Latest Reports

  • Beyond Swipe and Tap: Rewriting the Rules
    Beyond Swipe and Tap: Rewriting the Rules The roundtable discussion at Japan FinTech Festival brought together leading experts from banking, fintech, technology and regulatory backgrounds to explore the current state and future potential of account-to-account (A2A) payments in Japan. The wide-ranging discussion surfaced several key insights and themes that will shape the trajectory of A2A in the…
  • Breaking Borders
    Breaking Borders Despite progress in payment systems, the absence of a unified, cross-border Real-Time Payments (RTP) network means that intermediaries play a crucial role in facilitating connectivity. This report examines the ongoing complexities, challenges, and initiatives in creating a seamless payment landscape across Asia.
  • 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.

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June 18, 2024 - June 19, 2024
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October 21, 2024 - October 24, 2024
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November 06, 2024 - November 08, 2024
Singapore Fintech Festival
Insight - Kapronasia

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.

A commentary in collaboration with Banking Circle.

The advent of proxy-enabled national real-time payment (RTP) systems has become an integral part of Asia Pacific’s digital financial services market landscape in recent years, driven by central bankers’ determination to make financial flows faster, more efficient and more widely accessible. Southeast Asian countries have been among the most proactive in the development of such real-time payment systems, which have been rolled out domestically first and then gradually expanded into the cross-border space.

To answer the question posed in the title, yes and no. Yes, Chinese sensor maker Hesai Group recently raised US$190 million in the largest U.S. IPO by a Chinese firm in 15 months, but it may have been a one-off event given investors are especially eager for exposure to the red-hot electric vehicle (EV) market. No, we do not think this yet portends a reversal of the slow deal pipeline for Chinese companies in U.S. capital markets. The underlying U.S.-China relationship remains too troubled for that kind of dramatic shift.

As the most cash-loving advanced economy in Asia, Japan has not historically been eager to digitize its financial services sector – with a few exceptions. One of those is Rakuten Bank, which launched in the twilight of Web 1.0 back in the year 2000. At 23 years of age, Rakuten Bank must be one of the oldest digital lenders in Asia, if not the oldest. Gradually, other online banks are entering the Japanese market to compete with Rakuten.

A commentary in collaboration with Banking Circle

Mobile wallets are increasingly a preferred payment method across Asia Pacific, from China to Southeast Asia to Australia. Though e-wallet use in the region was growing steadily prior to the pandemic, the abrupt shift to online and contactless commerce in early 2020 supercharged mobile wallet adoption. This has important implications for Southeast Asia – where many people remain unbanked or underbanked and credit cards have yet to gain a strong foothold outside of Singapore and Malaysia.

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