What should you know about Singapore fintechs?
As the country of Singapore became a hot topic right now, one could be wondering what is the reason for that. It actually became a very big (and developing at an impressive pace) startup hub. But why is that the case?
The colony of Singapore was founded as the British East India Company’s trading post in 1819. The Republic became independent in 1965 and has since then kept on growing. Today it is part of the original Four Asian Tigers group, and the Lion City (as it has been nicknamed) stands next to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea as one of the most exciting economies of the continent. Singaporean banks DBS, UOB, and OCBC can be found on the rankings of the world’s strongest banks (Bloomberg’s list for example), and it may look like banking and fintech startups have a perfect life there, right?
Barrings, at the time being the oldest UK merchant bank, became insolvent on 26th February 1995. According to many people, the person that should be blamed for that should be Nick Leeson, who at the time was also nicknamed the ‘Rogue Trader’.
Before Leeson’s 1995 extradition to Singapore happened, he lived and grew up in Watford, and then spent a bit of time in Germany (Frankfurt to be precise). His attention was caught by Singapore, as the Republic was developing a growing role in Capital Markets. The situation could, in some way, resemble the one we are observing currently.
Today the country is a big and boasting hub for startups, and if anyone denies that, they must be lying to themselves. Economic conditions here are really favorable, and the taxes are good as well. This is also one of the most corruption-free economies on the planet.
So that is not, by any means, surprising that Singapore looks like an attractive destination for investors. Some would say that Hong Kong (because it’s a big financial hub) is more important, but the economy of Singapore is more diverse. It is also a bit more Western-like, which is a feature much more appealing for the tech scene.
The major players on the scene of startups in Singapore include Startupbootcamp’s Samuel Hall, HSBC’s Jennifer Doherty, and the FinTech Consortium’s Gerben Visser. Singapore draws the attention of the Fintechs, as the major companies (MasterCard, PayPal, HSBC, Wells Fargo, or Citi) have all been involved in the island acceleration). As all the big names are present there, it is rather obvious that Singapore reaches high positions in different rankings. It has recently been ranked 5th on the Top 5 Global Fintech StartUp Hubs list behind Chicago, New York, London, and Silicon Valley.
So maybe if you weren’t considering that yet, it could be the right moment to start following some companies – CoinPip for instance. It’s a very interesting startup, that helps its users to make their payments cheaper. All that with the use of blockchains. Another one is Datarama, which provides a platform for investors and bankers offering a big database of companies’ and individuals’ details. But there is way more than just those two startups.
Traditionally, Europe is thought of as an innovation hub, but the sad truth is that only London is present on the global startup map. Of course, other cities (Stockholm, Tel Aviv, or Berlin) are doing whatever they can to keep up. The same happens in Asia, as both Sydney and Hong Kong are chasing Singapore.
The one thing that needs to be said is that Singapore’s government heavily supports the startup’s development on the island. And there is still a lot to do, but the prospects are way more than exciting. Singapore seems to be the perfect candidate to be a part of the changes in banking, not only because of some trends (like blockchain for example) but also as there is an urge for the institutions to be more transparent as well as socially and environmentally responsible.
Should you want to find out more about the history of Singapore’s development, and see more news about the exciting companies that are present in the fintech market there, check out Disruption Banking’s piece that touches on this fascinating subject: https://disruptionbanking.com/2018/05/03/fintech-nation-singapore/.