China Feasts on Fintech as Asia Passes The West

The Asia-Pacific region surged past North America for funding of fintech enterprises in 2016, due to blockbuster China deals.

In 2016, fintech financing in Asia-Pacific eclipsed that in North America for the first time, rising to $11.2 billion, from $5.2 billion the year before. North America attracted $9.2 billion in fintech financing in 2016, and Europe $2.4 billion. According to Accenture’s analysis of CB Insights data, global fintech investment grew 10% to $23.2 billion, largely due to blockbuster deals in China.

“China’s fintech investment took off in Asia-Pacific in 2016. Specifically, Alibaba and were two major fintech investors, as they focus on providing their customers with end-to-end services including payments and lending,” says Albert Chan, Accenture managing director for financial services for China. “Well aware that they’re facing disruption from outside the industry, many of China’s financial services companies are investing in fintech companies and exploring cutting-edge solutions such as blockchain technology. The result is robust competition from nontraditional players and established financial institutions working collaboratively with start-ups to explore fintech solutions.”

Asia accounted for 20% of the number of fintech investments last year, but Asian deals accounted for 43% of the global funding taking place in 2016. China’s appetite for fintech looks set for another bumper year following the creation in January of a $1.44 billion investment fund dedicated to fintech mergers and acquisitions by a consortium of Chinese state-owned companies and private enterprises.

“This year we are likely to see continued significant investment into fintech in China both from new market entrants and traditional financial institutions,” Chan says. “Expect to see more innovation around artificial intelligence, blockchain, Big data and security. There’s also a broad agenda around improving customer services and experience, so we will continue to see fintech offerings around providing better advice to consumers, as in robo-advisory, and direct access to online lending and investment services.”