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French FinTech pioneer FIME: Safeguarding your payments everywhere

This year’s Future Commerce Expo for the first time ever saw organizer Business Next collaborate closely with the French Office Taipei. In the so-called French Pavilion, companies from France showed off their innovative products and services to great interest from the international audience.

Alongside well-known heavyweights such as Carrefour, EdenRed, and Decathlon, FinTech pioneer FIME also participated in the 2017 exhibition. The company, which specializes in financial transaction security and mobile payments, gained much attention regarding their services and Taipei representation.

Following the success of Future Commerce, Meet/Business Next had the chance to sit down with FIME Asia’s vice president Arnaud Peninon. In this exclusive interview, the Frenchman talks about his company, his experience in Taiwan, as well as FIME’s cooperation with local firms.

Focus on FinTech security

Hailing from France, FIME specializes in market integration services for secure chip-based applications, as well as tokens and devices. Among their comprehensive services, FIME also provides chip-based devices, payment-testing tools, and consulting services to its clients.

In essence, the company sees itself as a safeguard of the whole FinTech sector and a close ally of the banking industry. Since it is closely involved with smart- cards, over 80% of transactions are linked to FIME’s services.

While its staff may be comparatively small, many industries are directly or indirectly connected to FIME’s comprehensive service, Peninon says. Currently, more than 3000 international banks are using FIME’s services. The VP further stresses FIME’s supportive role in regard to the industry, explaining that “we are not here to make the product, but rather to support the market.”

To ensure high customer satisfaction, FIME owns a total of seven testing labs located in different countries and tailored to the needs of the financial industry. These allow them to examine terminals, ATMs, smart-cards, as well as mobile systems.

Taiwan a second home

FIME is headquartered in Anthony,France and has international offices in Korea, Japan, India, Canada, USA, and Dubai. Yet few know that the company’s first office abroad was established in Taipei back in 2002.

“Taiwan has been the first international office for FIME,” Peninon says and adds that “it is still our second- largest one.”

According to Peninon, out of FIME’s 500 employees all over the world, Taiwan alone combines a staff of 90. Peninon himself, too, has been living in Taiwan for over 15 years, and, with his children born here, indeed thinks that “Taiwan is almost my home!”

For FIME, the island nation’s attraction lies in its advanced technology. “Taiwan is a well-known player in the smart-card industry, that’s what attracted us to open our first international office here in the first place.

For instance, Castles Technology is one of the best terminal manufacturers, and it is from Taiwan.” Peninon explains.

Local cooperation

One of FIME’s better-known clients is HTC, with whom the company is cooperating in regard to mobile payment support. In their testing labs, FIME checks the chips used in HTC smartphones for compatibility and stability issues to ensure proper functionality.

Apart from HTC, FIME also works closely with local banks on different forms of digital wallets, with security questions and mobile payments being a particular focus.

According to Peninon, Taiwan’s recent advance into digital payments has further situated it at the forefront of the region. Especially with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay gaining traction locally, Fime will see more work for its security-focused services, Peninon predicts.