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Innovations from New Zealand chart a way forward in fintech

Written by KrASIA Writers Published on     4 mins read

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With a welcoming business environment and innovative mindset, New Zealand companies offer top-notch solutions to partners worldwide.

New Zealand may not be immediately associated with its technological advances, but its remote geography has cultivated a mindset of experimenting, with new ways of interacting—and transacting—domestically and with the rest of the world. The nation sees tomorrow first, forming a unique, forward-thinking mindset and outlook that have shaped innovative companies within its tech ecosystem, including Rocket Lab and accounting software company Xero.

More recently, New Zealand has been a hotbed of fintech advancements. This traces back to decades of progressive thinking and problem solving. In fact, New Zealand is a forerunner and early adopter of many new and emerging technologies. The country was one of the first nations to embrace cashless transactions by using the Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale, or EFTPOS system. Nowadays, that outlook and attitude make New Zealand a leader in the development of fintech solutions, spanning blockchain, enterprise services, e-commerce payments, and more.

To present the nation’s technological offerings and the potential for partnerships, New Zealand companies, supported by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), were present at the Singapore FinTech Festival held from November 8 to 12, all participating as part of the International New Zealand Pavilion.

The founders behind various fintech companies offering a variety of solutions are testament to the innovative hotbed of New Zealand. Image courtesy of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).

As the New Zealand government’s international business development agency, NZTE supports exporters to cultivate a productive, sustainable, and inclusive economy.

New Zealand’s advanced economy is home to professionals who develop creative solutions to contemporary challenges, applying and developing the latest technological advances.

This is a consequence of the fact that New Zealanders are natural collaborators who have formed a highly connected network of businesses, investors, and researchers. Think of New Zealand as a nation-sized accelerator for fresh tech and ideas, one that is ready to form new collaborations and partnerships all over the world, particularly in Southeast Asia.

That innovation isn’t limited to the country’s islands. New Zealanders don’t just dream big—they head out to make their ideas become reality. Notably, New Zealand’s tech sector generates more revenue than business sectors that the country is known for, like wine, lamb, and dairy.

In particular, its fintech developers punch above their weight. New Zealand is currently seventh place in the Asia Pacific, in the global fintech rankings 2021 powered by Mambu, a SaaS cloud banking platform. Plus, it is the world’s top nation for corruption transparency, according to the Corruptions Perceptions Index published by Transparency International in 2020.

Fintech accounts for a quarter of New Zealand’s tech sector

The country’s thriving tech sector is growing at a brisk pace. It currently generates 8% of the nation’s gross domestic product, and fintech accounts for 22%, or nearly one-quarter, of that contribution. By 2030, New Zealand is expected to create NZD 16 billion (USD 11.4 billion) in tech exports by 2030, making it the nation’s largest export industry.

Successful tech companies that were built in New Zealand include Sharesies, an online investment platform that opens up low-cost investment options in New Zealand, the United States, and Australia for its users; as well as Sentro, a SaaS platform for insurers to manage group insurance policies, such as health coverage that is offered by employers to employees.

Another company, 9Spokes, which currently operates in Singapore, helps small and medium-sized businesses track data and formulate insights. It also builds white-label platforms for banks and financial institutions, which in turn offer the platforms to their clients.

There are plenty more examples, like Capital Preferences, which applies economics and statistical methods to generate insights that describe a consumer’s financial profile and risk tolerance, and Valocity, a proptech company that was shortlisted at the Singapore FinTech Festival Awards in the Global category.

“As New Zealanders, we’ve grown up experimenting. Our unique isolation gives us the freedom to think differently and invent new possibilities.

“From reinventing rockets and sending them into space, and creating data solutions to empower smarter decisions, to developing a wealth platform for a financially empowered generation. The opportunity is to connect this thinking with Singapore, as a renowned and fast-growing fintech hub, to create partnerships and success that are not only good for individuals but good for the world,” said Maggie Christie, Singapore Trade Commissioner, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

New Zealand’s fintech industry develops world-class products that fit markets and economies of all sizes and scales. More broadly, New Zealanders build purposeful tech for a better tomorrow—at home and all over the world. The inclusive, caring, and naturally synergistic nature of New Zealanders makes them perfect partners when building new platforms and environments that serve businesses and consumers. The numbers speak for themselves: New Zealand’s tech industry is robust precisely because it forms partnerships with stakeholders in all geographies, exporting NZD 8.5 billion (USD 5.99 billion) worth of tech products.

These developments are as diverse and inclusive as the nation itself. Tech talent congregates in Auckland, an innovation hub and economic center in the Asia-Pacific region. This makes partnerships with New Zealand companies even more fruitful, as expansions into the country are welcome. In the case of Singapore, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivered a keynote address in December 2020 for last year’s Singapore FinTech Festival, indicating New Zealand and Singapore are taking steps together to advance shared ambitions in the digital economy.

To connect and explore opportunities with New Zealand fintech businesses, visit New Zealand Fintech in Singapore.

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