Unsatisfied with the trillions already invested in its burgeoning fintech industry, South Korean authorities decided that a little push would do it some good:
South Korea’s top financial regulator said Wednesday authorities will expand “systemic” support for nascent fintech firms in the country, with 3 trillion won (US$2.6 billion) earmarked for a three-year support project.
South Korea, known for its information and communication technology prowess, launched a government-led campaign in early 2015 to foster the fintech industry as a significant breakthrough in the financial industry facing a host of challenges.
Investment related to fintech businesses here jumped to 777 billion won as of June last year from 87 billion won in 2014 and 473 billion won in 2015, government data showed.
As mentioned earlier however, South Korea isn’t quite happy with that: “we can’t be satisfied with that,” said Financial Services Commission chairman Yim Jong-yong, adding that there’s still a gap between South Korea “and such leading countries as the U.S., Britain and China.”
Yim then went on to stress the importance of pushing South Korean fintech to the next level, especially amidst the explosion of big data, IoT, and blockchain technologies around the world. To emphasize the government’s commitment to it, Yim revealed that aside from the three trillion it has set aside for the industry, authorities are working on a “systemic support” program as well. “I think this year will be the tipping point,” he said.
Interestingly enough, South Korea’s rekindled fintech campaign comes hot on the heels of similar maneuvers from its neighbors. Singapore, in another bid to beef up its startup sector, recently rolled back venture capital regulations while Japan, in a move designed to butter the overseas operations of its fintech companies, recently made agreements with other countries, including the U.K. I guess this brings the global startup arms race up a notch, no?