Latest Reports

  • Innovate to Elevate
    Innovate to Elevate In the dynamic and diverse financial landscape of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, banks are at a pivotal juncture, facing the twin imperatives of innovation and resilience to meet evolving consumer expectations and navigate digital disruption.
  • Catalyzing Wealth Management In The Modern Era
    Catalyzing Wealth Management In The Modern Era Hyper-personalized wealth management presents a paradigm shift from traditional models relying on static, generalized segments. Developing tailored investor personas based on psychographics, behaviours and fluid financial goals enables financial institutions to deliver rich and tailored customer experiences that resonate with next-generation priorities.
  • Navigating the Future of Fintech in Asia
    Navigating the Future of Fintech in Asia Although fintech has been a global phenomenon, nowhere has the combination of finance and technology been as impactful as in Asia. This report examines some of the key fintech trends that have been re-shaping Asia’s financial industry thusfar as well as examine the trends that will shape the future.

Events

April 23, 2024 - April 25, 2024
Money 2020 Asia 2024
October 21, 2024 - October 24, 2024
Sibos Beijing
November 06, 2024 - November 08, 2024
Singapore Fintech Festival
Insight - Kapronasia

It was not so long ago that Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) was singing cryptocurrency’s praises and preparing to invest US$500 million in the Thai crypto exchange Bitkub. Alas, it was not meant to be. The crypto market cratered, and one of the kingdom’s largest lenders thought better of betting so big on a sector of financial services with so much inherent risk. SCB is now pivoting to what is turning out to be familiar territory for incumbent lenders in Asia: digital banking.

After four years, Cambodia has finally been removed from the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), indicating the watchdog no longer sees the kingdom as a country at a heightened risk of money laundering and terrorism financing. It’s an achievement for Cambodia to celebrate, especially given that it coincides with the imminent end of the coronavirus pandemic and a resumption of normal international business and travel links.

China’s payments market has been gradually opening to foreign competition in recent years for different reasons. On the one hand, the Chinese government is wary of allowing a couple of tech giants to indefinitely monopolize a market worth US$3.5 billion at the end of 2022, according to Daxue Consulting. On the other, financial services is one sector of the economy in which Beijing wants more foreign investment. It is against this backdrop that we should evaluate the prospects of Airwallex in China now that the Australian-founded and Hong Kong-based firm has secured an e-payments license for the China market.

Sea Group surprised many of us with its swing to profitability in the fourth quarter, the first time the Singaporean company ever recorded positive net income. The company is much better known for losing money than making it. In the fourth quarter, Sea made a profit of US$422.8 million, compared to a loss of US$616.3 million in the same period a year earlier.

Given the competition it faces from Singapore, Hong Kong cannot afford to rest on its laurels. Over the past few years, Singapore has become a bigger fintech hub than Hong Kong, an increasingly important location for the regional headquarters of both multinational and Chinese companies, and is also quietly attracting high-net worth individuals to set up family offices.

Forgive us for being a bit skeptical about Revolut’s swing to profitability. It took an awful long time for the company to release its 2021 financial report (we’re now in 2023), and when it finally did, the £26.3m profit the company reported was less remarkable than the fact the company’s auditor could not verify £477 million in revenue from subscriptions, cards, foreign exchange and wealth activities.

Japan’s affinity for cash has made it a relative laggard in adopting digital payments, especially compared to neighbors like Korea and China. Japan only broke the 30% milestone for cashless payments in 2021, partially due to the pandemic. In contrast, Korea was almost 94% cashless in 2020, while China was not far behind at 83%, according to the World Economic Forum.

A commentary in collaboration with Banking Circle.

Large banks have long dominated cross-border payments in Asia Pacific thanks to their control of traditional correspondent banking networks and until recently, the lack of viable competitors. Banks have been particularly dominant in B2B payments as the barrier to entry is higher than in the retail segment.

When Singapore announced the winners of four digital banking licenses in December 2020, one name stood out because most of us did not recognize it: Greenland Financial Holdings. To say the Shanghai-based real estate company Greenland was a “dark horse” candidate for a license would be an understatement. It was not even widely known that the company and its blockchain trade finance partner Linklogis had thrown their hats in the ring. Since winning the license, the two companies have named their digital bank “Green Link Digital Bank.”

Meta makes almost all of its revenue from advertising. The company has long known it needs a new engine of revenue growth, but it waited too long to introduce payments and explore fintech in general.

In Asia, where fintech growth has generally been much faster than in Meta’s home market of the United States, the company has faced market barriers in some cases and intense competition overall. At this point, it may be able to gain some payments market share in certain Asian countries with WhatsApp Pay, but it will be an uphill climb.

Page 9 of 82