Vietnamese fintechs and the $35 billion dream
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam is an attractive fintech market with estimated value of $35 billion. However, it has lagged behind in the last 10 years.


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Harbour View, where VietUnion, the firm which owns Payoo wallet brand, has its office, is located in an advantageous position, on the pedestrian street of Nguyen Hue in HCMC, opposite the Bitexco building, the tallest in Vietnam.

It is not difficult to find restaurants and shops on the street which accept payment in cards. However, there are still many ATMs set up near crossroads or inside buildings.

Ngan Nguyen, an office worker, 25, said she doesn’t use cards or e-wallet because many restaurants still want payment in cash.

The appearance of Payoo in the area is considered a ‘symbol’ of the persistence of e-wallet service providers as many payment services have given up in the last 10 years.

Vietnam is an attractive fintech market with estimated value of $35 billion. However, it has lagged behind in the last 10 years.

The wave of investment in fintech firms, spilling over in Vietnam in the last few years, has made the company more optimistic and patient.

According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), roughly $53 billion has been reserved for fintech firms and there are over 3,500 fintech firms all over the world. 

According to PwC, online payment and mobile money transfer services are becoming the gateway to approach a fraction of the population which have not yet transacted with banks. 

It forecasts that mobile technology will help many new customers access financial services and open up a new market worth $3 trillion in global payments.

Vietnam has 90 million people, most of whom are young, 50 percent of whom have internet access and 70 percent use smartphone. 

These factors, according to Nielsen, a market survey firm, are the important reasons for experts to believe Vietnam is a potential fintech market.

By 2016, more than 30 fintech firms had been established in Vietnam and two-thirds of them provide mobile payment services in the context of the e-commerce boom. Analysts believe that mobile payment will be the ‘bright spot’ in the Vietnamese fintech market this year.

Nguyen Hoa Binh, the founder and president of NextTech Group of Technopreneurs, commented that many people, about 70-80 percent of the total population in developing countries, including Vietnam, are still out of reach of banks. And they could be potential clients for fintech firms. 

The deal of Standard Chartered Private Equity and Goldman Sachs investing $28 million in M_Service which runs MoMo e-wallet has helped fintech firms attract attention from investors.

According to Topica Founder Institute, in 2016, the total value of deals related to Vietnam’s fintech startups was $129 million, accounting for 63 percent of total value of startup deals.


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Kim Chi

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