Conference hails Việt Nam fintech potential

November 01, 2019 - 09:10

Việt Nam is a promising market for fintech companies thanks to its young demographic, strong e-commerce growth, and growing smartphone and internet penetration, a conference heard in HCM City on Thursday.


Visitors experience technologies displayed on the sidelines of the Vietnam ICT Outlook Conference held in HCM City on October 31. — VNS Photo

HCM CITY — Financial technology has great potential in Việt Nam, a conference heard in HCM City on Thursday.

Phạm Xuân Hòe, deputy director general of the Banking Strategy Institute at the State Bank of Việt Nam, told the Vietnam ICT Outlook Conference titled ‘Shaping the future of Vietnam Fintech’ this year, said Việt Nam is a promising market for fintech companies thanks to its young demographic, strong e-commerce growth, and growing smartphone and internet penetration.

“About 66 per cent of the country’s population uses the internet, 64 per cent uses social networks, and 60 per cent uses smartphones.

“Out of 143 million phone subscriptions, 45 per cent are for 3G and 4G services.”

The country has four public banks, 28 private banks, 1,183 people's credit funds and numerous other credit and financial institutions, with whom fintech firms could tie-up for mutual benefit, he said.

Lâm Nguyễn Hải Long, chairman of the HCM City Computer Association (HCA), said: “According to the Institute for Development and Research on Banking Technology, the country has 154 enterprises operating in the fintech sector and 70 per cent of them are start-ups.

“The number is modest compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore, a great fintech power from whom we need to learn.”

Fintech companies have an advantage over banks by having more convenient and diverse products and services and low operating costs, he said.

The Government has made significant efforts to tailor regulations to increase banking penetration to 70 per cent from 59 per cent in 2017 and to create a non-cash economy where the cash to total liquidity is less than 10 per cent by 2020.

This should spur the development of fintech solutions, he said.

The fintech sector has developed strongly in Việt Nam in recent years, but faces considerable challenges, he said.

One of them is the lack of Government policies and regulations that could support the development of an eco-system, he said.

He wanted the Government to quickly develop a legal framework and offer incentives to attract investment from big tech companies in developing fintech platforms.

Nguyễn Đình Thắng, chairman of LienVietPostBank, said: “Digital banking is an inevitable trend.”

He too called on the Government to create a legal framework and adopt policies to support and promote communications to boost non-cash payment and develop the digital economy.

Trần Đình Cường, deputy director of the State Bank of Việt Nam’s HCM City branch, said fintech has become one of the fields the banking industry has paid special attention to recently.

The central bank has established a Steering Committee on Financial Technology to develop strategy and a legal framework to promote the sector.

Phan Tâm, deputy minister of Information and Communications, said the financial sector is a backbone of the economy, and the successful adoption of digital technologies to develop new products and services and new business models in the sector would exponentially increase the efficiency of the entire economy.

At the conference, Dr Lillian Koh Noi Keng, CEO of Fintech Academy Singapore, shared experiences in fintech application in Singapore.

Delegates also discussed cybersecurity challenges for fintech; fintech and the workforce; machine learning and AI in the fintech marketplace; fintech and innovative start-ups and other topics.

TOP ICT Vietnam awards

The HCA held a ceremony on October 30 to give away the 2019 TOP ICT Vietnam awards to 35 companies in the information and communications technology sector.

The awards were meant to honour enterprises in 15 categories, including top information technology – telecommunications enterprises, top manufacturers of information technology – telecommunications, top distributors of information technology – telecommunications, top retailers of information technology – telecommunications, top internet services –telecommunications enterprise, top cloud service enterprises, top digital content service enterprises, top suppliers of IT system integration services, top software enterprises, and top software outsourcing enterprises.

The awards were based on turnover, products and services.

The winners accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the industry's revenues. — VNS