Boku pay volumes jump as coronavirus keeps users home

(Reuters) - U.S.-based mobile payments provider Boku Inc published bullish results for the first two months of 2020 on Tuesday, suggesting it had benefited from a surge in people ordering from home in countries hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Shares in the firm, one of the few public companies to say openly it has profited from the outbreak, jumped 12% on London’s AIM exchange after it said it was doing better in Asian countries hit hardest by the epidemic.

“The recent growth we have seen in those countries that are most affected has been higher than in those where the virus has had a more limited impact so far,” Chief Executive Officer Jon Prideaux said.

“In general, the more time people spend indoors, the more our platform is utilised.”

The San Francisco-based company, still a tiny player in the payment space in comparison with more established names like Paypal, said total payment volumes rose 30% to $966 million in January and February, slightly more than it had anticipated.

Boku, which allows users to pay using their mobile phone number and can be used on Playstation and Spotify among other apps, said it saw a rise in the number of daily average users in the second half of February versus the second half of January in South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines and the United Arab Emirates.

“It validates the thesis that people will turn to escapism offered by digital content on mobiles during times of crises,” analysts from London-based brokerage Peel Hunt said in a note on the company.

Reporting by Patrick Graham and Ankur Banerjee; Editing by Bernard Orr