International

Singapore Provides ‘Springboard’ To Asian Markets For FinTech

Singapore

Singapore’s FinTech scene is booming: Funding for the burgeoning sector in the island country topped nearly a billion dollars in 2017, reaching $983.6 million that year. Hong Kong, by comparison, saw $596.8 million in funding for FinTechs at the time.

Singapore overtook Hong Kong in FinTech funding in 2016. In that year, Singapore pulled ahead of Hong Kong with $310.5 million in funding compared to Hong Kong’s $191.2 million. And Singapore is on pace to continue to beat Hong Kong in FinTech funding this year: In the first six months of this year, FinTech funding in Singapore had reportedly reached $838.1 million compared to Hong Kong’s $70.8 million.

In terms of other metrics, Singapore boasts a $52,960 gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, along with strong infrastructure and very good internet accessibility. More specifically, Singapore has fiber-optic infrastructure throughout its borders. In addition, the country’s mobile subscription penetration is over 100 percent, which ASEAN Briefing notes are “factors that are key for FinTech growth.”

Among the startups in Singapore’s burgeoning FinTech scene is InstaReM, which seeks to disrupt traditional cross-border remittances business with online and mobile platforms. The company moved to Singapore because the island country was ideally located between the East and the West— and is supportive of FinTech.

“Singapore has a FinTech-friendly regulatory framework and has been a good springboard for us to expand into other Asian markets,” InstaReM Co-founder & CEO Prajit Nanu told PYMNTS.com. “The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) provides a responsive and forward-looking regulatory approach that enables promising FinTech innovations to develop and flourish.”

Another Singapore-based FinTech firm, Silot, seeks to streamline banking operations. To that end, Silot uses artificial intelligence (AI) in an effort to help banks, merchants and consumers to make better predictions, recommendations and decisions. Silot, too, found Singapore as an attractive base.

"One of the key reasons that we decided to start in Singapore is because [the] Singapore government is very supportive of FinTech startup and innovations,” the company said in a statement. “Singapore is also the place where numerous top talents chose to stay and with a friendly taxation system.”

The Singapore government offers regulatory initiatives such as the regulatory sandbox and FinTech MAS Innovation Lab, among others. The island country is also home to world-class educational institutions, along with physical and social infrastructure for entrepreneurs.

As for InstaReM, the country also “has some of the largest expatriate and migrant communities in Southeast Asia, who are InstaReM’s target demographic,” Nanu said. In all, Nanu noted that "our decision to base InstaReM in Singapore has paid off well.”

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