Fintech funding in Asia Pacific is on a tear, reaching $9.6 billion for the first six months of the year, more than twice the $4.26 billion invested in the region in all of 2015, according to Accenture.
The figures, based on CB Insights data, reveal investments in Asia-Pacific have eclipsed North America, which as of July 31 garnered $4.58 billion in fintech investments; and also tops Europe, which attracted $1.85 billion in the same period.
However, deal volume remains higher in North America and Europe, as the Asia-Pacific increase is due to big investments in a few select fintech companies in China. There have been 192 deals in Asia-Pacific so far this year, as compared with 509 in North America and 230 in Europe.
The rise in spending is being driven by China's corporate titans and Hong Kong-based corporates, says Accenture, accounting for 90% of overall Asia-Pacific investments, valued at $8.75 billion.
“China’s established companies, rather than nascent startups, are at the forefront of the fintech trend in the region,” says Beat Monnerat, Accenture senior managing director, Financial Services Asia-Pacific. “This is transforming China’s financial services industry and is consistent with the global ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, which is bringing innovation from non-traditional competitors to the financial services industry.”
Ant Financial Services Group, the financial-services affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba led the charge with a $4.5 billion fundraising round in April. Ping An-backed Lufax completed a $1.2 billion round of fundraising in January, while JD.com's consumer finance subsidiary raked in $1 billion in new financing.
In recent years, major Alibaba affiliates and China’s biggest social network company, Tencent, have also invested in a host of smaller startups, with a leaning towards online payments and P2P lending.
Albert Chan, managing director financial services China, Accenture, has a warning for the local banking community: “China’s banks, whether building their own competitive platforms or not, should consider investing in collaborative fintech ventures in order to remain competitive.”