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Fintech hold massive potential for Asian businesses

KPMG reports that only 27% of the region’s 600 million inhabitants had a bank account in 2016.

Not only does fintech hold massive potential for Asian businesses – those who do not get on board soon will be left behind, warns Lawrence Yeo.

Fintech is a new financial industry that applies technology to improve financial activities, with key areas being the automation of insurance, trading and risk management.

Between 2005 and 2015, global investment in fintech increased by more than 2200%, from $930m to some $22bn.

Fintech’s potential remains big. From the demand side across much of south-east Asia, the unmet need for basic banking services is significant. KPMG reports that only 27% of the region’s 600 million inhabitants had a bank account in 2016.

From the supply side, a new wave of start-ups is increasingly ‘disaggregating’ global banks. Milken Institute’s Centre for Financial Markets reports that much of the venture capital in Asia has flowed into China, particularly among a handful of large tech companies. Yet other countries also are seeking to position themselves as fintech hubs.

The Straits Times reported that multimillion-dollar investments were reported in 2017 in Hong Kong (in digital wallet operator TNG FinTech Group), in India (in online lending platform Capital Float) and in South Korea’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange, Korbit.

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