FinovateAsia Digital is in the books! A big thank you to our sponsors – DreamQuark, InterSystems, and CleverTap – our demoing companies – Amber, Crayon Data, Dreams, FinBit.io, QuickFi, and Strands – our speakers and, of course, our attendees. Your innovations and insights helped make our second, all-digital FinovateAsia conference a great success.
What did we learn over the two days of our Asia-focused fintech event? Everyone’s experience is different. But here are four things we heard and saw this week at FinovateAsia that we will be thinking about in the days and weeks to come.
Regulators who get it
It may not be any surprise that entrepreneurs and companies tend to thrive in regions where regulators and governments are constructively engaged in their success. But it is a point worth underscoring. When looking at those places in the APAC region where fintech is emergent – countries like Indonesia and Vietnam – often a progressively-minded regulatory authority or a determined government or government agency is involved. This engagement may be in the form of legislation or licensing that makes it easier for individuals to launch businesses or forge cross-industry partnerships. Constructive engagement can also take the form of creating the necessary infrastructure that companies and entrepreneurs need to create and test their technologies, deploy their solutions, and grow their businesses.
Keep an eye on the southeast
Given the high degree of fintech innovation in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, it is understandable that companies and entrepreneurs in these areas are receiving the lion’s share of the attention. But, as this year’s FinovateAsia reminded us, some of the countries that are only a few steps behind the leaders in terms of economic development are nonetheless the scene of major demographic and social trends. These forces – such as a digitally-oriented Millennial generation entering family formation years and an even more tech-savvy Gen Z right behind them – are also driving innovation in financial technology. Where to look? We’ve got our eyes on Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
India is Asia
In the same way that we should keep southeast Asia in mind when thinking about fintech innovation in the APAC region, it is also worthwhile to remember India’s role in the overall Asian fintech ecosystem. India, which shares a border with China and the Bay of Bengal with Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Thailand, is a major fintech player in its own right, with both Indian companies and Indian-born entrepreneurs bringing new innovations to market around the world. The impressive number of companies from India that have demoed their technologies at FinovateAsia over the years – to which we add FinBit.io from this year’s event – is a reminder of India’s importance to the Asian fintech scene writ large.
Everyone wants to do business in Asia
It has been a cliche for decades that every company would love to do business in the rapidly growing markets of Asia. But the COVID pandemic may have been the biggest challenge to this trend since the Great Financial Crisis. Hopefully, the arrival of both COVID vaccines and a new, more globally oriented administration in the U.S. will bring a resumption of the trend toward greater international economic activity, partnership, and integration that existed before the once-in-a-generation pandemic.