South East Asia - The Perfect Market for Fintech?

The countries that belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have a fintech investment of over $6 billion. This figure is up 20% than in the previous year.

South East Asia - The Perfect Market for Fintech?

Shift aside America and Europe, there is a new and hot player in the fintech market.

Although the fintech industry is gaining tremendous traction in different parts of the world, it is doing especially well in South East Asia. Gone are the days where countries like Thailand were considered to be only tourist destinations. These countries have developed past that moniker and are well on their way to become fintech powerhouses.

Statistics show us that the countries that belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have a fintech investment of over $6 billion. This figure is up 20% than in the previous year.

As an investor or someone interested in financial markets, you might find yourself asking the question - is South East Asia the perfect market for fintech?

Read on for discussion of the ASEAN markets and their preparedness for fintech and its derivatives.

Fintech, what is it?

Fintech is the portmanteau for financial technology. Simply put, it means using technology to handle financial transactions and servicing. These services range from banking to digital payments and more.

Fintech in South East Asia

Only about 2% of the of the economy in South East Asia runs digital platforms. This means that there is a whole lot of room for this sector to grow as it is clearly nowhere nearly saturation yet.

Some entrepreneurs have spotted this gap and are doing their best to provide digital solutions to the financial problems that are faced by people in this region. This has led to about 1,000 new companies with goals to disrupt and bring about change in the fintech industry.

Of all the countries in South East Asia, Singapore is the most advanced in the fintech field. The country boasts almost 500 fintech companies, while Indonesia follows close behind, with around 300 fintech companies.

Fintech solutions in South East Asia started with online payments. Companies like Asiapay and iPay88 focused on creating platforms that made it possible for customers to pay for products or services online without the need for cash.

From online payments, digital platforms were created to make it easier to borrow money. People and businesses could now borrow money online without any hassle, bank visits, or paperwork.

Why South East Asia is the perfect market for Fintech

How would you describe the perfect conditions to market a product? Certainly, it would be along the lines of “where there is a high demand for a certain product or service”.

Well, there is certainly a high demand for fintech solutions in South East Asia.

Here are some of the reasons why South East Asia is the perfect market for fintech:

  • The demography is made up of people who are young and ready to learn about how to use technology; only 30% of the population is made up of people over 40.
  • There is better wealth distribution in South East Asia than in many other parts of the world. This is evidenced by the overall GDP growth being higher than the global average.
  • There is a need for low cost remittance services: a large proportion of ASEAN citizens have family members in other parts of the world. Demand is fueled by the exorbitant rates that traditional banks and payments systems charge for transfers.

South East Asia’s Readiness for Fintech

  • The fintech market in South East Asia is projected to surpass the $70 billion mark by the end of 2020.
  • Over 70% of adults in South East Asia do not have a bank account. This makes it very easy for fintech companies to penetrate the market because there are no other financial institutions competing for customers.
  • A high percentage (82%) of the South East Asia population is willing to use fintech products. This figure is higher than in other parts of the world. The closest are North America, Europe and Latin America with 77%, 76% and 49% respectively.
  • The number of internet users in South East Asia is expected to increase by almost 50% in 2019.
  • The demography of the ASEAN group is made up of mostly younger people. Only 30 percent of their population is older than 40.


Just like with other industries, the fintech industry in South East Asia does faces challenges. These problems include government regulations and tax laws not keeping up with innovation.

In spite of these challenges, you can be sure that South East Asia is poised to be a top destination, not just for vacations but also to invest in fintech businesses.


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