Another e-commerce giant has joined the bitcoin world, with major Malaysian online mobile phone and electronic parts retailer i-Pmart adding it to the list of accepted payment methods last week.
CEO and founder Mart Tang also said the company will hold onto the bitcoins it earns and watch the price rise, rather than convert them into local fiat currency.
Although based in Malaysia, the company ships worldwide from outlets in its home country, plus China and the US. The bitcoin option was introduced first to the Malaysian site only, though international customers may still use that version.
All other i-Pmart sites worldwide will start accepting about 20 days from now, as soon as the integration process is complete.
What's most surprising about i-Pmart's decision is the lack of fanfare with which bitcoin was added to the list of options. Rather than publicizing it, or even celebrating the announcement with its 730,000+ fans on Facebook, the company added the bare-bones line "We accept bitcoin" and an icon into its long list of existing payment options.
i-Pmart is also a big seller of litecoin mining equipment, selling GPU-based rigs both to advanced users to self-assemble with the 'Savvy Pack’, and a 'Newbie Pack’ for beginners that includes the option to have i-Pmart assemble, host and even operate the hardware for them.
Despite this, however, the company is not adding litecoin as a payment option yet.
CEO Tang said his interest in bitcoin came from being an IT entrepreneur always searching the Internet for the latest tech information and gadgets.
Shortly after absorbing everything he could about bitcoin and other digital currencies, he began hearing about merchants in other countries accepting bitcoin and studied how to become a digital currency miner himself.
"This gives me more insight into bitcoins and others types of coin on how it works and benefits from it," he said.
"That's how I have started to think if I have customers who want to use bitcoin to purchase my products online which gives convenience of various types of payment choice especially those who do not prefer to pay using their credit card, cash or other mode of payment."
He then sat down with his web development team to discuss how to integrate bitcoin as a mode of payment in the business portal www.ipmart.com globally.
"[I'm] looking forward to the new world of virtual payment choice, which I believe can be the future of global virtual currency that people might embrace, especially the Gen Y."
"I am holding the bitcoin. Because having a very big confidence the price of bitcoin is not the rates of today USD 650, should be higher than this price very soon."
The i-Pmart Group of Companies was founded in 2001, and has focused mainly on the international market since 2005. It has 'MSC status’ in Malaysia, meaning it is part of the country's 'Multimedia Super Corridor' initiative designed to promote Malaysia as a regional center for world-class technology businesses.
The group now consists of domestic and internationally-focused retail sites, plus arms specializing in management, development, and logistics.