KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 16): Malaysia ranks among the top 20 financial technology (fintech) hubs in Asia, coming in at number 15 in Asia and 67 globally.
In a report titled “2022 Asia Pacific Fintech Rankings: Bridging Divides” released on Thursday (Dec 16), research and analytics firm Findexable said local comparisons are easily missed in the drama of globe-spanning unicorns, but for most fintech firms, they remain the most relevant.
It said Singaporean start-ups, for example, may hope to compete with Silicon Valley giants, but for now they must consider the cost savings of hiring in Malaysia, or whether a rival in Jakarta can scale faster, given Indonesia’s giant population.
The report tracked fintech start-ups in 16 countries across the Asian continent — including south, east and western Asia, as well as Australasia.
Among them, those countries account for around half of the world’s population and host 45 city-level fintech hubs.
The report excluded India and China — two countries that all too often hogged the Asian limelight.
The report said Internet access is almost as common in the region’s developing states as it is in the richest ones.
Malaysians, for example, are as likely to be online as their wealthier Singaporean neighbours.
It said this creates the potential for more than simply a new generation of business winners.
At the macroeconomic level, the combination of smartphone use and Internet access provides a golden opportunity for fintech firms in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia to make a difference by enabling economic growth and reducing financial exclusion by connecting young unbanked smartphone users to digital financial services for the first time.
According to the report, Malaysia and Singapore both have regulatory sandboxes that allow digital banks to extend some services to pilot customer groups without passing every regulatory test.
Findexable co-founder and chief executive officer Simon Hardie said the 2022 rankings of Asia-Pacific fintech hubs are a testament to the region’s diversity, ingenuity and commitment to innovation.
“With 45 hubs across the region (one-third more than in 2020), fintech firms across Asia-Pacific are proving fintech is the engine of the digital economy.
“More importantly, as this report shows, fintechs are showing that building successful businesses should go hand in hand with contributing to wider financial inclusion and development goals,” he added.