South-east Asia has seen an explosion of new fintech companies, with the number growing from just 34 to 1,254 since 2000, new research from Robocash Group has found.

That’s a whopping 3,588 per cent increase in the number of fintech companies in payments, alternative lending, e-wallets and digital banking over the past two decades, according to the SEA Fintech 2022 Report.

As of the end of 2022, there are 1,287 companies in the nine countries and four sectors studied.

The alternative finance group’s research found that alternative lending has the highest concentration of fintech companies (43.4 per cent), followed by payment & transfers (39.6 per cent).

India has the highest number of companies operating within its borders, amounting to 541 (43.1 per cent). This is followed by Indonesia with 165 (13.2 per cent), Singapore with 162 (12.9 per cent) and Philippines with 125 (10 per cent). Malaysia, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are home to 84( 6.7 per cent), 78 (6.2 per cent), 51 (4.1 per cent) and 27 (2.2 per cent) organisations respectively, while Bangladesh has the smallest number at 21 (1.7 per cent).

The bulk of the funds flow to:

  • India $25.6bn (48 per cent)
  • Singapore $14.7bn (27.6 per cent)
  • Indonesia $7.5bn (14.1 per cent)
  • Philippines $2.4bn (3.4 per cent)
  • Vietnam $1.8bn (3.4 per cent)
  • Malaysia $966m (1.8 per cent)
  • Pakistan $240m (0.5 per cent)
  • Bangladesh $24m (0.05 per cent)
  • Sri Lanka $307,000 (0.001 per cent).

In terms of earnings for 2021 the countries are ranked:

  • India $10bn (57.2 per cent)
  • Indonesia $2.4bn (13.7 per cent)
  • Singapore $1.9bn (10.6 per cent)
  • Vietnam $1.7bn (9.4 per cent)
  • The Philippines $875m (4.9 per cent)
  • Bangladesh $287m (1.6 per cent)
  • Malaysia $283m (1.6 per cent)
  • Pakistan $167m (0.9 per cent)
  • Sri Lanka $24m (0.1 per cent).

However, in terms of return on investment, the most effective countries are:

  • Bangladesh 7840.9 per cent
  • Pakistan 686.4 per cent
  • Vietnam 117.6 per cent
  • Indonesia 68.7 per cent
  • Malaysia 48.5 per cent
  • Philippines 39.7 per cent
  • Sri Lanka 29.7 per cent
  • India 25 per cent
  • Singapore 16.5 per cent

Such extreme values in the first two countries (Bangladesh and Pakistan) are due to near-zero fundraising rates, while their revenue level is still below the SEA average, the report noted.

Commenting on the results, the Robocash analysts said: “The results show that The Philippines puts the most emphasis on these four fintech areas, which constitute 54.3 per cent of all fintechs in this country.

“The rest of the distributing goes as follows: Sri Lanka 41.5 per cent (65), Vietnam 37, 7 per cent (207), Pakistan 24.2 per cent (211), Indonesia 19.4 per cent (850), Malaysia 18.3 per cent (458), Bangladesh 15 per cent (140), India 10.5 per cent (5,176). The lower the share, the higher the diversification by types of fintech businesses in the country and the competition between them.”

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