SOUTH KOREA: FSC to assist fintech firms advancing into overseas markets.

As published on koreatimes.co.kr, Monday 24 April, 2023.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) will spare no efforts in supporting domestic fintech firms advancing into overseas markets, its vice chairman said Monday.

"For the Korean fintech economy to make another leap, a new source of power is required. I believe that tapping into the overseas market will be this new power," FSC Vice Chairman Kim So-young said at the meeting hosted by the FSC. "Given the limitations of the domestic market, expanding abroad is not just an option for fintech firms to become unicorn firms, but necessary for survival."

Among the 1,205 unicorn firms around the world, 252, or 21 percent, are fintech firms, while only one out of Korea's 15 unicorn firms is a fintech company, accounting for only 6 percent of the total.

Kim highlighted the Korean fintech firms' competitive edge in the global market. "Technical skills of domestic fintech corporations are competitive enough in the global market, as they have adjusted and grown in line with the characteristics of domestic consumers ― fast and active to adopt new things," he said.

"I hope Korean fintech firms could also make a foray into countries, beginning in Southeast Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East."

So far, domestic fintech firms have been struggling to advance into overseas markets as they lack local information and find it hard to identify regulatory differences in each country. According to Fintech Center Korea, only 12.7 percent of domestic fintech firms have tried entering overseas markets.

Therefore, the FSC will prepare professional support strategies, connect firms with foreign investors and offer the needed information as well as consultations.

"The FSC will support the firms step by step, starting from offering local information and securing a 'base camp' for overseas advancement," Kim said. "The FSC will secure partnerships with local corporations and institutions to localize fintech services, and utilize overseas fintech labs as local nursing spaces."

Furthermore, the FSC will provide information on overseas venture capital or accelerators, and global funds that hold mandatory investment rates in Korea, and help firms explore more investment opportunities.

Kim also encouraged the participation of the financial industry. "The government will continuously work to support the advancement by strengthening cooperation with countries in Central Asia (such as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan)," he said. "I hope financial institutions operating fintech labs (overseas) can actively participate too."

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