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Airwallex’s global plans for growth

Last week I caught up with Jack Zhang, CEO and co-founder of Airwallex, the $5.5bn-valued startup that has turned its B2B cross-border payments service into a cross-border platform and global business account service.

Airwallex key financial metrics for 2021

My full conversation with Jack is available on Forbes, but here are some of the key takeaways from our discussion:

  • Airwallex is growing rapidly. Jack says the company has growth of at least 300% in every market it currently operates in, and its revenue run rate, which was $100m in 2021, is expected to triple in 2022.
  • The majority of the company’s business now comes from a SaaS model, with its platform services – which cover payouts, acceptance, treasury and card issuing on a domestic and international level – accounting for around 60% of the business.
  • The other 40% is its business account products, which Jack sees as providing a “global virtual bank” to digital native companies that rivals offerings from the likes of Citi.
  • Underpinning its offering is a significant proprietary infrastructure, with multiple connections in many of the 90+ countries it serves and around 93% of its transactions going through its network. 
  • However, the company isn’t interested in rivalling SWIFT as a protocol provider. Jack sees Airwallex as “complementary” to SWIFT, and uses SWIFT for the remaining 7% of transactions it doesn’t handle directly. 
  • Looking forward, the main focus is on growth. Airwallex is set to launch in the Middle East and South America this year and plans to have global coverage “very soon”. The company is also launching a credit solution in 2022, and is exploring crypto products. 

Read my conversation with Jack Zhang, CEO of Airwallex

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