TranSwap Story for HKTDC HKStartupSociety

TOPICS: Entrepreneurship

by Chan Seng Wong

The idea for TranSwap first came to me during the Asian Financial Crisis back in 1997 when I had a US$ currency exposure, and I wanted to hedge it with an FX forward contract. However, the premium quoted was too expensive, and the spread for the spot rate was also huge. 

Fortunately, I had a friend overseas who has US$ and requires his S$. We then agreed to swap our respective currencies at an agreed Mid-Market rate. This simple FX swapping exercise gave birth to the idea of FX swapping, making cross-border payments more affordable.  

In recent years as FinTech became a reality and received wide acceptance by the regulatory authorities, this reignited my passion for solving the foreign-exchange problems that I, like many other Small Medium Enterprises, faced, such as high costs and lack of transparency in the transaction. I decided to take the ‘leap of faith’ and leave my corporate job to start TranSwap. 

I brought onboard Kien Leong, a lawyer, to be my co-founder and we officially launched the cross-border FX payment platform in 2017, after securing our first major client.  It was a momentous occasion as we saw it as a validation of our business. We went on to onboard many more enterprises and SMEs and offered new services to simplify their cross-border payments. 

Three years later, I’m proud to say that TranSwap has established itself in Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, helping many businesses become more competitive in their markets, lower barriers for internationalization and enabling them to grow more efficiently.

Through TranSwap, businesses can send money to over 180 countries in over 120 currencies, and 60 local payment rails and auto clearing houses – at lower costs and transparent rates and fees. We recently launched a new collection product, where businesses can hold virtual accounts in UK, EU and US through Global Borderless Accounts. 

Coupled with the Cyberport Hong Kong who has supported us on our journey and providing us with resources, industry opportunities to accelerate our growth, we have built   a strong foothold in Hong Kong. We recently established our regional headquarters in Hong Kong’s financial hub which will give us a leg up to growing our presence in the North Asia region.

Looking abroad, being successfully onboarded onto Singapore’s Networked Trade Platform (“NTP”) as a Value-Added Service Provider was a major accomplishment not only because admission standards were incredibly stringent, but also because it opened many doors for us to reach the entire trade ecosystem on the platform, from importers, exporters to logistics providers.

The fintech wave is unstoppable, and we’re only just getting started. We have big plans to be a Global Electronic Money Institution for Businesses and secure licenses in all major financial centres. We are eyeing expansion into Malaysia later this year and are continuing to build our cross-border payments solution, to simplify payments, collections, treasury management and financing. 

About the Author

Benjamin is a business driver whose entrepreneurial instincts and clarity of vision has carried multiple companies through rapid and continuous growth, Benjamin Wong is the founder and CEO of TranSwap. He oversees the day-to-day business operations, as well as the company’s strategic direction and business development.
Prior to TranSwap, Benjamin was a professional accountant before he moved into the corporate world and held senior management positions. His previous roles include Chief Financial Officer (Head of Planning and Finance) in a Tanker/shipping industry and Global Director in a pharmaceutical solution industry.
Under his thought leadership, coupled with extensive industry knowledge and a well-rounded business perspective, Benjamin has successfully launched start-ups and grown them into corporate businesses. 
Benjamin graduated from the Imperial College of London with a MBA and DIC in Management