Latest Reports

  • Adapting for Uncertainty - a research brief from Kapronasia and Equinix
    Adapting for Uncertainty - a research brief from Kapronasia and Equinix The recent pandemic has been an extreme example of financial institutions (FIs) finding themselves blindsided by disruptive events. But meeting unexpected demands is a constant across all aspects of an FI’s business. Customer priorities can also shift according to economic and environmental circumstances, necessitating FIs to respond by providing customers…
  • Ecosystems for Success - a report from Kapronasia sponsored by ASX
    Ecosystems for Success - a report from Kapronasia sponsored by ASX The advent of electronic trading in the 1980s in the United States introduced a new era of algorithmic or high frequency trading (HFT) whereby firms tried to get their trading applications as close as possible to an exchange’s matching engine to lower latency and speed up trade execution. By the…
  • State of Regtech in APAC - a report from Kapronasia and Enterprise Ireland
    State of Regtech in APAC - a report from Kapronasia and Enterprise Ireland Asia, with its gleaming skyscrapers dotting some of the world's major financial centers and home to more than half the world's population, is at an inflection point. Facing spiralling compliance costs and a dynamic regulatory environment, financial institutions have turned to regulatory technology (regtech) to help acheive compliance while minimising…

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Latest Insight

Why are Grab and Bukalapak teaming up?

Written by Kapronasia || August 02 2021

Indonesia is fast becoming the most hotly contested of Southeast Asia’s digital services markets. No other market is both as large and untapped. With that in mind, Singapore’s Sea Group and hometown favorite GoTo have made significant plays in recent months. The former acquired Bank BKE, while Gojek upped its stake in Bank Jago and then merged with Tokopedia. Not to be outdone, Grab is teaming up with Tokopedia's rival Bukalapak. This move finally brings e-commerce into the Singaporean decacorn's ecosystem and strengthens the hands of both Grab and Bukalapak as they prepare to go public. 

PayPal steps up its APAC play

Written by Kapronasia || July 28 2021

Big Tech increasly has its eyes on Asia-Pacific’s growing fintech market. Yet most of the US tech giants are off to a late start in the region. Although it has been present in numerous APAC markets for years, PayPal is not really an exception to the rule. The U.S. payments giant has historically focused on North America and to a lesser extent Europe, with only a minor footprint in APAC. That is changing now that PayPal has super app ambitions and sees new opportunities in China, Southeast Asia and Australia.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. That seems to be true in just about every market that has introduced digital banks, and it is a two-way street. Hype about the challengers unseating incumbents tends to give way to a more nuanced reality in which there is some room for cooperation. In Australia, where four large banks have long dominated the market, the incumbents are steadily increasing their cooperation with fintechs in a bid to strengthen their digital offerings.

Why are BNPL firms foraying into banking?

Written by Kapronasia || July 21 2021

Australia’s Afterpay is making the jump from payments into banking as it seeks to develop new revenue streams amid intensifying competition in its core buy now, pay later (BNPL) business. Afterpay said on July 20 that it would launch its banking app, Afterpay Money, in October. The move into banking has a hint of irony to it, coming on the heels of the recent entry of several incumbent banking giants - such as Citibank and Commonwealth Wealth Bank of Australia – into Australia’s BNPL segment. Afterpay is the only BNPL firm besides Klarna to segue into banking.

Viva Republica and Big Fintech in South Korea

Written by Kapronasia || July 19 2021

Big Tech may have reached an apex in the United States and China, but in South Korea it is ascendant. In a country where chaebols have long been dominant, it is not hard to imagine internet companies – and indeed fintechs in particular – taking a similar path. And that is exactly what is happening. First, Kakao became a fintech giant, and now it is Viva Republica’s turn. The company, which operates Toss, the largest fintech app in South Korea, recently raised US$410 million at a valuation of US$7.4 billion.

Sea Group is one of the most successful loss-making companies in the world outside of private markets. Sea lost an astronomical amount of money in the first quarter of the year: US$422 million. That is not normally cause for celebration among listed companies, but its revenue also grew 147% year-on-year to US$1.76 billion. Investors are cheering: Sea’s stock price has risen more than 300% to US$283 over roughly the past year. Helping to drive that bullish investor sentiment are expectations about Sea’s potential in Southeast Asia’s nascent but fast-growing digital finance space.

Will Traveloka’s fintech gambit succeed?

Written by Kapronasia || July 15 2021

If there ever was a “We are all fintechs now” moment, it must have been earlier this year when Indonesia’s online travel unicorn Traveloka stepped up its rebranding as a digital financial services provider. Skeptics could have been forgiven for rolling their eyes. Yes, the pandemic has hit the travel industry hard and companies like Traveloka need to rejig themselves or they may not survive. On the other hand, not every platform company is suited to reinvent itself as a fintech.

Why has Kakao been successful as a fintech?

Written by Kapronasia || July 13 2021

Many of the world’s preeminent platform companies have tried to reinvent themselves as fintechs. Outside of China, South Korea’s Kakao is the only one that is an undisputed success. Kakao boasts South Korea’s largest e-wallet, with 36 million users, and leading digital bank. Both will go public in Korea in August and are likely to raise US$1.4 billion and US$2.3 billion respectively. The speed of Kakao Bank’s swing to profitability (it took just two years) – paving the way for the IPO just four years after its founding – has been remarkable by industry standards.

Fly the super app skies with AirAsia

Written by Kapronasia || July 12 2021

Just about every major tech company now wants to be a fintech, super app or both. What makes AirAsia different is that its core service has nothing to do with the internet or banking. Indeed, AirAsia is an airline that happens to have a digital services arm. The Malaysia-based firm probably would have stayed that way had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic and its devastating effect on airlines and the travel industry. AirAsia is now going all in on its super app gambit, applying for a digital banking license in Malaysia and acquiring Gojek’s Thailand business.

In both Singapore and Hong Kong, digital banks are nice to have. In Malaysia, whose digital banking application period ended on June 30, the need for digibanks is somewhat greater. But in the Philippines, where 71 million adults remain unbanked and 1/3 of municipalities lack a banking presence, the need for neobanks is more pressing. With that in mind, the Philippines’ central bank is approving digital banks’ applications on a rolling basis in the hope of reaching key financial inclusion targets by 2023. Tencent-backed Voyager Innovations and RCBC are the two most recent entrants to the country’s digital banking race.

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