For over the past few years, Southeast Asia becomes one of the strong regions in terms of technology and economy. Southeast Asia consists of developed and developing countries such as Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand. So, no wonder if fintech in Southeast Asia can beat the rest of the world, as young people prefer technology more over older generation that comfortable to do the traditional ways in many things.
As the largest continent with the biggest population around 4.4 billion, it is a really big opportunity to do some fintech here. Starting last year, Singapore got a lot of investors to invest in fintech department. It is because Singapore really determine to be one of the famous hub regarding to fintech. And their government do not just sit there and watch, they give so many chances and incentives to the investors that wish to invest in Singapore.
In order to be one of the greatest fintech hub, Singapore do give tax benefits, giving hand to the investors and give easy success to regional market and these advantages attracts a lot of investors such as South Korea, United States and Canada. As a country with stable economy and high cost of living, investors thinks it is a good decision choosing Singapore as Singapore is really well-known country with developed technologies besides the benefits given by their government.
Singapore as the Fintech leader in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia can be proud when Singapore was listed in 4th place, leaving behind Hong Kong, another famous fintech hub in 7th place as listed by Ernst & Young LLP, a famous multinational professional service. Singapore is leading this region as their government realised the potential of fintech in this region. $10.5 billion was invested by investors in Southeast Asia, 2 billion more than what the total amount invested in Europe and US combined together, which is just $8 billion, based on the research from Accenture Plc on last September.
Other than that, when fintech hub expands in Singapore, it comes with the job vacancy for the people around the region. It can increase their standard of life and their country as well. For an example, people from outside prefer Southeast Asia as the capability to speak fluently in English makes everything easier for the investors as they do not need to hire translator to help them to do some work as compared to Hong Kong. Hong Kong prefers to speak in their language and not so many Hong Kong people are able to speak in English fluently.
As for Malaysia, in order to catch up with Singapore, they started to make some researches regarding the fintech hub. Malaysia already has a stable fintech hub such as Soft Space, which is founded in 2012. It is a startup that develops solutions for the e-banking and the payment industry. The company is in the peak when they serve some of the leading banks with 20 operational sites in this region itself. In order to upgrade the fintech hub, the government of Malaysia gives $5.6 million for Soft Space to expand the R&D capabilities. The company also have won multiple awards such as Red Herring Top 100 Asia 2014 and Merit Winner of WISTA’s Global ICT Excellent Awards in the year of 2013.
Another company that served fintech hub that are going viral is GHL Systems. GHL Systems is an end-to-end payment service provider in Southeast Asia with more than 400 workers across offices including Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Manila, Sydney and Wuhan. They are specialised in products and services to clients in various industries such as in banking and financial department, oil and gas hub, retails, telecommunication and transportation. GHL Systems managed to be listed in the Bursa Saham Malaysia and government bodies such as VISA, MasterCard and SIRIM.
International companies are investing in Southeast Asia
Next, one of the Sweden company, Mountain Partner interested to invest in Malaysia in fintech hub when they choose to have built a company named Mountain Partner Malaysia. Mountain Partner Malaysia will establish an incubator with a concentration on e-commerce, web services, digital payment, fintech and security. Their mission is to build a great technologies which are available for people around the world. The incubators target entrepreneurs to look for more support, and for a professional to seek for a career shift and for those people who do not have any entrepreneurial background, to join this ecosystem. Mountain Partners already establish their company in Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines. This company is based in Zurich and already finance more than 200 companies.
Apart from that, the government of Malaysia gives a full support for the fintech hub to expand in Malaysia. Investors said that, people have helped them to introduce the government agencies and many related agencies in order to have a strong tie between local and international players.
It is very clear that every country should have more realisation towards fintech industries as fintech industries will replace the old ways people do. And to be on top of the world, Southeast Asia needs to learn on how to make sure the fintech industry will always be developed from London and United States.