In Singapore, the ease of global networking is impressive. At the recent Singapore FinTech Festival, a significant event in APAC attracting around 66,000 attendees, I had the valuable chance to connect with clients and friends worldwide. The event offered both enriching conversations and intriguing fintech product demonstrations. Here are some key takeaways from the event:
- Cross-border payment innovations are moving to the next phase. QR code-based schemes that allow for cross-border interoperability have gained traction in APAC. Regulators in Southeast Asia are pushing the boundaries of QR code-based schemes, as evidenced by the announcement of new QR code-based corridors between Singapore and Malaysia and between Singapore and Indonesia. The success of these projects depends not only on regulators’ initiatives and infrastructure investments but also on the participation of the private sector. Card schemes, such as Visa, are also actively involved in the QR code-based cross-border payments ecosystem. With collaboration between the public and private sectors, an interoperable QR code scheme across ASEAN countries, India, and Greater China could become a reality within the next 2–3 years. Additionally, the proliferation of Asia-based and originated B2B cross-border fintechs, such as SUNRATE, Thunes, and BVNK, is a positive development in the industry.
- Regtech and business security tech have become fintech’s new darling. Tech and fintech giants are aggressively entering the regtech and business security tech space. Companies like Ant Group, Tencent, Mastercard, and NEC are offering innovative identity and business security solutions such as identity verification (IDV), enterprise fraud management (EFM), and anti-money laundering (AML) solutions. This indicates the importance and profitability of such products. Besides tech giants, IDV tech vendors, including Daon, Onfido, and Jumio, have also showcased their latest innovations in the IDV space, such as deepfake detection and voice authentication. Forrester plans to publish reports on global and APAC local trends and vendor landscapes in the IDV, EFM, identity and access management, and AML spaces in 2024.
- Cryptos are becoming more regulated. Regulatory compliance and security are major concerns for traditional financial institutions (FIs) when entering the crypto space. After the collapse of FTX, the importance of regulatory compliance and security has been recognized by both traditional FIs and crypto businesses. Regulated crypto players such as Circle, Ripple, and Zodia Custody have participated in the Singapore FinTech Festival to showcase their strength in regulatory compliance. I am currently writing a report on the state of crypto asset custody, which will address the key security and regulatory compliance aspects of crypto. The report will be published in December.
- Chinese fintech giants are making a comeback. With the reopening of China post-pandemic and the early signs of improving China-US geopolitical tensions, Chinese fintech giants Ant and Tencent are returning to the global stage. Both companies are top sponsors of the Singapore FinTech Festival, demonstrating their commitment to going global. Ant Group’s Alipay+ strategy is breaking barriers in the retail payments space and exporting China’s successful QR code-based wallets globally. Its Business+ strategy focuses on building a one-stop-shop cross-border payment solution for underserved small- and medium-sized businesses through its B2B payment subsidiary, WorldFirst. With recent regulatory clarity in China, Ant’s global expansion will accelerate significantly. Tencent announced a partnership with Visa Direct at the event to facilitate cross-border payment collection to WeChat Pay wallets, benefiting over a billion WeChat users worldwide. This collaboration will enhance the convenience and accessibility of cross-border payments for WeChat users, further expanding the reach of WeChat Pay as a global payment solution.
To learn more about cross-border payments, B2B payments, identity and security technologies, fraud management, and Chinese fintech ecosystems, Forrester clients can read Forrester’s relevant reports (see the below links) or request a guidance session or inquiry.