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|Vietnam has received more than a third of global fintech funding in the ASEAN|
The report also found that Vietnam recorded a sharp increase in overall fintech funding this year, receiving 36 per cent of global funding among ASEAN countries. Vietnam received 0.4 per cent of the total funding within the ASEAN in 2018. The increase was attributable to two large deals, namely the $300 million flowing into VNPay and the $100 million into Momo Pay’s Series-C fundraising round. Vietnam’s large and underbanked, as well as highly mobile population and internet penetration rates were also important drivers to the increase in overall investment in local fintech firms.
The report found that the focus on payment solutions among investors was consistent with economies in the early stages of developing a fintech sector. The increase is also attributable to the government’s move towards the use of mobile payments and its support of the fintech industry through activities such as the Fintech Challenge Vietnam (FCV).
Harry Loh, CEO of UOB Vietnam, said, “As a bank that is strongly committed to nurturing the fintech industry in the region, we are happy to see firms in the country, particularly those in the area of payments, attracting increased funding this year. Vietnam’s young and digitally-savvy population make it an attractive market for firms focusing on payment solutions, thus leading to the strong investor interest in this area.”
Of the finrech firms surveyed for the report, 40 per cent of fintech firms based outside of ASEAN have plans to make their foray into the region. Out of which, 13 per cent have plans to expand into Vietnam. This is also evident from the growth in the number of fintech firms in the ASEAN-6 2 countries, which increased from 749 to 2,5903 over the last five years.
Janet Young, head of UOB's Group Channels and Digitalisation said, “Expanding into and within one of the world’s most diverse regions is not plain sailing for fintech firms. Therefore, in order to increase their chances of success, it is important for them to find the right partner to supplement the experience, insights, and connections required to navigate the different regulatory frameworks and operating landscapes across the ASEAN.”
Businesses were the main target customer segment for fintech firms (79 per cent). Among businesses, financial institutions made up half (50 per cent) of the target segment, followed by corporates (17 per cent) and small- and medium-sized enterprises (12 per cent). Consumers and startups made up the rest of the target segment (21 per cent).
In addition to having the required funding, fintech firms that offer business-to-business solutions for financial institutions and corporates need to be resilient. The report found that as most large companies require multi-level approvals across different stakeholders for any new solutions they implement, the fintech firms would need to ensure that they are able to meet their operating expenses over the longer waiting period.
The report also found that fintech firms in the ASEAN are generally optimistic about their current and future funding needs, with almost half of those surveyed being confident of raising more than $10 million in their next funding round.
Talent, however, remains a challenge. 58 per cent of the fintech firms surveyed indicated that the lack of talent inhibited their regional expansion plans.
A total of 139 fintech firms across the ASEAN were surveyed for their views on five areas – customer adoption, regulation, operations, competition from fintechs, and funding. In addition, they also interviewed more than 20 thought leaders from the wider fintech community for a first-hand account of the challenges they faced when scaling their business across the ASEAN.