card's password.

 


Convenient NFC-based payment marks rise of fintech

One major advantage of this payment method is that the user does not need to download or register a mobile application. Moreover, as credit card information is not saved on the smartphone, there is little need to fear losing personal information due to hacking or misplacing the phone.

In addition to its NFC-based payment system, Hankook NFC has developed an NFC self-authentication service and P2P (phone-to-phone) payment technology based on Samsung Pay.

Hankook NFC CEO Richard Hwang said, "Our technology helps offline stores increase their sales via online means. In addition, we provide a function that automatically creates a card payment window on your smartphone when you upload a product photo to your social media account."

This allows store owners who have many followers on social media to sell their products without having to upload photos onto an open market or online shopping mall. The use of direct transaction approval by credit card companies instead of a POS reader or VAN network has the added benefit of cutting costs for small business owners.

KRW 3 billion investment secured from and service alliance forged with Japanese company

Hankook NFC's technology generated even greater excitement in the Japanese market than it did in Korea. In May 2017, the company succeeded in securing an investment of KRW 3 billion from and signing a service partnership contract with a Japanese company. The entire process took six months, starting with Hankook NFC's introduction of its technology in late 2016 and an inspection of the company.

The Japanese partner company, MJS, will be using Hankook NFC's patented technology to provide a phone-to-phone payment service, called Paytomo, throughout Asia. It will be released in Japan in February 2018.

MJS is a Japanese ERP company that is well known domestically for having been listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as early as 1997. Together with its partnership with Hankook NFC, MJS founded a subsidiary (MJS Finance & Technology) through which it plans to enter the fintech industry in earnest.

In Japan, the credit card payment rate is quite low, at only 17 percent. The reason for this is that many stores do not accept credit cards due to the high commission fees involved.

Hwang said, "In Japan, people believe that making cash payments for small purchases is beneficial to the store owner. Also, as Japan does not have the same government regulation Korea does to prevent credit card affiliates from refusing credit card payments, many credit card affiliate stores request cash payments."

Phone-to-phone payment method accelerates arrival of cashless society in Japan

Although Apple Pay is highly popular in Japan, as NFC readers have been installed only in subway stations and certain convenience stores, the service is largely unavailable. With Paytomo, however, store owners/merchants need only install the Paytomo app on their smartphones to be able to accept payments via Apple Pay, credit card, or bitcoin, without having to replace their POS reader. Hankook NFC has high expectations for the commercialization of its service in the Japanese market in 2018, with its biggest opportunity being the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. In preparation for the Games, through which Japan aims to attract 40 million foreign tourists to the country, the Japanese government and credit card companies are making aggressive efforts to expand the availability of credit card payment services.

Furthermore, with Japan having increased the consumption tax from five to eight percent, store owners have even more cash on their hands, leading to money management issues and increased general agreement on the need for Japan to become a cashless society.

Hwang said, "Our investor, MJS Group, is the second largest company in Japan's electronic payment industry and, accordingly, has a nationwide customer base. By combining an investment with a royalty-based contract, we were able to enter the Japanese market faster than engaging in a joint venture or attempting to do so on our own would have permitted."

 

For more detailed information on the Hankook NFC, visit http://www.hankooknfc.com/index_en.html

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