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  • Writer's pictureWiziin Inc.

Fintech: The most prominent Trend in the Startup Ecosystem in Vietnam and Southeast Asia

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Imagine a world where you can access financial services anytime, anywhere, with just a few clicks or taps on your smartphone. A world where you can send money across borders, pay bills, buy insurance, invest in stocks, and borrow loans without visiting a bank branch or filling out paperwork. A world where you can enjoy personalized, convenient, and secure financial solutions that suit your needs and preferences. This is the world of FinTech or financial technology, and it is transforming the way we interact with money and finance. FinTech is not just a buzzword, it is a revolution that is reshaping the future of finance. In this article, we will explore the latest trends and opportunities in FinTech, the fastest-growing sector in the startup ecosystem in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. We will also look at how FinTech startups are disrupting traditional financial institutions and creating value for customers, investors, and society.


Top 5 Verticals in SEA by number of startups (Source: Tech in Asia)

Top 5 Verticals in SEA by number of startups (Source: Tech in Asia)

What is happening in the scene?

Vietnam and Southeast Asia have emerged as hotbeds for startup activity, attracting attention from investors and entrepreneurs alike. However, due to unfavorable macroeconomic conditions, uneven recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing inflation rates, and uncertain global events, recent statistics about ecosystem development raise some concerns among investors.

Total funding into Vietnam tech startups fell 82% to $66 million in the first half of 2023 from $372 million in the first half of 2022 (Tracxn Technologies Ltd.) Only $7.3 million was raised in the first half of 2023 in seeding-stage funding, reflecting a 71 percent drop from the second half of 2022 and an 81 percent decrease compared with the first half of 2022.

Despite the decline in funding, early-stage startups still accounted for 88% of the total funding in the first half of 2023, amounting to $58.6 million. Overall, among all startups domains, FinTech is still dominating in terms of number with 478 startups in total within the sector (according to Technode.vn Statistics).

In Vietnam

BEST Vietnam under BEST Inc., a leading integrated smart supply chain solutions and logistics services provider in China and Southeast Asia, announced last month a cooperation agreement with VNPAY, to jointly promote cashless payment solutions in the country. This means Vietnamese consumers can now complete payment for their goods and shipping fees by scanning the VNPAY QR code provided by BEST express couriers, which covers up to 32 mainstream banks and 15 e-wallets in Vietnam.

Ngo Anh Tuan, director of VNPAY QR code payment solution, said: “We hope that more customers can enjoy the fast, convenient, and secure cashless payment function of the digital age, and we also hope to optimize the workflow for BEST, thereby establishing a broader user base.”

This cashless payment solution is expected to promote the COD model to a new level, which is already the mainstream online shopping model in the nation. According to Allied Market Research’s Vietnam Express Delivery Services Market Report (2022-2030), the COD ratio for online purchases in Vietnam already exceeds 80%.

However, this model requires cash preparation by consumers, cash-carrying by couriers, daily bank trips by logistics stations, and high return rates for merchants, resulting in fragmented, labor-intensive management.

With about 57% of Vietnam’s adult population actively using e-wallets, in contrast to just 14% at the end of 2018, e-wallets are becoming increasingly adopted in Vietnam which also facilitates cash-less transformation for online shopping. The government’s commitment to establishing a cashless economy will also contribute to the development of the FinTech ecosystem in the region

Looking across the border

CeePay is a Singapore-based fintech startup that provides a mobile payment platform for businesses and consumers. The platform allows users to make payments, transfer, and manage their finances through a single app. According to the company’s website, CeePay has over 10,000 users and has processed over $1 million in transactions since its launch in 2020. The company has raised $2.5 million in seed funding so far.

Stripe, the leading Irish-American financial infrastructure platform, has released a new report that reveals how digital trade is reshaping opportunities for Singaporean businesses in the global economy. The report, based on a survey of over 500 online businesses in Singapore, shows that digital trade is not only a source of revenue growth, but also a driver of innovation, customer satisfaction, and social impact.

According to the report, 82% of Singaporean online businesses have increased their revenue from cross-border sales in the past year, and 86% expect to do so in the next year. Moreover, 77% of online businesses say that digital trade has enabled them to offer new products or services, 74% say that it has improved their customer experience, and 71% say that it has helped them achieve their social or environmental goals. Stripe believes that digital trade is the future of commerce and that Singaporean businesses have a unique opportunity to leverage their strengths in technology, talent, and trade to succeed in the global market.

Conclusion

Southeast Asia and Vietnam’s startup ecosystem holds significant potential for growth, thanks to the country’s government support measures such as tax exemptions for information technology (IT) companies and land rent concessions. With the State Bank of Vietnam’s implementation of measures such as interest rate cuts to boost the economy, during the latter half of 2023, investors and startups can expect to see more advancements and deals being carried out, moving the region’s economy closer toward fully digitalization transformation.

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