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Feb. 19, 2009
Sumitomo Corporation

Sumitomo Corporation Actively Involved in Overseas Telecommunication Business / Investment in first MVNO in Malaysia

In January 2009, Sumitomo Corporation with a Head Office at Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan (hereafter "Sumitomo") (whose President and CEO is Mr. Susumu Kato) invested Ringgit Malaysia 30 Million (equivalent to Japanese Yen 750 million) in Merchantrade Asia Sdn Bhd, a Malaysia incorporated company, with prepaid mobile service and remittance service as its business activities, and having its  Corporate Office in Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia, (hereafter, "Merchantrade") (whose Managing Director is Mr. Ramasamy Veeran),.


Merchantrade's business activities are prepaid mobile and remittance services targeting foreign workers,  working in Malaysia namely from Bangladesh, Indonesia (remittance services only), Nepal, Philippines, Vietnam, India and Sri Lanka.  In Malaysia, there are over 2 million foreign workers in various industries such as construction, plantation, manufacturing and service sector.


The first MVNO in Malaysia, Merchantrade capitalizes on mobile network infrastructure facilities owned by Celcom (Malaysia) Berhad. Operators with similar arrangement as Merchantrade are known as Mobile Virtual Network Operator ('MVNO'). Merchantrade launched its mobile service in mid 2007 and as at January 2009, it has 94,000 over active subscribers.


As for the remittance service, Merchantrade obtained the license to operate remittance business from Central Bank of Malaysia in 2007. One of the pioneer non-bank organizations to receive license to operate remittance business in Malaysia, Merchantrade outbound remittance transaction numbers is growing aggressively. Such remittance service is in line of the global efforts targeting to secure the transparency on the personal remittance.


Merchantrade's strength is in its unique business model providing both mobile service and remittance service which are foreign workers' basic needs. Customers can remit their money to their beneficiaries (mainly family) in their home countries at Merchantrade's branches, which are strategically located at foreign workers' populated areas.
 Also, the customers can call their beneficiaries through Merchantrade's mobile service, which offers attractive IDD (International Direct Dialing) rates. Upon receipt of the remittance money by the customer's beneficiary, the customer will be notified that the beneficiary has received such money via short messaging service.


For future initiative, Merchantrade is studying the market acceptance to launch mobile remittance in Malaysia.  Integrated mobile and remittance services are a trend in mobile industry which is gaining acceptance. Mobile operators in overseas with Sumitomo investment are preparing the launch for such integrated service.


Based on Sumitomo's mobile business experience in other countries, Sumitomo will contribute to Merchantrade by supporting its deployment of new services such as above mentioned integrated service and marketing expansion, and also by enhancing its corporate governance.


Sumitomo has been developing its business in the Telecommunication & IT field such as mobile communication, mobile contents, wireless broadband service, and fixed-line communication, in overseas especially in Mongolia, Indonesia, Russia, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Sumitomo is looking at growth potential and strategic values on "mobile communication service" and "mobile value added service", and aggressively pursuing the opportunities to enter into those businesses in overseas. Sumitomo creates value chain & synergy of those businesses through its participation and brings state-of-the-art technology or business model in Japan where the mobile market is well advanced.


Company Overviews
Company Name                          : Merchantrade Asia Sdn Bhd
Location of Head Office             : Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Incorporated                                : November 1996
Managing Director                     :Ramasamy Veeran
Share Ratio after Investment  : Founder and Investors:80%
                                                           Sumitomo Corporation:20%
Number of Employee                  : 200
Area of Business                          : Mobile Service Provider (MVNO) , Remittance Service

                                                           Provider for Foreign Workers


<MTASB's shop at KL>


MTASB's shop at KL


<SIM Card, Reload Card for MTASB's prepaid mobile service >



SIM Card, Reload Card for MTASB's prepaid mobile service



Corporate Communications Department,
Sumitomo Corporation

TEL:+81-3-5166-3100News Release Contact Form

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