China leads global fintech innovation efforts

ZhongAn Insurance, top company in the Fintech 100 reportChina's fintech firms have outshone their counterparts in other countries this year, according to ranking of fintech companies globally.

The 100 Leading Fintech Innovation Report, which evaluates and ranks the world's top 100 fintech companies, are the result of the collaboration between fintech investment firm H2 Ventures and KPMG Fintech. Two sets of rankings were released -- one covering the "Top 50 Established Innovators" globally and one comprising the "50 Emerging Stars", which the rankings describe as firms with the most disruptive, potentially game changing ideas.

Fintech firms were evaluated according to five sets of criteria: total capital raised, rate of capital raising, geographic & sector diversity, consumer & marketplace traction and X-factor. The latter assesses a fintech firm's degree of product, service and business model innovation, which the report states is a subjective measure applied only to companies appearing on its "50 Emerging Stars" list.


According to the rankings, Chinese fintechs stood out this year, with Shanghai-based ZhongAn taking top spot in the 50 Established Innovators list, and Qufengi fourth. In contrast, WeCash was the only representative from China to appear on last year's list. This year, seven Chinese companies featured in the Fintech 100, reflecting increased venture capital levels and interest in China's fintech sector.

Globally, fintech financing jumped six-fold over the past three years with over US$20 billion estimated to be reached in 2015, a 66% increase on 2014 (US$12 billion).

The Fintech 100 comprises 40 companies from The Americas (40%), 20 companies from the EMEA (20%), 18 companies from the UK (18%) and 22 companies from the Asia-Pacific region (22%), including 10 from Australia and New Zealand.

Australia's SocietyOne and Prospa were included in the top 50 Established fintechs list, while seven Australian companies made the Emerging Stars list, signaling a burgeoning fintech industry in the country.

Other highlights from the Fintech 100 report include: a funding boom, where the FinTech 100 companies collectively raised in excess of US$10 billion; the payments sector is seeing the greatest level of disruption, with growth in payments, currencies and transactions representing 25% of the Fintech 100, a significant rise over last year.

Insurance firms are also easing into the fintech space, with seven insurance companies appearing in the list, compared to none last year.

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