Asia is attracting a lot of interest from financial services executives as the continent seems to be way ahead of the rest of the world. We asked Zennon Kapron, Founder and Director of Kapronasia, one of Asia's leading providers of financial industry market research, a few questions about what he thought and his views on what Asian bankers are concerned about and where they are headed.
In terms of innovation in financial services, Asian banks seem to have gained a certain lead over banks in the rest of the world. Is this your impression as well? Why do you think that is?
Asian banks have their work cut out for them in serving retail customers across the region. The Asian population is very digital with nearly 70% of the population on average having a smartphone. This digitization gives customers access to wide range of online financial and non-financial platforms. Increasingly these customers, especially the younger generation, are demanding the same ‘anytime, anywhere’ service they get from their entertainment platforms. Luckily for the banks, financial infrastructure in many countries is quite strong. Nearly every market has a national real-time payment infrastructure and modern digital banking services. That is not to say that banks don’t have competition. Apps like Alipay and WeChat have shown the risks of having a complacent approach to the market, which keeps the banks on their toes and innovating.