Published 11 April 2017 Category: Insights, FinTech

Why FinTech Needs Flexibility?

Half of the world’s global investment in fintech is happening in Asia. The recent World Economic Forum at Davos played spotlight to China’s appetite for mobile payment, where Alibaba’s Alipay and WeChat’s payment services are dominating the sector. And According to Accenture, investment in fintech reached an all-time high in Asia last year, at US$10.5 billion. Meanwhile, investment in both the US and Europe dropped.

Here are the top five trends we’ve seen in the booming fintech scene.
1. Focus on Agility
As fintech becomes more fiercely competitive, especially in Asia, companies will need to become more flexible as in the industry booms. While moving from what are essentially startups into established companies, fintechs will have to think about how to both expand and keep their competitive edges.
2. Be Mobile
Fintechs thrive from bringing flexibility to their customers’ fingertips, in many cases. Where many have poor access to digital products and where cash dominates, fintechs will need to capitalize on their mobile-oriented, cashless products. It’s no easy challenge ahead, despite the heavy investment climate. After all, the current and best crop of fintechs is hedged closely on the Fourth Digital Revolution—mobile connectivity and the internet of things.
3. Create a Flexible Working Environment
One way to stay on top is to create a flexible working environment. If employees are given the opportunity to be agile—for example, working through shared office spaces—there’s a better environment to keep them happy, and more opportunity to expand. A flexible office environment can also be created through flex office hours, telecommunicating, and most importantly, understanding that the office cannot simply be defined by a building or space.
4. Create a Space for Creativity
Take Alibaba—makes of Alipay—for example. Their office campus has transformed the Chinese city Hangzhou into an entrepreneurial hub, now with more than 1,000 startups. The offices are known for a campus that is so flexible to its employees and open to incubating business ideas, that one successful startup was even born out of Alibaba’s cafeteria.
5. Slowly, and Carefully, Expand
Fintech needs to be taken seriously—it could bring banking to billions, and as an innovator in the market, companies need to start exploring how to both expand their offices and retain employees as they become more established. The best way to do this is to expand by renting flexible office space, since skyrocketing prices of office rentals are driving people out of financial districts. And what about the safety of the fintechs themselves? In both Hong Kong and Singapore, the governments have launched sandbox initiatives to encourage this type of experimentation. A new report from Forrester shows that having a safety net like this allows them to thrive—without having this safety, much like startups, it’s likely that fintech companies wouldn’t be able to experiment and become successful.
In fintech companies—because their DNA is essentially like that of startups—creativity, entrepreneurship, and out-of-the box thinking are key to success. All of these things need to be supported by a flexible working environment.