Photo courtesy of Savills.

Singapore named Asia’s top fintech hub, fourth globally

The Lion City attracted the highest level of VC investments, offering regulatory stability.

Singapore has established its position as Asia’s fintech hub, ranking fourth globally in the Savills’ FinTech index published by Savills World Research.

The Lion City surpassed the Chinese cities thanks to the level of investments it receives and global regulatory stability.

Singapore fintechs attracted the highest level of venture capital investment from 2019 to 2022, at US$34b, Savills said, and plays host to the world’s largest fintech festival.

Singapore also offers global regulatory stability, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore having eight agreements with regulators across the world.

The Savills 2023 Tech Cities Index ranked the cities by measuring their business environment, tech environment, city buzz & wellness, talent pool, and its strength and depth across different tech sub sectors which includes industrial tech, life sciences & health tech, fintech, e-commerce amongst others.

New York, London top global hubs
Globally, Singapore ranked fourth in the index, behind New York, San Francisco, and London.

New York was noted both for its intense demand for fintech innovation and a vast capital base for investors, as well as a deep talent pool.

London, named Europe’s top fintech hub, features the largest number of fintech companies in the world and saw the highest number of VC deals between 2019 and 2022.

Third and fifth placers San Francisco and the Silicon Valley are tech hubs home to companies such as PayPal, Stripe, Credit Karma, and other fintech startups that Savills named as “revolutionary.”

“Technology has allowed cities across the world to level the playing field in the game of finance, which has led to a diversification of hubs away from historically traditional financial centers,” the real estate services company said in a press release announcing the index.

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Chinese cities, meanwhile, struggled to climb up the rankings amidst a slew of tightening policies.

Despite 87% of consumers in China using at least one fintech service, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Hangzhou were pulled down to the middle of the index as a result of recent tightening of Chinese government policy regarding the reach of tech companies. 

Fintechs in China also saw lower VC funding levels amongst startups globally due to the dominance of a few large companies such as Ant Group and Tencent.

In contrast, US cities such as Boston, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, and Charlotte– who occupy the nine through thirteen positions on the index– they were able to leverage North America’s position as the world’s largest economy to provide start-ups with opportunities to secure big clients whilst minimizing costs.

“Having lower office rents than the cities at the top of the index, they have the cost advantage which enables them to push cheaper products or spend more on developing products,” Savills World Research noted.

Flexi work
Fintech businesses have notedly disrupted workplace trends in the financial industry, being early adopters of flexible working. Fintechs also put particular emphasis on collaborative spaces in the office.

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“FinTech businesses have been a boon to the flexible workspace sector and continue to occupy a significant number of desks in Singapore,” said Ashley Swan, executive director, commercial leasing.

“The collaborative and flexible nature of the spaces speak to the FinTech culture and their “start-up” ethos, allowing firms to remain agile as they grow, not only in Singapore, but the region. In addition, regular activities and events organised by operators lends to Fintech employee’s well—being and work life balance,” Swan added.

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