South Korea Establishes Fintech Center for Bruneian Startups

South Korea Establishes Fintech Center for Bruneian Startups

The Korea Fintech Industry Association (KFIA), which has been heavily involved in the development of fintech services and platforms in South Korea, have announced their plans to secure a strategic partnership with Brunei that will allow startups to collaborate and build innovative financial technologies.

At the Brunei-Korea ICT conference, KFIA director Jeon Younkab proposed the establishment of a fintech center in Brunei for key players in the South Korean fintech industry to research and study emerging technologies and trends in the Bruneian market.

Jeon explained to the representatives of Brunei that such partnership will bring South Korean businesses to Brunei that will either invest or collaborate with the country’s emerging startups. He further emphasized that their proposal will enable startups to reevaluate the trends in the Asian fintech market with a broader spectrum.

The group of Korean fintech experts that were present at the conference understand and respect the role of regulations and regulatory frameworks established for the fintech market and its startups by local lawmakers. Thus, Jeon explained at the conference that the KFIA will collaborate with local authorities to be fully compliant with the government restrictions and laws in Brunei.

“Collaboration is needed with local authorities because fintech deals a lot with government restrictions and laws,” he said.

Once the regulations are dealt with and the center is compliant with local regulations, Jeon expects the center to serve Bruneian startups as a test pad or a lab to explore various developments and technologies with a variety of resources.

Specifically, the KFIA is set to bring in newly developed technologies and platforms from South Korea for Bruneian startups to integrate and implement onto their existing systems. The organization believes that the difference in the fintech trends in Brunei and South Korea will lead to the development of more advanced and efficient solutions.

KTB Solution CEO Kim Tae Bong, another representative of South Korea at the conference, also told the Bruneian agency that the understanding of Islamic finance of the local startups will be a valuable asset to Korean startups that are pondering an expansion of their services and products throughout Asia.

“Basically, we (South Korea) are just bringing in the technology while you (Brunei) provide the content,” Bong stated at the conference.

Brunei, a nation surrounded by remittance-reliant countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, has the necessary information and resources to assist fintech startups in understanding the vulnerabilities and limitations of conventional financial systems of its bordering countries.

For instance, the economies of Malaysia and Indonesia are heavily dependent on remittance payments and networks, due to their large groups of expat workers from other Asian countries including the Philippines and Vietnam. Most of these expat workers utilize the country’s local remittance networks that are substantially more expensive than fintech services and products commercially available in the market today.

If the South Korean fintech agency successfully secures a strategic partnership with Brunei and establishes a fintech center for research, it will significantly stregnthen the country’s connection with the world’s fintech leaders.

A few weeks ago, the Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC) partnered with UK’s Financial Conduct Authority to share information about financial services and emerging technological trends. The Brunei-KFIA connection will enable startups in South Korea to obtain a more thorough understanding of the fintech market in Southeast Asia.

Joseph Young

Joseph is a bitcoin enthusiast, financial consultant, web developer writer based in Hong Kong. He has worked with hotels and tech firms in Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore as a front-end developer and has collaborated with venture capital firms to explore bitcoin and virtual reality-focused startups in South East Asia.