AWS HKT & TNG Case Study_Logo

TNG Management Saves 40% of Its Time Using AWS as Single-Source Provider

2020

Global Remittance across more than 25 Countries

For more than 1.7 billion people in the world without bank accounts, saving income they earned abroad or sending it back home can be a challenge. TNG FinTech Group (“TNG” or “The Group”) aims to improve the lives of the unbanked population in Asia by providing social and financial inclusion. Using TNG’s mobile app, customers can access real-time global fund transfers, global payment, and cash pickup in more than 25 countries. Remittance services are offered to anyone, anywhere, with competitive foreign exchange rates and relatively low transaction fees.

Launched in November 2015 in Hong Kong, TNG is best known for its flagship digital or electronic product, TNG Wallet. In October 2019, TNG introduced TNG Mastercard, which allows customers to increase the amount of cash in their wallet accounts and use the card anywhere Mastercard is accepted. In addition to B2C services, the Group also works with various retailers, e-wallet providers, and banks to provide an API for payment and fund transfer processing as well as conducting Know Your Customer (KYC) analytics.

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With Amazon EKS, engineers can set up a container and start running analytics in just 15 minutes.”

Billy Leung
IT Manager, TNG FinTech Group

Scaling Better, Shifting to DevOps

During its initial years, TNG mostly used on-premises data centers. However, as the business grew, scaling proved difficult. The Group runs regular promotional campaigns to attract new customers but didn’t want to invest in additional servers that would remain idle most of the year. Currently, it processes more than one million transactions each month. That figure has risen steadily—at least 30 percent month-on-month since launching—as TNG has expanded its services and geographic footprint.

TNG also started shifting its internal ways of working, employing more DevOps practices to promote automation in an agile development cycle. Migrating to the cloud was a natural choice—for scaling as well as new analytics functions based on DevOps—and the company’s founders had prior experience with Amazon Web Services (AWS). “We approached cloud vendors like Microsoft and Google but found their solutions were not as comprehensive as what AWS provides. In terms of the overall scope of features offered, stability, availability, and worldwide design of the platform, AWS is a pioneer,” says Billy Leung, IT manager at TNG.

Serverless First, Containers Second

TNG used Amazon API Gateway to connect its on-premises operations with the AWS Cloud and began setting up a data lake for reporting and analytics using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). In line with its move toward DevOps, engineers adopted a serverless-first approach to analytics, introducing containers to simplify data processing. Teams use Docker containers to collect transaction data, for example, when and where the TNG Mastercard is used and for how much.

With the migration to analytics on AWS, TNG implemented Kubernetes into its architecture and uses Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) to manage those containers. “With Amazon EKS, engineers can set up a container and start running analytics in just 15 minutes,” Leung says. TNG leverages the insights gained to determine suitable partnerships it can offer retailers to boost store traffic.

Quicker Processing Time with Automation

TNG also takes advantage of Amazon Athena and AWS Glue to run serverless queries with extract, transform, and load functionality. It uses Amazon Athena to automate queries in its wallet service, so customers can easily retrieve information on past transactions, with no manual intervention required from TNG staff. The Group relies on AWS Glue to transform raw data from the CSV file format before it is integrated into Amazon Athena for processing or transferred to the data lake on Amazon S3.

“In the past, we had to do a lot of coding work by ourselves and scalability was also a problem with CSV files. After moving to AWS, we can leverage cloud resources like AWS Glue and Amazon Athena to shorten the processing time,” says Chris Chan, head of engineering at TNG.

The Group has also reduced application latency since AWS launched its AWS Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) Region. Previously, TNG was running from the AWS Asia Pacific (Singapore) Region and experiencing latencies of 30 milliseconds or less, which was still within the target range for transaction processing. Now, Chan says, latencies have dropped to single digits.

Expertise from Enterprise Support

Throughout the migration, TNG has relied on AWS for its expertise in working with banks and other fintechs. The Group recently subscribed to AWS Enterprise Support and has biweekly meetings with its Technical Account Manager to seek recommendations on issues such as setting up an elastic IP address. The DevOps team values the 24/7 aspect of AWS Enterprise Support, in addition to the depth of AWS documentation online. Chan explains, “Developers are happier because they can do more themselves, and if there are issues with coding or if they have any doubts, they can quickly get technical support.”

Chan adds, “Management is also satisfied, because we have a more systematic way of approaching new projects.” TNG management is equally pleased about the cost savings achieved, which are heightened through the use of an integrated AWS account on AWS Enterprise Support. They estimate a decrease of nearly 50 percent in the cost of running analytics on the AWS Cloud compared to the data center. TNG is also looking to AWS Enterprise Support for guidance on new projects, such as building a virtual banking platform.

Compliance Assured

Security by design is now incorporated in the company’s cloud infrastructure. Engineers went through the AWS Well-Architected Framework to ensure compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a requirement from its partners including local banks and regulatory bodies such as the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. “Partners using our API to combat money laundering or for KYC tracking need to make sure sensitive information is well protected in the IT infrastructure,” Leung says. “Using the AWS Well-Architected Framework gives them confidence that all information is highly secure.”

In addition, TNG’s management saves time from an auditing perspective by using AWS. “External auditors are happy with the documentation provided by AWS. It’s comprehensive and they can collect all the figures they want from one place,” Leung explains. “On a yearly basis, this will save about 30–40 percent of management’s time by having all solutions on a single-source provider.”

To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/financial-services.


About TNG FinTech Group

TNG FinTech Group is an investment holding company dedicated to providing social, financial, and digital inclusion services in Asia. The Group offers B2C services such as its flagship TNG Wallet and global remittance across more than 25 countries. It also provides B2B products including payment processing gateways to banks, e-wallet providers, and retailers.

Benefits of AWS

  • Spends 30–40% less time on vendor management and procurement
  • Reports application latencies of less than 10 milliseconds
  • Estimates nearly 50% cost savings for analytics infrastructure
  • Ensures compliance with PCI DSS and other security protocols for regulators
  • Receives ongoing support for best design practices

AWS Services Used

Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. Amazon S3 is designed for 99.999999999% (11 9's) of durability, and stores data for millions of applications for companies all around the world.

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Amazon Athena

Amazon Athena is an interactive query service that makes it easy to analyze data in Amazon S3 using standard SQL. Athena is serverless, so there is no infrastructure to manage, and you pay only for the queries that you run.

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Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) is a fully managed Kubernetes service. EKS runs upstream Kubernetes and is certified Kubernetes conformant so you can leverage all benefits of open source tooling from the community. You can also easily migrate any standard Kubernetes application to EKS without needing to refactor your code.

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AWS Glue

AWS Glue is a fully managed extract, transform, and load (ETL) service that makes it easy for customers to prepare and load their data for analytics. You can create and run an ETL job with a few clicks in the AWS Management Console. You simply point AWS Glue to your data stored on AWS, and AWS Glue discovers your data and stores the associated metadata (e.g. table definition and schema) in the AWS Glue Data Catalog.

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