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.

Events

October 21, 2024 - October 24, 2024
Sibos Beijing
November 06, 2024 - November 08, 2024
Singapore Fintech Festival
Insight - Kapronasia

Ant International’s global expansion efforts have grown increasingly strategic since the launch of its Alipay+ and its pivot to boosting interoperability among e-wallets in Asia. While it is difficult to measure the financial success of these efforts, the growth of Ant’s international payments network in the last 18 months has been impressive and the company has smartly pared back its presence in certain markets due to geopolitical pressures. With international travel having recovered to pre-pandemic levels, Alipay+ likely has significant room to grow, especially in neighboring countries.

Singapore-based payments fintech Nium has been busy expanding internationally as it seeks to put itself in the most favorable position possible ahead of a planned IPO in 2025. In recent months, Nium has expanded on multiple continents, from South America to different parts of Asia.

The tumult in Indonesia’s P2P lending industry should not come as a surprise. It is exceedingly difficult to both regulate this industry fairly and allow it to maximize financial inclusion benefits. Strict regulation such as is practiced in Taiwan and South Korea (though Seoul may make some changes soon) minimizes malfeasance but also limits the usefulness of the platforms. Amid the current meltdown of P2P lending platforms, which is hitting retail investors hard, the sector faces an inflection point in Indonesia.

With Thailand finally getting its digital banking application process underway, it is worth taking a closer look at the prospective applicants. As expected, startups are nowhere to be found. Instead, the likely applicants – and winners – are a mix of Thailand’s ultra-wealthy tycoons, prominent incumbent banks and Asian tech giants.

It has been a rollercoaster seven weeks for India’s preeminent fintech Paytm, which on January 31 was accused by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) of “persistent noncompliance.” To be precise, it was Paytm Payments Bank that the RBI named, and it is the payments unit of the company that ceased to exist as of March 15. The good news for Paytm is that the RBI’s crackdown on its payment bank is not a lethal blow – and was never intended as such.

With funding for fintech startups having fallen precipitously from the days of ultra-low interest rates and a focus on growth at all costs, a reality is setting in: Disrupting the giants of incumbent financial services is no easy task. In many cases, it has proven elusive.

Throughout Asia, most countries have introduced digital banks in some form, either to increase market competition, boost financial inclusion or both. Thailand is an exception. It has approached digital banking with a marked lack of urgency, with the Bank of Thailand (BoT) mulling the idea for several years before in Jan. 2023 stating that it would allow digital banks by 2025. In a March 5 announcement, the Kingdom’s Finance Ministry said that Thailand will accept applications for virtual banks within the next six months with the goal of supporting people with no or limited access to financial services.

Cybersecurity has always been a crucial aspect of operations for financial institutions and technology providers alike. However, the intensifying digitization of financial services, combined with increasing computational power and the ongoing shift of financial activities online, is amplifying cybersecurity’s importance. With the annual cost of cybercrime soaring worldwide, financial institutions and market participants across Asia Pacific must reevaluate and reinforce their cybersecurity.

Singapore has been battling a surge in financial crime since the coronavirus pandemic, with 2023 being notable as the city-state dealt with its largest ever money laundering case. The investigation is ongoing and thus far authorities have seized more than US$2.2 billion. However, more mundane types of financial crime continue to be a challenge for Singapore, notably online scams. In 2023, scams reported in Singapore rose roughly 47% to 46,563, the highest amount since the police began tracking this type of crime in 2016.

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has struggled in recent years amid intensifying competition in its domestic market and high costs linked to its decision to move into mobile communications. However, digital financial services is a bright spot for Japan’s largest platform company and Rakuten Bank’s April 2023 IPO – which raised US$624 million – was Japan’s largest market debut since 2018 when SoftBank’s telecoms unit raised US$23 billion. The stock has gained more than 36% since then and is currently trading at 2,627 yen (US$17.49).

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