The 31st edition of The Fintech Times newspaper has landed, with our first Guest Editor Chris ‘the trouble maker’ Skinner.
Chris Skinner is a globally known keynote speaker on the future of finance and technology, and the CEO of The Finanser Ltd.
When the guys asked me to be guest editor of the spring edition of The Fintech Times, I felt quite honoured. I’m not a journalist, editor or media guy, although many people view me that way. I’m actually a commentator, as I call it. An opinion person. Writing a blog is not the same as running a magazine or newspaper, but this is the job that I was asked to do and I’ve got stuck in.
At the time we set out to do this, the focus was on many of the Asian events coming up this Spring. Then some big bug hit us all and everything got cancelled, postponed or generally disrupted. In fact, the coronavirus is what a real disruption means. I find it funny how many people talk about banks being disrupted by technology, but technology has not been the coronavirus of banking. More like a summer cold. It’s made the banks sneeze a bit, but they’re not laid flat on the doctor’s table as many predicted. In fact, many banks are thriving, and that’s something that I’ve spent the last two years working on by studying banks that are going through digital transformation. It’s not easy – in fact, it’s really hard – but they are doing it.
So, as this was originally targeted at looking at Asian fintech, we have a number of great contributions from friends in my network. Brandon Chung of 11:FS gives a great perspective of Asian fintech development and the way in which technology giants are taking over customer relationships while financial firms provide product. Zennon Kapron, founder of Kapronasia, questions the froth of fintech in Asia as new virtual bank licences are offered in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, while Henry Ma, the chief information officer of WeBank, discusses the rise of virtual bank licensing across Asia and the fact that ‘virtual banks must show a path to sustainability that profits from higher-volume, smaller ticket-sized transactions’. Dr. Jidong Chen, who leads all aspects of Ant Financial’s biometric identification technology business, talks about all things to do with customer authentication and onboarding, and how to overcome that awesome or awful challenge of ‘know your customer’ (KYC).
The Fintech Power 50 also includes two heavyweights, alongside me, namely Jim Marous and Brett King, who both recently travelled to China and saw the Chinese phenomenon of big tech giants in banking in action. Jim reflects on this in his write-up of how tomorrow’s banking exists today. Meantime, Brett takes a wider perspective and looks at the paradox of whether fintech unicorns are really worth their multibillion-dollar valuations when they’re hardly making any money today.
I’m sure you will find something in this issue that makes you think. Overall, to be truthful, I hope you find something in this issue that makes you go aha! I like aha moments. We don’t have enough of them. I had an aha moment years ago, when I first visited China. Since then, I’ve been all over Asia, Africa, the world and truly believe we are seeing a world of change driven by leapfrog economies coming from the Southern hemisphere and Asia. You’ll find that is the theme of my contribution to this issue, and the theme overall: we are living in a leapfrog world.
Thanks again to the Fintech Times for inviting me along, and trust you enjoy this special Asian edition.
Read The Fintech Times – Edition 31 online HERE