The fintech turf wars in Southeast Asia are just hotting up

Image credit: Andrey Popov

While DBS Bank might be ahead of the pack when it comes to its tech offerings, competitors from across the pond are starting to surpass the banking giant. Interestingly, online commerce seems to be the biggest instigator of fintech disruption. With big players such as JP Morgan Chase & Co investing over $40 billion in just four years to up their tech game, DBS will need to cover a lot of ground to regain some of their market share, whether it decides to boost new fintech innovations or invest in existing product infrastructure.   

Trade wars part of the disruption 

One of the biggest game-changers for personal finance innovation in Southeast Asia is the mass investment in the region following the trade wars between the US and China. This forces operations to spread to other parts of Asia in order to ensure the continuation of services. Citigroup’s revenue in the intra-Asian trade corridor grew, and with it’s $8-billion a year spend on tech, it’s a small wonder the group is seeing results. For Citi, the boost in tech not only ramped up their game in terms of cybersecurity, but they’re also looking at boosting overall customer experience. The boost in tech also allows them to streamline their operations, which leads to savings on their expenses. 

Specialised features that create a competitive edge 

For banks, a large component of upping their tech game includes offering products to customers that that will allow them a seamless experience with their bank of choice. The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into the banking game is a must, as it forms an integral part of the decision-making process without even having to refer credit deals through to an actual person. Much of the finance, savings, and investment products will be more easily accessible thanks to this technology. The technology can also be helpful to those looking to improve their financial situation by matching the right products and services to their profiles. 

The ease of doing business 

Part of the reason that banks are finding it hard to keep up with fintech innovators and disruptors is that these players are offering a unique service that they may not previously have had access to. According to research, only 27% of adults have a formal bank account. As if this statistic isn’t shocking enough, only 33% of businesses have access to financial products that are considered professional. Fintech companies are closing gaps previously left by archaic banking structures that didn’t quite meet the needs of people who did not utilise banks for managing their finances. For financial institutions to remain relevant in a world where technology is growing at a stellar speed, tech should receive a substantial portion of their financial investment. 

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