This article is written by Nardine B. M’barek, a Contributor Author at Startup Turkey.
Kivanç Onan is the General Manager of PayPal in Turkey and the MENA region. He started his career at UBS AG in Switzerland, followed by AT Kearney in New York City, and continued as a director in the strategy section at American Express. In 2008, Onan returned to Turkey as a senior manager in strategy consulting in the finance, telecom, and consumer business sectors at the Istanbul office of DeloitteStart.
Mr. Kivanç Onan is the General Manager of PayPal in both the MENA Region and Turkey. We had the honor to welcome him for some fireside chat during Startup Turkey 2016 in order to discuss the FinTech industry, as well as few matters related to it. On the other hand, Mr. Ozan Sönmez, the panel’s main speaker, conducted a small interview with Mr.Onan, and asked him about the role that companies such as PayPal have nowadays within the FinTech industry, and how are they trying to incorporate furthermore the new emerging startups, added to the impact that these startups are going to have on large companies.
Mr. Onan stated that PayPal recently announced some new partnerships with mobile phone services’ providers such as Vodafone, as well as with the electronic wallet, NFC. PayPal is a firm that likes to have partnerships with other companies, and actually has got a lot to offer to them, especially to new startups, and they do not think of any other company in the same field as a competitor. Instead, they consider themselves the largest enabler, and one of the biggest players of the field in the whole world, who is trying to do things that have never been done before, such as the PayPal Wallet.
When it comes to Blockchain and its influence on the FinTech industry today, Mr. Onan states that it is definitely a fascinating technology. From PayPal’s point of view, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency are just other kinds of currencies, and as the former CEO of PayPal mentioned, it is something that needs to be watched until we see where it leads us.
On the other hand, it is still a technology that is going through evolvement, that is very much promising, and which could help a lot in terms of investment in the future since the need to touch the money, feel it, and know what we are dealing with is still a barrier that is somehow stopping the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency industries from evolving quickly.
It is very difficult for banks to create innovation, but there are some banks who jump on the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency often these days. There seem to be some huge efforts to understand this new currency. Big banks around the world are even making attempts to launch something innovative in order to compete with the new currency that is emerging recently, and actually in order to be seen as innovative.
There is that small difference however that we can’t take hold of yet, that is being innovative and driving innovation is something very different from being seen as innovative, that is true for almost every bank in the world, even in Turkey as Mr. Onan stated, that difference is not yet realized; that is why people and companies who want to be seen as innovative are still trying to launch something new in order to be seen that way. In this case, innovations will have to respect all boundaries such as the cultural ones in order to be accepted and respected.