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Here Are The Reasons For FinTech’s Rapid Growth in Southeast Asia

After the financial technology (FinTech) industry’s start in the West, notably in Europe and in the USA, its innovations have established themselves across various markets. FinTech has also experienced adoption and high growth in China. But if we are searching for financial technology’s next hot region, it would be Southeast Asia.

Why is Southeast Asia poised for the rapid growth of FinTech? Right now, the region has favorable conditions that would spur adoption and expansion. Below are four of them.

The Population is Huge

Southeast Asia has an enormous population of 630 million people, 50% of them under the age of 30. Southeast Asia’s urban population is expected to expand to 373 million people by 2030. The young, urban demographic is generally digital-savvy, with many of them partial to convenient mobile solutions for financial services and personal finance tools – this makes the Southeast Asia region fertile ground for the entrance of FinTech.

Mobile Phone Connectivity

Mobile connectivity has been growing rapidly in the region, especially in Cambodia (173%), Thailand (133%), Vietnam (131%), and Myanmar (93%). Mobiles have become the most popular communication devices in Southeast Asia and every month, there are around 3.8 million more Southeast Asians connected to the Internet. In Thailand alone, a consumer spends an average of 4.4 hours per day on social media.

Financial technology, with its innovations of mobile-based money transfers, e-wallets, alternative financing, and other online-based finance tools, is likely to capture the digital savvy population of Southeast Asia. In fact, financial technology opens opportunities to those previously underserved, as FinTech services are often online-based, without having users enter a brick-and-mortar location.

The Opportunity to Serve a Large Unbanked Market

According to the World Bank, 2 billion people around the world don’t have access to formal financial services, with over 50% spread across Asia. While the statistic is not a pleasant one for the market, it opens opportunities for the FinTech industry to grow in Asia, including Southeast Asia. FinTech’s digital-based solutions can be one of the most cost-effective methods of delivering financial services to those previously unserved.

Consumption Rate is Increasing

In 2025, the middle class of Southeast Asia is predicted to increase to over 440 million people. This will lead to growth across most consumer sectors, especially for e-commerce. With easier access to online shopping, thanks to higher mobile penetration, better logistics, and improved infrastructure, FinTech companies can provide another piece to the infrastructure by providing inclusive financial services through e-commerce channels, while cross-border payments can harmonize regional payment flows.


These four factors will shape the face of FinTech in Southeast Asia, as well as ensure that the region is at the forefront of financial technology.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. We provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. To learn more about us, click on our website here.

How Startups And SMEs Can Use Fintech To Fuel Growth

The financial technology (FinTech) field grew and developed rapidly as a response to the financial problems we face, from making financial information more accessible to addressing the lack of financial inclusion in various countries. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular, can benefit from the digital solutions offered by FinTech. For instance, FinTech offers e-payment and bookkeeping services that SMEscan take advantage of.

But most of all, FinTech can provide business financing solutions for SMEs. The growth of any small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is dependent on the health of their finances, especially on having the appropriate funding. Certain business models within FinTech, such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, can be an alternative source for SME working capital loans.

FinTech as an online financing platform

To grow, SMEs need working capital. SMEs often choose to apply for loans to finance their business development. However, traditional financing products can have regulations, criteria, and processing time that are incompatible with SME needs. Often, requirements for collateral can stop a promising SMEs from getting the financing they need.

FinTech models such as peer-to-peer lending offers a solution: by building an online financing platform for SMEs. Since it is online, the application process tends to be faster and simpler. Certain P2P platforms also have apps and a small business owner can easily apply for financing through the app. The loan product also keeps SMEs in mind, with no required collateral.

FinTech as an accounting and bookkeeping service

Small businesses sometimes neglect the importance of accounting, even though it is crucial for any company to stay aware of their financial condition. Well-managed financial statements will help SMEs identify problems they are currently facing and how to bring the company to a better, more profitable place. Sometimes, small businesses simply lack the capital to hire an accountant.

These days, some FinTech platforms provide accounting technology to help manage SME financial statements. The platform also allows SMEs to have an easier invoice and payment process. Many of these accounting services are based on cloud servers so business owners can access their data anywhere, anytime.

If you do use cloud-based service providers, remember to implement the appropriate safeguards. Read more on “How to Protect Your SME from Cybercrime”

Fintech provides electronic and digital payments

FinTech digital payment solutions, such as online and mobile payment options, along with multination and multicurrency options will help businesses gain a simpler way to manage financial transactions. The electronic and digital payments solutions will especially help small businesses sell their products and services to a wider audience than if they were only dependent on cash.


Digital solutions and innovations pioneered by FinTech bring great impact for SMEs. By utilising FinTech innovations, SMEs will more easily adapt to the digital age and grow their operations.

5 Steps to Digitise Your Business in a Tech-Savvy World

Today’s technology grows at such breakneck speed. Compare the gadgets and online tools you are using today to ten, or even five, years ago. Technology is inseparable from daily life. Take online shopping. These days, many people prefer it to brick-and-mortar shops.

Business owners must adapt to the new digital age to stay afloat and thrive. Everyone needs to digitise their businesses. How to do so? Here are 5 steps:

Set a goal

Never build anything unless there is a set goal. Why do you want to digitize your business? What are your goals? Do you want to gain more sales? Do you want to create awareness for your business? Setting goals will help you decide which digital strategy you need to utilize.

Create your own sites

Invest your capital in creating your own business website. Make the address as simple as possible, preferably using your brand name as the web address. Prioritise design. Don’t hesitate to hire a web designer if you can’t do it yourself. Your company website is your business face. People will assess how professional your business is based on your site interface.

It doesn’t stop with design. You also need clear and useful content on your business website. Make sure that your content is related to your target market. You will gain more leads if you have high-quality content aimed to your target market.

Read Also: 5 Tips to Create & Manage the Best Business Website on a Budget

Use the power of social media

Now that you have your own website, you need to spread the word. This is where social media will help you in the most effective way. Create a Facebook page, an Instagram account, a Twitter account, even a LinkedIn page – utilise as many social media platforms as long as the platform is still within your niche and your company has the capability to maintain these accounts.

Invest in advertising. You can also broadcast your website’s high-quality content via social media accounts for branding.

Create a mailing list

Creating a mailing list will help you to keep in touch with customers. Hold promotions and discounts to attract more people into subscribing. You can also use referral campaigns to gain more subscribers from loyal customers.

Arrange your projects online

If possible, start digitising manual processes. By making your company more digital, you can cut down on inefficiencies and evaluate the overall workflow. Schedule periodic reviews to continue streamlining and evaluating your operations to keep your processes up to date.

Digitising your business is easier than you think. And the benefits are many. Adapting to digital technology will lessen the possibility of human errors and develop more efficient business processes. In the long run, digitising your business saves both time and money.

Read Also: Grow Your Business Without Breaking The Bank

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. 

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

How Technology Can Revolutionise The Way We Invest

The older generations love gold and properties as their mode of investment and method to hedge against inflation. With the advancement of the Internet and technology, the new generation of investors are now more well-equipped with information and new investment opportunities. This is especially so in recent decades, when the huge leap in technology opens up a whole lot of new sub sectors in the digital industry which can potentially revolutionise the way we invest.

Let us look into 5 growing digital sub sectors and how it can create new investment opportunities.

1. Crowdfunding

According to Investopedia, Crowdfunding refers to the use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to finance a new business venture. Typically, crowdfunding is either reward-based or equity-based.

For reward-based crowdfunding, entrepreneurs or inventors will pitch their product idea to investors, in exchange for a free or discounted finished product. An example of such crowdfunding website would be Kickstarter, the world largest reward based crowdfunder where over US$2 billion has been pledged by more than 10 million people since they launched in 2009. Oculus Rift began as a Kickstarter project 3 years ago, and eventually raised US$2 billion. Pledgers of the project were promised to get the upcoming Oculus Rift for free (how we wish we knew this project back then!) However, this type of crowdfunding is not considered as an investment.

As for equity-based crowdfunding, investors can chip in for the projects in exchange for the equity of the firm. The more prominent equity-based crowdfunding platforms are Seedr and CrowdFunder. Locally, Fundnel also offers various funding methods for businesses and investors depending on their suitability.

Based on 2014 statistics, Asia is recording exponential growth in crowdfunding market, contributing 21% to the global funding volume. Globally, an estimated US$87,000 is raised every hour.

2. Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Lending 

P2P lending refers to a debt financing method which enables individuals to borrow or lend, without the traditional brick and mortar financial intermediaries. Investors can lend money to the businesses in exchange for periodic interest payment and the principal amount upon maturity. It is also known as social lending. Without the traditional financial intermediaries such as banks and finance companies, P2P lending narrows the interest spread between lenders and the borrowers which is beneficial to both parties.

P2P lending is usually deemed as risker as investors are lending their money to businesses that banks might have rejected their loans. However, there are many reasons why banks can reject a loan. And one of the main reason is that these SMEs do not have enough history of track records in earning ability or cash flows.

P2P lending platforms can help to assure the investors by doing first-round screening of the SMEs before posting them online. Financial information are also provided for the investors to do due diligence.

MoolahSenseFunding Societies and Capital Match are some of the P2P lending platforms in Singapore.

3. Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a digital currency (also known as crypto-currency) created in 2009 with the promise of lower transaction fee than traditional online payment methods. It is the most accepted digital currency and some businesses accept Bitcoin as a mode of payment for goods or services. Besides acting as a mode of payment, Bitcoin is also seen as a type investment for many people. However, price of Bitcoin can be very volatile. The highest recorded price was US$1,151 per Bitcoin in 2013 while the lowest was US$205 in 2015. As at 15 Feb 2015, price of 1 Bitcoin is at US$404.

To find out moreBitcoins Investopedia 

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4. Direct Purchase Insurance (DPI)

DPI enable consumers to buy basic life insurance policies directly from the insurance companies online, without having to go through financial advisors and hence, bypass commission charges. This initiative implemented by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to allow Singaporeans to have access to basic protection without any financial advice. Consumers can compare financial products offered by different insurance companies using online platforms like CompareFirst and take their time to decide which policy best suits them.

This initiative, together with vast availability of information online, people can make more informed choice and hence reduces the conflict of interest for insurance agents. The current commission based system might prevent some of the agents from recommend the soundest advice for their clients.

Read Also: Will Buying Life Insurance Online Be The Next Big Thing?

5. Ecommerce

Everyone loves Ecommerce. Yes, everyone, even the Durian sellers.

People love to buy things online for many reasons. It can be due to convenience, price competitiveness, price comparison or variety. The trend of buying things online is set to grow further and hence, listed ecommerce companies presents an unprecedented investment opportunities for the investors. The ecommerce sector is undergoing explosive growth, attracting US$112 billion worth of investments globally in 2014.

With increased connectivity and the advancement of technology, it spurs a new wave of innovation and the birth of new subsectors. This also presents more investment options hence moving investors away from the more traditional investment methods. It is worth looking more in-depth in digital sector than ever before.

To find out more about the digital sector, visit sgx.com/digitalsector

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

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