Financial technology has been one of the main priorities for development in Singapore, with the sector receiving a lot of governmental support. This has encouraged both domestic growth and attracted some of the biggest technology companies in the world to open fintech labs in the city-state.
So far it has been a success, with Singapore ranked as the second leading fintech hub in the world in 2016. It is therefore a great place for any fintech business to make its base, but there are other countries around the world providing support and offering fantastic opportunities for fintech start-ups.
Venture capital financing in Canadian fintech increased by more than 35% in 2016 to $137.7 million. Over the last five years this number has grown from $21.8 million, to the point where venture capital-backed investment hit its highest level in nearly two decades.
While this is nowhere near the $4.27 billion investment levels that neighbours USA received in 2016, at least investment is increasing. In the USA investments declined by at least 30% with less activity due to the uncertainty introduced by Brexit, the US election and more. Canada is also a smaller market compared to the US too, providing more opportunities for a new start-up with less competition around.
The UK is still the number one leading global fintech hub. This is mainly due to London being the financial capital of the world, home to the Silicon roundabout and bases for many of the world’s top financial companies. It may not receive as much investment as the USA but in 2015 the British fintech sector generated £6.6 billion in revenue.
With the Brexit vote, there were fears that it would have a negative impact, possibilities that many businesses would move out of the city. However, that hasn’t been the case so far, with Britain holding on to its top spot despite Berlin starting to make its move.
The Scandinavian and Nordic nations of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland all have a flourishing fintech scene as it expands around the world. The region already possesses a few businesses in the sector worth over $1 billion and is home to many new and exciting start-ups across banking and other areas.
As a smaller scene than places like the US and UK, there are more opportunities for new start-ups to compete while also joining an already growing scene. Plus, with close ties to the rest of Europe it can be an appealing place to begin a new fintech firm, whether the business covers banking, security, trading or anything else.
Hong Kong has set itself out as a rival to Singapore in terms of fintech, and though it may be losing at the moment it is still a powerhouse in many ways. Being a bit behind Singapore is good news for many start-ups in Hong Kong though, as it means action is being taken to improve the situation and become more competitive.
Such competition has seen investment increase to close the gap, with Hong Kong holding its own inaugural fintech conference in 2016 as well. As a financial gateway to China, Hong Kong has an edge in that respect too.
These regions offer some of the best opportunities for growth, investment and success for anyone hoping to launch a fintech start-up.
First appeared at Fintechnews SG