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Railsbank news round-up: Singapore grabs attention

Updated: Apr 2, 2022

A brief look back at week 46 at some of the news that’s not always picked up.

Singapore fintech firms attract most global funding

A new report has shown that fintech firms in Singapore attract the most global funding.

It also revealed that the country is also the launchpad for fintech firms looking to move across ASEAN.

The report, entitled ‘Fintech in ASEAN: From Start-up to Scale-up,’ was released by United Overseas Bank (UOB), PwC and the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA).

Singapore tops the region as the preferred base of fintech firms and is home to 45% of all fintech firms in ASEAN. It continues to attract the lion's share of global funding among ASEAN countries, receiving more than half of funding for the region.

The report said fintech innovation was encouraged across a broad range of areas and funding for Singapore-based fintech firms was the most evenly distributed, with insurance technology, payments and personal finance leading the way. Also, the diversified funding also indicates the country's more mature FinTech landscape, compared with other ASEAN markets where the fintech sector is still nascent and is largely focused on payment-related solutions.

Janet Young, Head, Group Channels and Digitalisation, UOB, said: "Singapore's favourable regulatory and business environment, strong investor interest and maturing FinTech sector continue to make it an attractive base for firms that are looking to tap ASEAN's growth potential. As such, more firms in the country have also graduated from pre-series to later-stage funding.

"However, expanding into and within one of the world's most diverse regions is not plain sailing. Therefore, in order to increase their chances of success, it is important for FinTech firms to find the right partner to supplement the experience, insights and connections required to navigate the differing regulatory frameworks and operating landscape across ASEAN."

Wong Wanyi, Fintech Leader, PwC Singapore, said: "This optimism is not surprising, given the promise that the ASEAN region brings and the liberation of the industry through digital banking licenses. The increasing penetration of mobile devices coupled with the capabilities of new innovative technologies have made FinTech firms a key driver in this evolving ASEAN financial services landscape, providing an experience that is easier, faster and more convenient. That being said, the FinTech scene is very competitive so FinTech firms should be focused and have a clear value proposition. Scaling up should be at the right pace and for the right reason."

Singapore PM visits Singapore Fintech Festival

Looking quickly back at the Singapore Fintech Festival, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore got an introduction to WeBank's fintech-powered services.

Lee Hsien Loong, PM, visited WeBank's booth and talked with Henry Ma, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of WeBank. Ma showed how WeBank adopted fintech capabilities in the areas of ABCD (AI, blockchain, cloud computing and big data) to promote financial inclusion as China's first digital bank. He suggested that by leveraging these technologies, WeBank was enabled to increase operational efficiency, reduce costs, and scale faster.

New BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Singapore

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) have just launched the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Singapore.

This is the BIS's first expansion of its global footprint in 17 years.

The hub will foster innovation and greater collaboration amongst the central banking community globally. It will enhance the understanding of financial technology, and aid development of innovative solutions to benefit and enhance the financial system.

The hub centre in Singapore will initially focus on two projects. The first project plans to establish a framework for public digital infrastructures on identity, consent and data sharing. The second project will create a digital platform connecting regulators and supervisors with digital and technology solution providers. Through the platform, central banks can put up regulatory problems and challenges to source solutions from the fintech community. This will help central banks develop innovative solutions and policies for cost-effective regulation and supervision.

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