Two of Asia Pacific’s powerhouses are linking up to accelerate cross-border collaboration between their respective financial institutions.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has signed an agreement with the Asia-Pacific Future Financial Research Institute (AFF). The aim is to promote academic exchanges, information sharing and research cooperation across Singapore and China.
“This agreement is another step towards closer collaboration between the FinTech ecosystems of Singapore and China to benefit consumers and businesses,” explains Mr Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS. “We look forward to greater knowledge exchange and deeper financial collaboration with the FinTech community in China to nurture a more vibrant global FinTech ecosystem in both countries.”
This innovative culture has spread by contagion to the wider APAC region. Over half the world’s fintech patents comes from Asia Pacific, spanning everything from AI and big data, to mobile access and cryptography. Then there’s the fact that Frost & Sullivan forecast 72.5% CAGR growth for APAC fintech in 2015–2020.
Singapore as the hub
Singapore is commonly regarded as Asia Pacific’s digital hub. That’s down to many reasons, such as its high-speed connectivity (reportedly the world’s fastest at 55.52 Mbps) and its location as a hub for much of South-East Asia.
Another key reason is the ‘Singapore sandbox’. This government initiative enables fintechs to develop and test products that may not pass regulatory demands. It’s a way to encourage experimentation and test market response to new ideas – without putting the financial system at risk.
China as the connector
The sheer size of China means any data centre-related activity will have a knock-on effect in the wider APAC region. For example, the Chinese government is currently engaged in developing the Greater Bay Region, reportedly as a means of rivalling Silicon Valley. Among the many infrastructure projects under way is the world’s longest sea crossing bridge. This will connect China to Hong Kong (boosting its status as a finance hub) and Macau (helping promote its tourism).
Mumbai also received a major boost, after China’s Tencent (owner of Fortnite and WeChat) chose India’s capital as the location for its data centres.
These developments explain how analysts Cushman & Wakefield “expect Singapore and Hong Kong to continue to be favoured regional hosting hubs while most of the incremental installed capacity will come from the more populated and increasingly interconnected economies such as China, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.”
Connectivity and colocation
Equinix, a Digital Centre 2020 Steering Committee member, explains why accelerating APAC’s data centre progress is so crucial:
Business demands have combined with technological advances to exponentially increase what people expect from connectivity throughout Asia-Pacific and around the world.
Companies now require on-demand, simultaneous interconnection with globally dispersed partners just to execute basic business tasks.
Social and mobile users are accustomed to immediate, high-quality service, no matter where they are or what device they’re using.
New technologies are connecting more people and more devices faster than ever. Smartphone penetration is expected to grow to 77% by 2025, with more than 1.4 billion and 1 billion users respectively in China and India. And as 5G commercialization enables smart cities and digital healthcare initiatives, the number of IoT connections will reach 25 billion globally by 2025.