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4 top popular Asian FinTechs enabling innovations in finance

By Edil Corneille

November 10, 2020

  • Ant Group
  • Asia
  • Grab
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FinTech, Asia, trends, blockchain, Artificial intelligence, remittances, digital banking, Augmented Reality, financial inclusion, RegTech, Security, lending, Razorpay, Toss, Grab, AntThe financial technology (FinTech) industry in Asia is booming with the rapid adoption of the services provided attributing to increased internet and mobile penetration. In countries such as China and India, innovation in FinTech is inevitable as the large populations in these countries demand improved financial services. The upsurge in FinTech evolution is primarily augmented by the emergence of new FinTech startups, new-to-bank population, and a robust wave of technological advancements.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the usage of FinTech tools by consumers as they are now wary of conducting their banking activities by physically visiting the locations of financial institutions. Banks have heavily started to focus on investing in technological innovations and making the digital journey seamless for the end consumers. These traditional institutions are also collaborating with FinTech startups to remain competitive in the market. Regulators across Asia, as well as the globe, cannot ignore innovation in FinTech or else they risk being left behind. The roll-out of digital-only banks (neobanks), the collaboration between traditional institutions and startups, sharing of data through an Application Programming Interface (API) ecosystem, etc., are some of the factors responsible for the rise of FinTechs in Asia. Below is a list of popular FinTechs disrupting the financial space in Asia.

Ant Group

The Hangzhou-based FinTech has been making headlines recently due to its $34.5 billion IPO announcement which has been suspended by the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Alibaba’s Ant Group, the parent organisation of Alipay, had filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The unicorn was officially founded in October 2014 and it originated from Alipay, initially an escrow service founded in 2004. Alipay was established by Alibaba with the aim to provide digital payment services to consumers and merchants on Alibaba’s platforms.

In September, the Chinese organisation Ant Group unveiled Trusple, an international trade and financial service platform powered by AntChain, a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) open platform which supports diverse applications. AntChain was launched in 2018. Ant Group has revealed plans to expand the applications of AntChain and continue to enable the digitalisation of assets on AntChain as well as enable the circulation of digitalised assets on a wider scale.

Grab

Singapore-based Grab, also known as  Southeast Asia’s super app, provides transportation, logistics and financial services. The Grab Financial Group is working towards improving access to financial services across payments, rewards, lending and insurance to enrich the lives of 100 million individuals across Southeast Asia.

The company’s GrabPay solution is a seamless point-of-sale (POS) system for merchants and a mobile wallet in Southeast Asia for payments such as in-store purchases, Grab transactions and fund transfers. The GrabPay Card was launched in the Philippines in June, which is a digital-first prepaid card powered by Mastercard, thereby extending GrabPay’s reach globally with card security, hassle-free online payments and an expanded rewards ecosystem to bring the convenience of cashless payments to more Filipinos.

In August, Maybank in partnership with Grab and Mastercard unveiled the Maybank Grab Mastercard Platinum card in Malaysia, designed to provide citizens with even more ways to be rewarded for their mobile-first lifestyle and for using Grab services.

Razorpay

Indian FinTech company Razorpay announced in October that it secured $100 million in its Series D financing round, making it the newest unicorn in the country. Razorpay provides businesses with the flexible ability to accept payments across multiple channels – online, links, self-hosted pages, third party branded stores, or through a QR code.

Razorpay has built India’s payments infrastructure connecting consumers with businesses irrespective of any payment instrument (100+ at last count). Its growing portfolio of payment products built on the top of payments infrastructure – payment links, subscription, invoices, payment pages, etc., are said to have been a critical partner in the financial journey of millions of businesses.

The FinTech’s neo-banking platform, RazorpayX, is said to have served over 10,000 businesses – processing their payroll through Opfin, paying for expenses through corporate cards and paying their vendors in real time, disbursing billions of dollars through the underlying payouts layer.

Toss

The mobile financial service is operated by Seoul-based Viva Republica who announced in August that it received an investment of USD 173 million. Toss has been recognised for its corporate value of about USD 2.6 billion through this investment. Toss has grown to be a financial service currently said to be used by 10 million monthly users through the growth of monthly active users (MAU) by about four times over the past three years.

By completing the acquisition of LG Uplus’ PG division, ‘Toss Payments’ secured 80,000 franchisees that account for 20 per cent of domestic PG transactions. The Insurance subsidiary ‘Toss Insurance’ is bringing new consultation attempts focusing on customer satisfaction.

Since it started as a simple remittance service that does not require an accredited certificate in February 2015, FinTech unicorn Toss has exceeded 49 million cumulative downloads and 17 million cumulative subscribers as of August. In December 2019, Toss Bank received approval by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) for a preliminary license to operate an internet-only bank.

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