With the annual Global Islamic Fintech Summit (GIFS) coming to Malaysia this October, Marketing In Asia had the chance to have a tête-à-tête session with the man behind ZEN Global Limited, Takamasa Kawasaki, Founder and CEO, as he continues to expand the charity market and support charity organisations on a global scale.
Konnichiwa Kawasaki-san. Welcome to Marketing In Asia. Can you share with us a little bit about yourself and your role in the company?
Konnichiwa. Thank you for this great opportunity to introduce myself and our new and only product, “ZEN Tracking Solution Service” which is to be used, as a first step, on “ZEN Charity Platform”.
My name is Takamasa Kawasaki, CEO of Zen Global Limited. Once I worked for a listed company in Taiwan as CEO. We created a charity platform business in the Japan market with a revenue of over USD100 million, which led us to a successful IPO in 2016. After I left the previous company, I am now the founder and CEO of ZEN Global limited, where I worked as a leader of the start-up.
As an entrepreneur, what was your journey like to get to where you are?
During my tenure in the previous company, I realised there was a serious issue in the charity space: transparency and traceability. The charity industry is huge, say the size of the UK + the US market, estimated over USD450 billion. However, the “lack of transparency and traceability” problem remained, which deterred the market from achieving its potential size. When I researched Blockchain technology, I realised this can be a means to solve the issue drastically. Hence, I decided to incorporate a new company and grow by combining my experience with Blockchain technology.
ZEN Limited made a soft launch of a new global fundraising platform with a technological core based on advanced Blockchain technology. Can you share with us more on this, Kawasaki-san?
Our core technologies are “ZEN Data Stream (ZDS)” and “ZEN Visualizer” to support the platform. The ZDS, which is developed based on the Ethereum technology, enables us to achieve traceability, transparency, data security and potential cost reduction for clients. On the other hand, the ZEN Visualizer automatically generates a report on the usage of the fund on a real-time basis.
Research shows that more transparency brings more donation. ZEN works for charities who want to enhance accountability fueled by the advanced technology above for their stakeholders, especially donors, to achieve their charitable objectives by an increase of donation. Those who were sceptical about the use of donations and were hesitant to donate will be convinced with the advent of this platform – which will allow them to make donations without hesitation. As a result, our platform will be able to expand the Charity market and support Charity organisations on a global scale.
At the moment, there are roughly 1.8 billion Muslims in the world now, nearly a quarter of the world population today. With the rise and growth of the Islamic economy, how do you see the future of Islamic FinTech?
I am definitely certain that Islamic FinTech serves huge advantages to the world as the Muslim population grows rapidly. Not to mention, the nature of Islamic FinTech also provides stronger ties with customers who need more options to choose from.
Kawasaki-san, in your opinion, how do you see the importance of marketing strategy from the Islamic Digital Economy point of view?
In Japan, there are thousands of great products worth spreading to the world. Little marketing strategy is necessary to reach out to the Japanese as Japan is a homogeneous society. However, when it comes to the people outside of Japan with a different culture, due to minimal effort on marketing strategy, most of the great products have been unknown to the people.
The Islamic Digital Economy is already huge. It is said that by 2020, the Muslim population will account for one-fourth of the world’s population. The Islamic electronic economy has played a very important role in bringing together these people scattered around the world and their teachings, I believe it will play a big role in the global economy in the future. As similar to the Japan example, a marketing strategy considering the cultural difference might be worthy of study.
One of the major issues in the world today is Islamophobia. With this crisis still lingering around, personally, how do you think marketing will play a role in interacting with the future of the Islamic economy?
In developing our business, we realise the social issues that charities are trying to solve are common all over the world. Since Islam considers things from the standpoint of weaker people, a donation society is established. Our first client is an Islamic charity. Though we are a start-up, what we can do is to let people know we are on the same page to make the world a better place. We do hope this can be a contribution to the Islamic economy to overcome Islamophobia.
For those who wish to get in touch with you, what is the best way?
Please feel free to contact me at ZEN Charity Platform.
Anything you wish to share with our readers, Kawasaki-san?
“See every donated penny make a difference”. It would be great if you’d visit our website and experience it. The full-scale launch is to be made soon.