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Prime minister champions UK FinTech in Asia

David Cameron is leading a trade delegation to advertise the booming sector.

By Alexander Sword

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is leading a trade offensive this week in south-east Asia, promoting the UK as a FinTech capital of the world.

Companies including Blockchain and Earthport joined the prime minister’s delegation of 31 companies targeting opportunities in the fast-growing markets of Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.

In Vietnam, the prime minister hosted a FinTech roundtable at the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange.

Cameron also backed the Innovate Finance Manifesto: 2020, published by Innovate Finance, the FinTech membership body.

The manifesto sets out three main ‘visions’ for the next five years. The first is for the UK to be the most investment-friendly environment for FinTech in the world, attracting $4 billion of venture investment and $4 billion of institutional investment from corporate venture funds, accelerators and innovation programmes. By comparison, 2014’s total was $623 million.

In addition, Innovate Finance aims to make the UK the premier location for 25 or more global FinTech leaders, as well as use the increased investment to create 100,000 jobs in the sector.

Currently, according to UK Trade and Investment, the UK FinTech sector is worth £20 billion and attracted over £342 million in 2014.

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Cameron commented: "This government wants the UK to be the leading FinTech centre in the world, that’s why, at the Summer Budget, we appointed a special envoy for this fast growing sector."

Cameron was referring to Eileen Burbridge, appointed FinTech Special Envoy in July to "champion the development of new and innovative technologies and ideas." The Treasury also announced plans to launch an international FinTech benchmarking exercise in Autumn to see how the UK ranks against international competitors.

"I’m pleased that Innovate Finance’s manifesto has set such ambitious goals including the creation of 100,000 jobs," the prime minister added. "This will ensure we are a world leader in the development of financial services technologies."

"By creating an additional, sustainable source of funds for charities through their ‘digital charity box’, Pennies has become a key player offering innovative solutions through the UK’s growing FinTech industry," commented Pennies, one of the delegates, in a statement.

"Pennies is uniquely placed to provide insight to businesses in south-east Asia – across digital, retail and payments sectors – about how embracing innovation can benefit their own communities."

The technology sector in south-east Asia is attracting more investment as manufacturing costs rise in China. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, manufacturing labour costs in China will increase steadily, with annual earnings growth at the national level of 12 percent between 2013-2020.

Vietnam, the home of Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen, saw foreign direct investment (FDI) grow 60 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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