Tue, Dec 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Taipei fish market swaps cash for digital payments

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, second right, Bank SinoPac senior vice president Ting Chen, third left, Taipei Department of Economic Development Commissioner Lin Chung-chieh, second left, and other guests attend yesterday’s launch of the Taipei Fish Market’s digital payment system.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government yesterday announced the implementation of an electronic payment (e-payment) system at the city’s wholesale fish market to improve the speed and security of its many daily transactions.

It is the nation’s first e-payment system at a wholesale fish market, the Taipei Market Administration Office said, adding that it hopes to speed up transactions and spare dealers from carrying large amounts of cash.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said the Taipei Fish Market is the nation’s largest, with about 1,700 registered dealers and a yearly transaction volume of about 25,700 tonnes, corresponding to a turnover of about NT$3 billion (US$99.94 million).

Dealers have to carry a lot of cash or write checks when making transactions and it takes about two or three days to process their accounts, Ko said, adding that the e-payment system aims to improve flexibility and provide merchants with more financial liquidity.

“Taipei has good public security, but it is still unconfortable to have to carry NT$200,000 or NT$300,000 in cash in the middle of the night,” Ko said, adding that if the system runs smoothly at the fish market, it will also be implemented at the city’s flower, fruit and vegetable markets.

Nearly NT$2 billion has been earmarked for reconstruction of the city’s three wholesale markets, and Ko said he hopes that the markets’ interior would also be improved with floor plans that separate wet and dry sections, mechanisms to keep waste off the floor and methods to maintain an organized environment.

“My goal is to make coins and bills disappear in Taipei in the shortest time possible,” Ko said, adding that the city government would push for a transition to e-commerce and e-distribution, starting with the public sector and moving on to the private sector.

Asked about next year’s mayoral election, Ko frowned, lowered his head onto the table, sighed and slapped his hand on his forehead.

Taiwanese politics seems to only focus on elections, as if nothing else that happens is important, he said, adding that the nation seems to have nothing to worry about besides the local elections, which are not to be held for another year.

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