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Startups in Asia

Fintech unicorn rewrites forex rules to snag big bank profits

Australian startup taps machine learning for cross-border payment

MICHELLE CHAN, Nikkei staff writer | China

HONG KONG -- The struggles of a specialty coffee shop run by two budding entrepreneurs in Melbourne lie behind the success of Airwallex, Australia's newest unicorn, which provides easy foreign exchange transactions for startups and other small companies.

In 2015, computer engineer Jack Zhang and architect Max Li opened a coffee house in Melbourne's high-rise Docklands district. Looking to cut costs, the two decided to import cups and labels from China but hit an unexpected wall: the costly and grueling cross-border payments system.

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