Singapore: The Leading Hub of Asia's FinTech Industry

Lisa Maria Knoblauch

Student thesis: Master thesis


Fintech has been receiving great attention worldwide. While it is well-known that overall adoption rates are at their highest in Asia, they have risen particularly fast in Singapore – the continent’s now leading fintech hub. This thesis aims to identify the unique advantages that promote Singapore’s international success in fintech based on a study of industry-level competitiveness. Factors of success are investigated through the design and application of a theoretical framework which combines elements of national competitiveness, fintech ecosystems, innovation systems, as well as institutions. To investigate the theoretical underpinnings of Singapore’s success in the fintech industry, this thesis combined the strategy of a single case study with a descripto-explanatory approach to research. First, a broad selection of qualitative and quantitative secondary sources was reviewed to provide detailed information on the local political and economic environment of the industry, its development, as well as on the specific matters of collaboration, capital availability, talent, and research. Second, results were triangulated with primary data collected through two semi-structured interviews of one hour each. Interviewees included one representative of Singaporean fintech firm Validus and the Singapore FinTech Association, respectively. The developed theoretical framework was able to sufficiently identify distinct factors of success. Findings indicate that Singapore’s competitive advantage in fintech can be primarily ascribed to the actions of the local government. Especially the financial authority’s pursuit of innovation as part of Singapore’s national strategy for technological transformation has led to heavy investments in infrastructure, talent, and research. In addition, this has been amplified by the effective development of a conducive fintech ecosystem as well as the strategic creation of international linkages and an entrepreneurship culture. Looking ahead, the work of this thesis presents a valuable addition for complementary research studying industrial competitiveness on the level of individual fintech firms.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages146
SupervisorsMichael Jakobsen