Bee for electronic payment solutions intends to establish a production line to manufacture point of sale (POS) machines in Egypt. This move is to avoid the high cost of importing. According to Mohamed Abu Khadra, the marketing director of Bee in Egypt, in an interview with Daily News Egypt, the company launched its app early this month. Moreover, the company injected about EGP 70m worth of investments in the market, from a total of EGP 100m allocated for Egypt by the company in 2011.
What is the difference between the investment climate now and in 2011?
In 2011, we had started our services in Egypt. We faced many challenges on the back of the 25 January Revolution, even though the economy was to some extent stable through 2011. The US dollar exchange rate was EGP 6.
Because Bee is a foreign company, the company potentially was faced with a strong reaction from the street. The team feared the impending instability in the future.
Nowadays, the economic conditions are different. The government seeks to create projects and build a strong infrastructure. Moreover, the market is still in its infancy. The developments of the communication sector and the entry of a fourth mobile operator is a golden chance for Bee in particular and e-payments in general.
In 2017, the market will see the emergence of a number of e-payment companies, which proves the importance of the market and its potential growth.
How did the instability of the exchange rate impact investments in Egypt?
With regard to investments in general, the instability of the exchange rate delayed many investments, as the instability of the US dollar price meant a hazy vision for the future of the Egyptian market.
Furthermore, certain events were unexpected, in terms of wages, electricity bills, and other costthat became unpredictable.
Was the e-payment sector affected by the lack of legislation?
Bee does not demand any legislation from government bodies during the current period. The e-payments sector in general was not impacted by the lack of legislations and laws, unlike other sectors that rely on a stable legislative climate.
The unstable dollar price caused the price of POS to increase. How did you overcome this problem?
The current economic conditions prompted the company to begin the establishment of a POS factory in Egypt, amid high import costs, shipping fees, and customs tariffs, as well as the price of the POS themselves. Bee now imports some parts of the POS and assembles them with locally produced components in a small production line.
We will work on investing in the production line through selling POS to other companies, even if they are our competitors.
POS manufacturing in Egypt saves 50% of the costs.
How do you see competition in the Egyptian market?
The e-payments sector is growing rapidly. Competition is healthy, where it helps companies provide better services to clients. It also contributes to spreading the culture of e-payments across the nation and brings in new clients.
What competitive advantages do you have compared to other companies?
Our quality, service, and stability. We offer 24/7 customer service to respond to inquiries and complaints, and assist clients quickly.
Bee is now the second best e-payment solutions company in Egypt.
How do you improve your customer service?
Our customer service teams were trained in the company and serve as employees of Bee. We did not use outsourcing to ensure providing strong customer support.
You allocated EGP 100m for Egypt in 2011. What are the developments with this investment?
The company earmarked EGP 100m to inject in the Egyptian market over five years. We have invested some EGP 60-70m so far.
How many POS do you have?
We now have 23,000-25,000 POS nationwide. We expanded in the past period across the republic, including places that are hard to penetrate such as North and South Sinai.
What is the size of transactions on your network?
The size of transactions through Bee network amounted to EGP 1.4bn in 2015.
Who are the main actors that you cooperate with to provide your services?
We cooperated with many entities such as Telecom Egypt (TE), for whom we offer all payments through our POS. Bee also cooperates with EgyptAir, offers payment for cinema tickets, and provides e-payment for Travel Star bookings. We will be offering more services in the future.
Bee also cooperates with the education sector, including providing e-payment services for tuition fees for eight universities, including Cairo University, Ain Shams University, and Fayoum University.
What are your plans for mobile payments?
The company introduced an application for smartphones at the beginning of November. The app provides many services, being an e-wallet itself. Clients can recharge this wallet and it can do the rest. The app will remind the clients of due dates for paying phone, mobile, and internet bills. The value of the transaction is then deducted from the e-wallet. The app also can tell clients where the nearest Bee POS is located through GPS.