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Cellum Global partners with Indonesiaʼs Telkom group

Hungarian mobile payment company Cellum Global signed a strategic cooperation and investment agreement with Metranet, the digital services unit of Indonesiaʼs leading telecommunications group Telkom, in Budapest on Tuesday, according to local reports.   

Under the agreement, Telkom Indonesia will acquire a 30.4% stake in Cellum in two steps and ensure the companyʼs expansion on the Indonesian market. Operative control of Cellum will remain with the companyʼs current management. 

Cellum Global Chairman-CEO János Kóka did not disclose the scale of Telkomʼs injection in Cellum, citing local capital market rules, but claimed it is the biggest investment on the Hungarian FinTech market and ensures Cellum can finance its growth.

"For Cellum, the agreement is an important milestone," Kóka was quoted as saying by online news portal napi.hu. "It is much more than a significant financial investment. Telkom already chose Cellumʼs FinTech platform for its business services earlier, but today the leading company on Indonesiaʼs infocommunications market has committed itself fully to our cooperation. The partnership enables us to raise our business activities to a higher level in Indonesia and the region," he added.

"Telkom plays a leading role in the digital transformation of Indonesia, of which financial technology is an indispensable element," said Joddy Hernady, vice president for media and digital services at Telkom Indonesia. "Cellumʼs platform offers a secure basis for us to launch up-to-date FinTech services which make our customersʼ lives easier, and signify new business opportunities for our corporate partners."

"When business people in Central Europe look to enter important foreign markets, typically they think of Western countries," observed Kóka. "Our industry is different, however: currently the worldʼs most rapidly expanding FinTech market is Southeast Asia."

Cellumʼs FinTech platform is already used by Indonesiaʼs state motorway management agencyʼs digital toll payment system in test operation, Hungarian news agency MTI cited Kóka as saying. Cellum will spend the invested capital on product development and innovation, including development of banking and telecommunication services, developing blockchain technologies and market development in Indonesia, MTI added.

Cellum had revenues of between USD 2.5 mln and USD 3 mln last year, up 25%, according to preliminary data, Kóka said. Revenue is projected to exceed USD 10 mln by 2020-2021, he added. The firmʼs partners include Telenor, Magyar Telekom, OTP Bank, Erste Bank, FHB Bank and MasterCard. The system operated by Cellum manages more than 20 mln secure transactions a year, stated MTI.

Napi.hu noted that Indonesia, as the largest economy in Southeast Asia, has maintained close to 5% annual GDP growth in the past five years. It added that the Telkom group has more than 130 million customers in the country of 261 million people, half of whom are aged under 30. Telkom is partly state-owned, partly in private hands, and its shares are listed on several international stock exchanges.