A recent article on letstalkpayments.com raises the question "Can Singapore Become the Ultimate FinTech Hub of the APAC Region?"
This is an interesting question to raise given that Singapore is not the only nation in the 46-countries comprising Asia Pacific. Arguably Australia has a stake a claim as well given that its four big banks have been at the forefront of banking innovation for some time now.
Closer to home, Hong Kong has been making a lot of noise in its bid to become a Fintech hub in its own right. Like its sister cities of Singapore and Sydney, Hong Kong continues to make public statements at the government level, regulatory level and within the financial services community itself around developments specific to financial technology innovation.
Fintech Innovation recently spoke to Charles Ng, associate director-general for Invest Hong Kong, who raised several points on why Hong Kong qualifies to become a global fintech Hub including a mature multi-discipline financial services industry, large pool of financial services professionals, role as gateway to China and China’s gateway to the world, and an open market backed by sound regulatory regime.
Frost & Sullivan estimates that fintech investments in Asia Pacific were concentrated in Australia, China and Singapore, and that in 2015 such investments skyrocketed to reach US$3.46 billion -- a four-fold increase from the previous year. Asian fintechs garnered strong support, with funding growing by 413%, whilst North American funding grew by 59%.
Ng admits that Fintech in Hong Kong is still very nascent with the government having just started in 2015 to pull together its resources to encourage the development of fintech community in Hong Kong – beyond what the private sector has been doing for several years now.
Some would argue that it may be too late as Singapore has been leading the region in terms of formulating regulatory, providing financial stimuli, and making the right pitch to talent from the around the world to make the island nation as new hub of fintech innovation.