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Thailand Leading the Fintech Adoption

14 Oct 2021 | Thailand

Thailand is among the fastest in ASEAN to adopt technologies in their industries, thus enhancing its competitiveness. Most of the country's financial institutions have particularly emphasized improving the current systems by implementing fintech to cater to the growing digitalization needs. Additionally, the government has shown responsiveness towards the changes done by players in the industry, further pushing Thailand's fintech industry in a positive direction.

Thailand Fintech Landscape

Thailand's notable banks have become the key drivers of the fintech sector's growth. For instance, Kasikorn Bank started the digital transformation in 2017 by establishing a dedicated subsidiary, the Kasikorn Business-Technology Group (KBTG), responsible for all initiatives, including startups and collaborations with tech players on projects focusing on projects mobile banking and AI. The headstart allowed KBTG to expand its fintech products, planning to launch a digital assets trading platform alongside the Thailand Stock Exchange set to go live in the second half of this year.

Similarly, the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) has also shown rapid developments in fintech through its tech-focused subsidiary, the SCB10X. The SCB10X is a holding company for SCB's investments in tech companies and ventures, with USD 50 million initial funds for early and growth-stage startups revolving around blockchain and digital assets.

Accommodative Regulatory Sandbox

Fintech

Such robust activities can happen due to the accommodative measures rolled out by Thailand's government. The Bank of Thailand (BOT) has recently launched a "sandbox" under its regulatory guidelines that allow financial technology in Thailand to incorporate technological innovations, encouraging fintech industry players to adopt efficient services and enhance the country's economic infrastructure for better practices. Moreover, the regulatory sandbox allows numerous layers of industry players, such as financial institutions and non-bank companies, to experiment independently on their fintech innovations under a particular provision of the BOT. Today, Thailand has implemented standardized QR codes, KYC based on facial recognition, cross-border payments, and alternative credit scoring that were initially a part of the experiments done in the regulatory sandbox.

In addition, Thailand fintech regulation has rolled out Project Inthanon as a proof of concept for digital wholesale fund transfers enabled by ledger technology. The bank plans to launch the third phase of Project Inthanon by developing a commercially used payment method and a prototype with Hong Kong Monetary Authority to provide a seamless cross-border transfer platform. The development was previously postponed in 2020 due to the global economic pause during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as Thailand's economy recovers and sectors find ways to survive, the project will soon relaunch its progress to continue where it left off.

The vast curve of Thailand fintech landscape of infrastructure development leads the country forth in digital transformation. The achievement was made possible by the collaborative ecosystem of public institutions and private investments, eventually leading to efficient innovations that contribute to the organic growth of the industry. Looking forward, Thailand's government has expressed its interest in reaping all the layers necessary for Thailand's fintech industry to prosper, such as blockchain, cryptocurrency, and digital asset regimes. The speed of Thailand fintech industry, alongside the supportive response from its citizens to reduce cash payment methods, trailblaze the new era of Thailand’s dominance in the Asian fintech industry.

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