Vietnam-based investment firm Dragon Capital has teamed up with Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam to sponsor and launch the Vietnam Fintech Club, a good sign for the nascent fintech segment in the country.
Vietnam Fintech Club is set up to take the local network to the next level and acts as links and advocates in pulling together ideas to develop a relevant fintech ecosystem in Vietnam, according to a Dragon Capital statement.
Vietnam, with young, tech savvy population and 23 million smart phones in operation and 55 million mobile phone subscribers offers significant demographic advantages for the development of the fintech sector, it added.
The investment fund manager unveiled that the fintech community idea was agreed during a recent visit to Vietnam by UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The UK government would be keen on working with Vietnamese authorities, financial service providers and tech entrepreneurs to create fintech market conditions.
“The UK is open for fintech business with partner nations all around the world. […] We will work closely with them (Dragon Capital and Standard Chartered Vietnam) to nurture the fintech industry in Vietnam,” committed Douglas Barnes, British Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City and director of UK Trade and Investment in Vietnam.
“As a large and long term investor in Vietnam, we are committed to supporting new ideas. We are delighted to play a sponsorship role in the emerging fintech space. We are confident that the Vietnam Fintech Club will be a great asset to our business community,” commented Dominic Scriven, CEO of Dragon Capital.
Nirukt Sapru, CEO of the co-founding partner Standard Chartered Vietnam, said that by backing the fintech industry in Vietnam, the bank will continue its commitments to encourage innovation, which it believes is a key driver of economic growth and prosperity. Standard Chartered Bank also launched the Super Charger Fintech Accelerator Programme in Hong Kong to assist local and international early stage and more established fintech companies grow in Asia’s vibrant markets.
The programme, which will commence in January 2016, is a first for Hong Kong to see a strategic group of founding partners from banking, internet technology and innovation join forces to back a homegrown business accelerator.
“We hope to see strong participation from Vietnam in this initiative,” Sapru said.
An inaugural meeting of the Vietnam Fintech Club was held in Ho Chi Minh City earlier in October, featuring 20 startup entrepreneurs and investors in the local fintech sector, including FPT Ventures, IDG Ventures Vietnam, M_Service – a mobile commerce company that operates the mobile money service Momo, crowdfunding platform Fundstart, and other payment services providers like 1Pay, Loanvi and MyMoney, among others.
Dragon Capital, a Vietnam-focused fund management company with roughly $1 billion in listed stocks, private equity, fixed income and real estate, is well known for its investments in Vietnam’s listed blue chips. In 2003, Dragon Capital and Saigon Commercial Bank established Vietnam’s first local asset management company, Vietfund Managers. A year later, Dragon Capital acquired a 30 per cent stake in Ho Chi Minh City Securities Company. Both investees are now the number one players in their field, the firm said.
Its partner, Standard Chartered Bank, opened its first branch in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1904. The locally incorporated entity, Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam) Limited, kicked off operations in August, 2009.