The report, which provides an APAC-centric deep-dive into the Global Fintech Rankings released mid-2021, highlights the vital role fintech innovation has in closing the gaps between the ‘banked’, ‘underserved’ and ‘unbanked’, particularly in countries which may have low levels of formal financial inclusion, but high levels of smartphone ownership and internet penetration.
Simon Hardie, CEO & co-founder at findexable, said: “The 2022 rankings of Asia Pacific fintech hubs are testament to the region's diversity, ingenuity, and commitment to innovation. With 45 hubs across the region (one third more than in 2020) - fintech firms across Asia Pacific are proving fintech is the engine of the digital economy. More importantly, as this report shows, fintechs are showing that building successful businesses should go hand in hand with contributing to wider financial inclusion and development goals.”
Myles Bertrand, Managing Director at Mambu, said: “We’ve seen an astounding acceleration in the rate of fintech innovation across the region over the past year, and while some of that was a direct result of the pandemic, the adoption of new financial technologies is now being driven primarily by consumer demand. Consumers across Asia Pacific have experienced how digital banking technologies can make their lives easier, with a huge range of faster, more convenient and much less expensive ways to manage their money. So, we’re seeing a rapidly growing number of previously unbanked consumers who are now able to participate in the formal economy.”
Bryan Carroll, CEO of innovative Vietnamese digital-only bank TNEX, who was interviewed for the report, agreed with this assessment, adding: “We have customers whose annual income may be less than $2,000. These are people who, in the past, wouldn’t be able to afford banking.”
The report, which includes in-depth looks at Vietnam and Indonesia, and commentary from a number of Asia Pacific fintech leaders, identifies the countries and cities leading the fintech charge in the region, including Jakarta, which jumped 27 places in the city rankings this year, and New Zealand, which rose 15 places in the country rankings to sit inside the top 10 for the first time. Also unpacked in the report are some of the new financial technologies – particularly in the payments space – that are changing the way that people across the Asia Pacific region manage their money, where cash has been relegated from its long-held position of king.
However, while fintech innovation is increasing at pace, old roadblocks remain and new barriers arise frequently, with the report highlighting some of the issues faced by fintechs due to the region’s complex regulatory framework and the disparity in economic maturity of different countries.
“Asia is home to nearly half of the Top 20 global fintech hubs identified in the report, but the differing regulations from country to country can be a real hindrance to multinational growth in the region,” continued Bertrand. “Each country’s central bank or government has its own agenda, so it’s incredibly important for fintechs to work collaboratively with the regulators in each country to understand their concerns, and to help support the creation of mutually beneficial ecosystems that support innovation. That’s what’s going to truly drive continued improvements in financial inclusion.”
For further insight and commentary into the findings of the report, download the webinar-on-demand Fintech in Asia – Defining Success at Scale, which discusses the booming fintech landscape in Asia Pacific and features Simon Hardie from findexable, Myles Bertrand from Mambu, Bryan Carroll from TNEX, Arvind Sankaran from AFG Partners, Yosia Sugialam from Paper.id.