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Business trends

Vietnam and Thailand lead drive to make Southeast Asia cashless

Singapore and Malaysia fall behind leapfrogging less-developed countries

Mobile Internet Asia
A Manila resident watches a movie on a mobile phone. More than 90% of Southeast Asians connect to the internet primarily through their smartphones, according to a Google-Temasek study.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Governments across Southeast Asia are pushing ahead with efforts to create cashless economies, with less developed countries such as Vietnam and Thailand leapfrogging richer ones like Singapore and Malaysia in electronic payments.

Vietnam and Thailand are experiencing a boom in mobile payments as more people use e-wallets to pay for goods and services without going through an intermediary like a bank.

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