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Just as the advent of Uber sent a shockwave through the entire chain of transportation systems around the world, FinTech is here to disrupt every finance-related activity, potentially giving the financial industry and banks a run for their money.
Nowadays, all eyes are on Southeast Asia as a new market for startups and e-commerce boasting a potential that rivals that of China thanks to its population of over 630 million people, no less than 250 of whom are internet users. While Indonesia has the largest population and in turn the highest demand, startups in Singapore have drawn in tremendous amounts of international capitals. In Thailand, startups have started to burgeon and attracted more investments, growing exponentially from 1-2 startups to 71 and successfully raising approximately 18 million dollars in the first trimester this year. This demonstrates that ample opportunities are awaiting newcomers, and among those is FinTech or financial technology.
FinTech has gained serious momentum as a result of the growth of online shopping businesses and startups, which has prompted manufacturers, consumers, and even investors to seek alternatives that meet their needs for niche services and cater to their daily lives through the screen everywhere around the clock.
In fact, FinTech is a startup business that provides financial services, incorporating the internet and cloud computing to enhance financial transactions ranging from payments, transfers, savings, loaning, and fundraising to financial consultancy and insurance sales for greater convenience and compatibility with digital economy. Scholars and financial institutes predict that this innovation will soon replace the financial services provided by banks as the same services are offered with greater efficiency and at lower fees, if any. An example is LINE Pay’s payment and transfer services that home in on online vendors. Likewise, commercial banks and private companies are also adjusting to the trend and rolling out services such as AIS’s mPAY and True’s TrueMoney, while UOB Bank has joined forces with 2P2C, one of Thailand’s first FinTechs, to develop software and applications for online payments.
FinTech has taken a step forward by creating online-to-offline linkage. For instance, Rabbit LINE Pay has initiated a joint venture with BTS Holdings Co., Ltd., the provider of BTS Skytrain’s Rabbit Cards, to launch Rabbit Line, which converges online and offline payment and enables customers to shop online or with offline merchants that participate in the program as well as pay BTS fares via smartphones.
The burgeoning of sharing economy has also given rise to financial service businesses that create more access to funding and loans/credit via online platforms, such as Online crowdfunding such as Asiola and MeeFund, Equity-based crowdfunding such as DreamakerEquity, in which dividends are paid in the form of the startup’s shares and partnership and Peer-to-Peer lending such as PeerPower, in which lenders and borrowers may engage in a direct exchange and determine their own interest rates and periods of payment.
FinTech also provides a solution for modern businesses, where agility is required to adjust the products and services to meet users’ needs and to exploit big data to increase the accuracy of investment analyses to handle risks without biases. Startups are also given more alternatives in various phases of crowdfunding, from capital injection and scale expansion to profit generation. At the same time, the scenario presents a true challenge for private companies and the governmental sector, which need to quickly adapt to consumers’ shifting behavior in using financial services. An example of such an effort is the government’s digital banking 4.0 policy. Collaborations with FinTech have increased investment opportunities for overseas joint ventures. In this era, those who underestimate or turn a blind eye to the trend may have their market share stolen and even get dethroned with ease, especially as online blockchain transaction systems are dominating the world and will eventually replace cash with digital currencies.
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Article: “PwC says FinTech is a game changer in Thailand’s financial industry, suggesting immediate adjustment”
Photo by Pujohn Das/ Space10
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