Topics covered by the case include: strategic management processes; and strategies, especially of a platform business.
The case is suitable for use in final-year undergraduate business/management degree programs and MBA or MSc in Management programs. The case can be utilized in courses such as strategic management and management of innovation. For MBA and MSc in management programs, the case can also be utilized in organization theory and design and organizational management, or any courses that cover topics of strategic management and management of innovation.
By December 2010, the e-Pay terminal system was one of the most successful payment platforms in Malaysia. This business, which was launched in 1999, was an electronic prepaid mobile phone reload value distribution system known as e-Pay; it contributed about 80 per cent of the company's annual revenue. Over the past 10 years, e-Pay's terminal system had evolved into a comprehensive payment platform serving many providers on one side and end customers on the other side. However, since the past two years, the company has been facing pressures from their biggest customers on the provider side of its platform, the three giant telecommunication companies (telcos), which had moved to directly deliver reload values to their prepaid subscribers, bypassing e-Pay as the payment intermediary. On the customer side, the number of prepaid subscribers switching to postpaid services was increasing, and this threatened e-Pay's main source of revenue in the prepaid market. In response to this, the company added new service providers to its platform and launched multi-functional cashier machines with reload credits facility. By December 2010, as the market sunk into subscription saturation, the two founders of the company became deeply concerned about the company's future. They wondered if the problems would hinder their company from becoming a dominant payment player in Asia. This case presents an opportunity to discuss strategic posturing of a payment platform company operating in a mobile phone market which was mainly controlled by the telecommunication companies.
Expected learning outcomes
Understanding of strategic management process and related analysis enable case analysts to apply these concepts in many business situations involving strategy formulation and implementation.
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This case was developed mainly based on information gathered from interviews with Dato' Hassan Said and Mr Simon Loh, the founders of e-Pay Malaysia Sdn Bhd. The writing of the case was financially supported by a UKM-GSB OUP grant, code DPP-2013-148/3, titled “Aligning MBA Programme to Meet Graduates' and Industries' Expectations without Sacrificing Quality – An Exploratory Study”. The authors wish to thank Siti Khadijah Mohd Ghanie, MBA candidate at UKM-GSB, for her research assistance. The case is intended exclusively to facilitate the teaching and learning of strategic management theories and practices and does not imply effective or ineffective managerial decisions.
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