Women taking lead in Asia Pacific, PH fintech sector

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2021 10:51 PM

MANILA - Women are seen playing a major role in the digital transformation of the Asia Pacific, according to female business leaders from across the region.

At the virtual launch of the first-ever Asia Pacific Agenda of The Women Future Conference, Wijitleka Marome, deputy director of the Fintech Department in the Bank of Thailand, said that one of the many strengths of women leaders is the ability to communicate and collaborate while balancing the two sides of innovation and regulation in the financial technology space. 

"Female senior executives can express their capability and competencies to support the innovations. Regulations should not be the burden for innovations, rather the government needs to be there as back-up support with regulations and policy," she explained.

Women are also playing a crucial role in digitalizing the payments ecosystem in the Philippines.

Leila Martin, president of the first government-backed Digital Overseas Filipino Bank, said playing up the advantages women had as leaders of today and the future that are essential for global connectivity and collaboration.

"We, Asian women, are highly educated and have a strong work ethic. We also have the tenacity to learn different languages, which is essential if we want to connect globally," she said.

Jael Tan, manager at the FinTech Ecosystem Office at Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said they've already seen a surge in the number of fundraisers across the region in terms of technology startups and fintech firms.

"I think this is the year, basically, where a lot of people will start speaking a lot more announcements in Asia in the area of CBCCs (Central Bank Cryptocurrency) in particular for Central Banks, I think that's a real big area for growth this year in terms of fintech," she said.

Yang Yang Zhang, managing director of Xendit Philippines, said "this is the first year that I've noticed that almost every country, there have been regulations on digital banking."

"In terms of of fuel for progress, regulation is always the first step," she added.

E-commerce is also seen taking several forms with more people buying online amid the pandemic, according to Kim Lato, CEO of online shopping website, Kimstore.

"Because of the pandemic, I think it served as a catalyst to amplify e-commerce initiatives. Currently, more than marketplaces, I think livestreaming is the future," Lato said.

She added, "everyone here is into fintech. With financial inclusion, more and more people would go online. Everybody has a fair shot, the youth, the women, to go online to sell in marketplaces or just by having an electronic gadget, you could start selling on your Facebook, social commerce is also a hit thing."

The women leaders spoke at the virtual event Tuesday to launch the Women Future Conference which will be held from November 1 to 5, 2021.