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Citi explores fintech solutions for the digital economy in Asia

Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions Asia Pacific recently hosted a virtual three-day Mega FinTech Accelerator, featuring teams from 12 fintech firms who presented solutions for the digital economy across three areas – seamless payments and receivables, Future of Open Banking and Data Empowerment.

Identifying problems to be solved

Designed to explore and accelerate the delivery of solutions for clients, the Mega FinTech Accelerator was held with a primary focus on three countries - Australia, China and Korea. Led by the Treasury and Trade Solutions Innovation Lab in Singapore, over 40 problem statements were identified.

A total of eight problem statements across the event’s three themes were selected to align with the priority areas of the participating geographies. The 12 finalists were selected after an initial outreach to over 3,500 fintechs globally and from a shortlist of 140 firms.

In the lead up to the event, which took place in early November, Citi's Innovation Lab team along with over 100 colleagues across Treasury and Trade Solutions and other Citi business units in the region mentored and worked together to develop Proofs of Concept with the selected FinTechs.

“Citi’s engagement with fintechs is significant and growing," said Scott Southall, Asia Pacific head of Innovation, Treasury and Trade Solutions at Citi. "Initiatives like the Mega FinTech Accelerator complement our global network and extensive product development efforts by solving for last-mile gaps and providing tangible value to our clients. The problem statements we chose to focus on represent consistent themes across multiple markets. As the payments landscape continues to evolve at an ever faster pace, partnership with fintechs become increasingly important.”

Recognising potential

Across each theme, a fintech of the day was named, recognising the potential impact and effectiveness of their solution. In addition to this, various finalists were also recognised for leadership in client-centricity, scalability and user experience.

In Seamless Payments & Receivables, Australian fintech Azupay stood out on the back of a solution that enables businesses to use QR codes to accept and reconcile payments in real-time from their end consumers by leveraging Australia’s New Payments Platform.

India-based fintech Omniscient was named Open Banking fintech of the day for its Liquidice product solution. This is a multi-entity, multi-bank, open banking solution that facilitates a single view of banking accounts and cash forecasts. It also enables automated fund movements for account balancing and cash concentration in real-time.

Data Empowerment fintech of the day was Chinese firm Hexasino. Leveraging AI, Hexasino showcased a system that enables users to set customisable inspection rules based on new and updated regulations that are automatically captured by the system. The system enables simplified and efficient regulatory requirement updates and auto-compliance for payment transactions.

“Through initiatives like the Mega FinTech Accelerator, we hope to be able to contribute to the growth and development of the fintech ecosystem in Asia Pacific," commented Rahul Verma, director, Innovation, Asia Pacific and Global Client Co-creation lead, Treasury and Trade Solutions at Citi. "Our recent program is a great example of open innovation, helping Citi deliver next-generation experiences for our clients while engaging colleagues from across our businesses in Asia Pacific.”

Citi’s recent Mega FinTech Accelerator follows from similar previous initiatives in Asia Pacific, including India and ASEAN FinTech Days. Partnerships sealed in the region by the bank include one with Payoo in Vietnam to further the delivery of last-mile digital solutions. In India, Citi is engaging with various fintechs through a number of initiatives. One such partnership with Jocata is helping clients submit their Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements in a manner that is quicker, more efficient as well as flexible.  

Following the Mega FinTech Accelerator, Citi says it will further assess the potential viability of the earmarked solutions, with the possibility of forging formal partnerships in the future.

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