Fintech, the new frontier in China

Financial technology industry or “Fintech” in China has been experiencing an unprecedented boom in recent years, becoming the world’s largest Fintech market in the process. The early adoption by Chinese consumers of this new industry has seen China become a world leader in this field in every aspect, with the rest of the world left chasing the trail set. According to a report published by KPMG and H2 Ventures, which compiles the info about most innovative Fintech companies worldwide, 5 Chinese Fintech firms rank among the top 10 in the world. China also leads the world in terms of users as well as market size. Although the options for emerging start-ups seem boundless,the established companies (e.g. State-owned banks) also could grasp the opportunity to thrust themselves forward in the digital age. Why has China led the world in this new emerging industry?What does the future hold and what, if any, are the dangers of this online financial revolution?

The main players in China’s Fintech industry are internet giants such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, which took advantage of the small amount of competitors in the market. Next ones are Union Pay, AliPay and WeChat Pay, that can be used in everyday life not only for online payments, but also for POS payments; plus, most of the residents in China are more than familiar with QR codes everywhere. As inevitable consequence, China is slowly turning into a cashless society. Furthermore, China’s transition into a consumer based economy as well as the rise in the usage of smart devices has contributed in the soaring boost of Fintech, which could be considered as a typical case of a phenomenon at “the right time, in the right place”, in a country which counts more citizens who own smart phones than the ones who have credit/debit cards.

As well as online payments, the Fintech industry in China has also been increasingly innovative in online lending. Obtaining a loan via the banking systems was once deemed a very tough and time-consuming process; now online shopping stores provide loan services for its users based on their transactions and their personal data, which arealso turned into their credit scores. China’s online shoppers could borrow small amounts free from regulatory supervision, however, this peer-to-peer loan system has alsocaused a vast array of fraud. Government regulations in China have been very open and accommodating for the Fintech Industry previously; however, in 2016 new regulations were introduced to control the activities of Fintech companies for more transparency on the transactions proceeded by them.

Therefore, as Fintech has grown and developed into a world powerhouse leader in China, the need for security and transparency would probably become more and more important to consumers in the future.

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