Fintech has undoubtedly become a major industry over the last few years and has revolutionized the way transactions take place. This is especially so in the Asia Pacific region where, according to a report conducted by PwC and Startupbootcamp, 56% of global funding invested in fintech, amounting to US$14.8 billion, was brought into the region. The report also states that the four primary areas the fintech industry is concerned with are financial inclusion, wealth management, regulatory technology, and insurance technology.
The industry’s growth is perhaps reflected by the eagerness displayed by policy-makers around the world. In Thailand, where fintech has seen significant growth, the government has pushed efforts in positioning the country as one of the top fintech hubs in the ASEAN region as part of its ‘Thailand 4.0’ initiative which aims to propel the Kingdom towards becoming a developed nation, requiring the adoption of new and innovative technologies.
Thailand’s enthusiasm for fintech is likewise reflected by the announcement of ‘The Fintech Act’ which, according to the Bangkok Post, will be enacted by the end of this year. The Act, which is being drafted by the finance, banking, financial institutions, and capital markets subcommittee of the National Legislative Assembly, aims to ease the ability of investors, financial institutions, and the public to access information from government organizations. Proponents of the Act claim that the law will reinforce the competitiveness of local fintech firms by facilitating a robust ecosystem in the country.
Greater opportunity for growth
While the industry has made significant strides in revolutionizing the financial landscape in the region, there is certainly room for further growth. According to a report by The World Bank, 1.7 billion adults are still unbanked, most of whom are in emerging markets such as China, India, and Indonesia. In ASEAN, KPMG estimates that only 27% of the region’s 600 million people have bank accounts, creating significant barriers to accessing capital and saving money. This lack of access to finance may be an opportunity for fintech firms and their affiliates to capture untapped markets, particularly in the midst of increasingly open regulations surrounding fintech.
Fintech’s growth can likewise occur vis-à-vis the industry’s constant drive for innovation. CNBC states that some of the biggest trends in fintech include artificial intelligence and blockchain, both of which seek to improve liquidity, financial inclusion, and the overall consumer experience in a way that elicits trust. This is echoed by data released by PwC stating that over 82% of financial institutions expect to increase fintech partnerships in the next three to five years, with 77% expecting to adopt blockchain in their processes by 2020.
With regulators and established financial institutions seeking further fintech integration, as well as the burgeoning number of start-ups aiming to disrupt the financial industry, fintech’s presence will unequivocally become increasingly omnipresent.
1. ‘The State of Fintech”, PwC and Startupbootcamp Presentation as of 17/10/2018 (https://www.pwc.com/sg/en/publications/assets/fintech-startupbootcamp-state-of-fintech-2017.pdf)
2. ‘The State of Fintech”, PwC and Startupbootcamp Presentation as of 17/10/2018 (https://www.pwc.com/sg/en/publications/assets/fintech-startupbootcamp-state-of-fintech-2017.pdf)
4. “The Global Findex Database 2017: Measuring Financial Inclusions and the Fintech Revolution”, Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Leora Klapper, Dorothe Singer, Saniya Ansar, Jake Hess, World Bank Group as of 17/10/2018 (file available here: https://globalfindex.worldbank.org/)