Asia's emerged as a key market for financial technology players, as the continent's large population and limited banking network lures billions in funding.
Investors poured $4.5 billion into fintech companies in Asia in 2015, three times the amount attracted by their peers in Europe, KPMG data showed.
Discussing the future of fintech in the region at InnovFest UnBound 2016, a digital technology conference organized in Singapore, a panel of experts said Asia's appeal lay in several factors: first, it was a relatively new market, hence there were fewer competitors as compared with the U.S., which remains the largest fintech market.
Second, the region had a sizable population that still lacked access to traditional means of banking, but had more than 1 billion mobile users. The number was expected to grow in the future, particularly in under-penetrated, populous markets such as India and China.
One of the panelists, Ron Hose, founder and CEO of Coins.ph, a mobile money transfer service that uses blockchain technology, explained in the Philippines, for example, "more people have Facebook accounts than bank accounts." Hose explained this was because the traditional model of banking does not fit well into a market such as the Philippines.
"If you are going to provide financial services over bank branch, your costs are just too high," he said, adding potential customers in the country have a low savings rate. "Every time the customer is walking into the [bank] branch, you're going to be losing money.'