The accelerating expansion of the global smartphone market, coupled with consumers’ growing desire to manage their lives online, is creating a rising demand for banking and fintech apps. Latin America’s emerging economy represents how these trends in consumer needs are being supported by an innovative approach to the app marketplace.
Siri Borsum, Global VP Finance, Vertical Eco-Development & Partnerships at Huawei, seeks to support the finance industry in this light by encouraging partnerships between big tech companies and smaller, independent fintech businesses and banking groups. Siri is tasked with bringing improved technological solutions to consumers, adapting various products and features by encouraging organisations to partner with AppGallery.
Here she shares her view on AppGallery’s role in the Latin American fintech industry.
The fintech sector in Latin America is thriving, drawing attention from all over the globe. From its resilience to the pandemic to its ever-growing list of disruptive startups, we believe the region is one to watch, with banking groups, big techs and fintechs all bringing their focus.
Funding concentrates in three key areas: payments, lending and digital banks, with total funding for the region equating to over US$8 billion. Consumer demand for improved digital financial systems in Latin America is reflected throughout the rest of the world and, interestingly, is likely to be driven by the global pandemic. Where financial services are concerned, the pandemic accelerated the need for advanced technology amongst consumers who want to access tools and support without physically visiting a branch.
With such high consumer demand, technological innovation becomes a necessity to keep up. This poses an industry headache of legacy systems and how figuring out how to plug the gaps in pre-existing operations can be inefficient, ineffective and often impossible. This is where we’re looking to leverage our advantage of being relatively young as an app marketplace. AppGallery is the app marketplace that serves as part of the HMS ecosystem which and its comparative newness has allowed us to create a system that is built with the knowledge of previous pain-points that the digitalisation of the financial market has exposed.
This unique position and innovative approach has fueled AppGallery’s growth. From July last year until April 2020, our growth rate of total onboarded apps has accelerated, with finance apps demonstrating even stronger momentum.
In Latin America specifically, we want to ensure users have access to quality, reliable, banking applications and have partnered with over 60 of the most popular financial organisations, including the regionalised Santander platforms as well as services such as Banco Falabella.
Organisations that are both able and willing to leverage the technology available to them will be the ones to succeed and grow in the future, and Latin America demonstrates how open collaboration rather than closed competition can escalate local markets’ scale of growth.
For this to work, trust is crucial. Businesses around the world need to see each other as partners – just as they do in Latin America. Typically speaking, the financial services industry is not a partner industry, but to keep up with the evolving market, it’s something that needs to be a priority.
We look to partner with locally relevant businesses and support local markets for several reasons. Firstly, AppGallery’s diverse monthly active userbase of over 500 million are continuously looking for the best and most innovative apps. Secondly, by collaborating with the financial services industry at a local level as well as global, we can offer a broader range of fintech businesses the technology they need to adapt and grow with the market.
For example, one of the biggest challenges facing digital banks and fintechs is ID solutions. It is not enough for popular banks to candidly launch an app; they must be able to facilitate more accessible services for the public. Most traditional ways of identification are no longer competitive in a changing market and AppGallery helps banking apps integrate with biometric ID solutions, solving the problem of inaccessibility and enabling businesses to offer their customers a more competitive platform.
On top of this is the issue of cash – about 80% of transactions in Mexico rely on physical cash payments. AppGallery can help the financial sector, together with banks and third-party providers, to deliver wallet capabilities using the same flexible and secure ID solution.
We firmly believe that we should use technology to create a better and more seamless user experience while improving the lives of consumers. With this in mind, new technology and app marketplaces can provide unparalleled commercial opportunities for banks while finding areas that offer utility for customers. Whether it’s through aggregating several bank accounts, making financial decisions more accessible, offering easy-to-implement QR code payments solutions, or providing transparent access to money and investments, our technology provides developers with the tools they need to unlock new doors in the banking sector.
While we are pleased with our progress in Latin America, it’s worth saying that this is only the beginning. We plan to continue reaching out to local fintechs to not only offer support, but to continue to give the diverse audience of Huawei customers both in the LATAM region and beyond, the very best selection of innovative banking and fintech apps.