The first major event of ‘contemporary’ Viet FinTech was the birth of the then-competing three Bank Switchboards
Then there were OnePay, NganLuong, Payoo, Paynet, Webmoney, VTC Pay, Zing Pay…
I don’t have the ambition to list all players who joined the playground. We thus can skip through VNBC, NTT Data’s acquisition of Payoo, MobiVi’s successful funds raising series from players such as Experian, how BaoKim ‘borrowed’ from NganLuong, Paylink’s closure.
Key takeaway 1: The market consolidated even before it had the opportunity to fragment. It hadn’t taken long for Smartlink to take over the market before the merger (or reverse-acquisition) which subsequently hatched Napas.
Key takeaway 2: To base on bank or non-bank institution should not have even been a question to ask. Merchant-reliant payment solutions still need to run on top of bank-reliant gateways.
e-Payment is no longer stuck
e-Payment used to be a chicken-and-egg problem: no customer base no bargain power, no bargain power no business development. So chicken or egg?
This question, too, is irrelevant. Business development on merchant side must move ahead buyer base, the opposite doesn’t work. So the real question is: investment. A few deal-makers solved it beautifully, named Momo and PeaceSoft.
If FinTech is as at today too ahead of Vietnam economy, should players zen down and wait till the economy catches up?
As much as we aspire to there’s only so much FinTech players can do to speed up the process. Educating users and banks is too costly even with deep pockets.
Then there’s politics.
Anything to do other than zenning and waiting for the retail banking market?
- M&A and deal making.
- Optimize micro-transactions.
- Externalities and network development.
- Buy more time, slow down the cash burn rate.
Fortunately, the market as in 2016 is not as harsh as “the last man standing wins” because players have found their respective verticals.
Payment solutions are not only e-Commerce; big money is still cash management.
- The war against COD. The state of COD today was begun by NhomMua and Lazada. Tough but inevitable battle.
- Peer-to-peer financing.
- Key question: Strategic partnership with bank(s) is certainly a must, but how deep?
- Receiving investment, being a subsidiary (with all accompanying governance), being an associated company, integrate to the gateway, staying as a façade, what help to get from SBV, what help to get from MOF.
Governance often chooses man not the other way around.
- Treading the thin line of symbiosis, avoiding irritating financial institutions.
Bucket seems full, am I deluding myself astray?
Image source: http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Entrepreneurship_Centre/Images/fintech-generic-phone.jpg