Singapore has opened its doors to South Korean fintech companies looking to expand their presence beyond local borders. Singapore’s Fintech Association (SFA), in association with Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs, have teamed up to create 80RR, a co-working space for Korean companies in Singapore.
Reuben Lim, chief operating officer of the SFA, told reporters that the partnership would be mutually beneficial given the similar growth trajectories of both countries. He noted that the countries are “hungry for expansion,” and creating a launchpad would bring them closer to achieving their expansionist ideas.
A bilateral agreement exists between Singapore and South Korea, which would make the process of creating a springboard for the fintech firms easier.
“The Digital Economy Agreement (DEA), which is like the free trade agreement on digital assets, signed between Korea and Singapore allows for the active digital exchange between the countries. Singapore has been positioning itself as the regional headquarters for all the business transactions in Southeast Asia,” said Lim.
The co-working space is one step out of many for the SFA as part of its plan to foster growth between new companies in the space. The rationale is that for smaller companies, a physical working space would allow them to “meet and network,” which would improve their trustworthiness among customers and investors.
“As opposed to big companies like Korean Air, Samsung, or SK, people don’t know the names of these companies, and they have to make themselves known to the rest of the world. Having a physical space facilitates this so-called publicity,” Lim added.
Singapore’s regulations put it ahead of the pack
Both firms in the digital assets or traditional fintech sectors are drawn towards Singapore because of its regulatory framework. Analysts have hailed the framework as being one of the most advanced in Southeast Asia, which is responsible for the spike in fintech activity in the country.
A keen example of the progress made is clearly seen in the PayNow service that allows single users to leverage up to 10 banks and four non-bank institutions from a mobile application managed by the Associations of Banks Singapore (ABS).
Regulations in Singapore have also built a reputation for being one the most proactive in the world. The collapse of Terra, Celsius, and Three Arrows Capital (3AC) saw the country’s regulators swing into action to prevent a recurrence of the catastrophic events of the summer.
Most recently, Blockchain.com and Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) have received regulatory approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), signaling an intent to maintain their leading role in the region.
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