June 18, 2019

Red Envelope: Inequality is not Inevitable

Red Envelope: Inequality is not Inevitable

Does financial inclusion actually solve a market need?

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In the first three months of 2019, VC-backed fintech companies raised US $6.3 billion across 445 deals globally. Challenger banks continue to spread globally, with N26 (a newly minted unicorn) and Monzo both imminently launching in the U.S.

In this episode of the Red Envelope focused on Asia Innovation, Theodora Lau and Bradley Leimer host Daniel Murphy and Jackson Meuller from the Milken Institute. The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that helps people build meaningful lives, in which they can experience health and well-being, pursue effective education and gainful employment, and access the resources required to create ever-expanding opportunities for themselves and their broader communities.

The discussion touches upon opportunities in Asia, Financial Inclusion and the influence of BAT in the Asian innovation ecosystem. Hong Kong, one of the top five financial centers in the world with 159 banks (including 70 of the world’s 100 top banks) also joined in the open banking efforts with earnest. Recently, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has granted eight virtual banking licenses to a mix of big tech and incumbents: Ant SME, Insight FinTech, Infinium, Livi VB, SC Digital, Pingan One Connect, WebLab, and Zhong An Virtual Finance.

Whether Alibaba and Tencent could extend their success outside of China, or whether big tech such as Amazon will succeed in disrupting the financial services industry will likely be more a question of political tug-of-war – rather than a technical one. Inequality is not inevitable. We must learn how to cultivate the best ideas from every part of the globe to ensure that ideas don't die, but flourish by turning those ideas into action.

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