INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore turns up the fintech heat

Businesses explain why Singapore seems to take the lead over HK.

According to Bloomberg, tax benefits, government help and easy access to regional markets led Joe Seunghyun Cho to choose Singapore as the headquarters for his six financial technology companies, rather than base them in the rival hub of Hong Kong or his native South Korea.

Many fintech companies are making similar choices, adding a new dimension to the decades-old tussle between Singapore and Hong Kong for the position as Asia’s premier financial center. With banks’ profits under pressure from stricter global regulations and rising compliance costs, it’s a battle either city can ill afford to lose.

Interviews with fintech entrepreneurs and business consultants show that while Hong Kong is making strides to catch up, Singapore has the lead -- in part because its government was quicker in recognizing the industry’s potential. In a February study commissioned by the U.K. government, Ernst & Young LLP ranked the Southeast Asian city fourth among global fintech hubs, while Hong Kong came seventh. Singapore was the “preferred gateway” into Asia, the report said, highlighting the city’s “increasingly progressive regulatory regime.”

Read more here from Bloomberg.

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