What does India-Singapore’s Fintech Collaboration Mean to the World?

Both India and Singapore have emerged as digital super-powers in Asia, thanks to the wholehearted dedication of the governments in both countries to digitise various functions and processes.

India is known to provide the highest ROI in fintech and also holds the world’s largest biometric database. This makes it the perfect foundational platform to launch fintech initiatives as they require strong digital infrastructure to succeed, expand, and subsequently grow manifold.

Singapore, on the other hand, has a highly developed system to help fintech ventures brainstorm, ideate, create and experiment and finally launch innovative, creative solutions in the market. The city-state’s state-of-the-art sandbox is equipped to test new fintech products. It also possesses cutting edge physical and digital infrastructure along with a highly-skilled resource base. The latter is a rare asset in most countries around the world, in today’s date. Singapore also has the risk capital necessary to invest into up and coming fintech ventures that have high chances of becoming profitable.

Given the fintech and digital prowess that both countries are endowed with, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Government of Maharashtra (GoM) have decided to join hands to develop fintech projects using disruptive platforms such as blockchain and mobile payments and create the next-gen fintech marketplace.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

MAS is the Central Bank of Singapore, as well as its integrated financial regulator. MAS has been working closely with the financial sector in Singapore to turn the city-state into the world’s financial centre. MAS has been steadily investing resources and a variety of initiatives to boost digital intervention in various financial aspects. Fintech is all set to disrupt the traditional banking and financial processes and functions. MAS aims to enable fintech to make financial services easily accessible to the society, thus boosting social welfare and enabling growth.

Singapore’s current fintech prowess

Singapore is home to a strong startup ecosystem. It houses around 400 fintech startups which provide all the typical financial services along with cutting edge services designed to disrupt the financial and banking sector.

The massive fintech industry in Singapore serves the entire Southeast and South Asia. The city-state is the forerunner of various global initiatives involving experimentation and validation of various fintech ventures.

Given its progressive business environment, Singapore comes up with both disruptive technologies and the platform to test them before they are launched in the market. It does this through its unique regulatory sandbox which allows fintech ventures and startups to first develop and test their products in order to test if they are in compliance with the regulatory frameworks. Startups can do this using the sandbox which makes it easier for them to launch fool-proof products in the market by testing the entire product/service using the sandbox. In a nutshell, the regulatory sandbox and Singapore’s ability to extend risk capital to fintech startups is what makes it a super power when it comes to exploring the various promises that disruptive technologies in the financial sector hold.

This along with the fact that Singapore already is the fintech leader in the region surrounded by countries such as India, all of Southeast Asia and China, all of which are witnessing rapid growth in the fintech sector and thus proactively collaborating with Singapore, is all set to make the latter one of the biggest fintech capitals of the world in the next five years.

Rapid growth of fintech in India

India has been seeing a surge in use of digital media and technology since the last couple of decades. The last few years saw India create a powerful database of biometrics, an increased penetration of mobile phones across urban and rural sectors, introduction of 4G networks, and convergence of banks accounts of citizens across the country.

In this era where data is considered the new oil, India is the perfect place for fintech startups to launch their disruptive products. Fintech enabled products will move the country and its people to next-generation banking and better investment options and decisions.

Policy makers in India have been making sure that while the country sees a major shift towards a digital India, strong regulatory framework and policies are there in place to ensure consumer protection and steps to be taken against money laundering as well as, to curtail them.

While Singapore’s DBS Bank was voted the world’s ‘Best Digital Bank,’ India, too, now has its own fully digital bank ‘Digibank’ which was launched by DBS Bank, back in 2017.

India has been a forerunner when it comes to adopting fintech services, as well. It is currently, the second country in the world to have adopted fintech services across a wide gamut of industry segments. About 52% of India’s population is currently using at least one fintech product which in most cases is a digital wallet linked to a digital bank, or the popular UPI (United Payments Interface) platform which was launched by the National Payments Corporation of India in December 2016.

The future of India-Singapore fintech collaboration

With Singapore teeming with well-developed and tested fintech services and solutions and India being the perfect ground ready to embrace the disruptive financial tech into its daily life, the collaboration couldn’t have come at a better time. The Government of Maharashtra currently aims to establish India as a market for fintech solutions and is planning to start with the financial capital of India, Mumbai.

Singapore plans to pick up speed further and MAS already has a number of initiatives scheduled to build on the fintech foundation. It has recently invested USD 19.85 Mn in AI and also raised a record high of USD 229.1 Mn last year, in fintech funding.

Singapore is steadily moving towards becoming the fintech hub of the world. Its collaboration with India is going to be a win-win for both countries. While India benefits from the slew of fintech products which will go a long way in building social welfare in the country and financial independence through easy banking and financing options, Singapore has found itself a massive new marketplace for the ground breaking fintech solutions it has been developing.

  • August 22, 2019