WORLD S. Korea eyes innovation, coexistence of fintech, financial companies

WORLD

S. Korea eyes innovation, coexistence of fintech, financial companies

Xinhua

09:26, May 24, 2019

SEOUL, May 24 (Xinhua) - South Korea was eyeing the innovation and coexistence of fintech and financial firms as the government of President Moon Jae-in sought to foster the fintech industry as one of new growth drivers while encouraging the innovation of the existing banking sector.

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File photo: VCG

The Financial Services Commission (FSC), the country's financial regulator, held the first fintech fair in Seoul Thursday, bringing together hundreds of businessmen from fintech and financial companies and officials from foreign financial regulators and international organizations. The fair would last till Saturday.

Moon focused on boosting the fledgling fintech sector as one of his innovative growth policies on expectations for synergy between the finance and the information and communications technology (ICT) industries in one of the world's most connected countries.

The government hoped the boost to fintech firms would be in harmony and coexistence with financial institutions as the innovation can bring turbulence to the banking sector despite the expected benefits to financial consumers.

FSC Chairman Choi Jong-ku told the opening ceremony that the government will make efforts to create a regulatory and investment environment where fintech and financial firms build a competing, yet cooperative relationship given the importance of a "balance between innovation and inclusiveness."

It would be not less significant to bring about a "soft landing" in the process of digital transformation and innovation that may marginalize or force jobless employees in the existing industry, than to pursue innovation, Choi said.

Since the Moon Jae-in government was inaugurated in 2017, the financial regulator sought to invigorate the fintech ecosystem by legalizing digital banks and launching a so-called regulatory sandbox, which the FSC chairman vowed to make a "testbed" for global fintech companies.

The regulatory sandbox allowed fintech startups to test new ICT technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, in financial services without tight regulatory hurdles faced by the banking sector. The FSC was considering lowering the regulatory hurdle further to grant permits to smaller fintech startups, which would be subject to stricter regulations as they grow up.

Calls have run high here for the innovation of financial institutions amid their heavy dependence on the stereotyped business models. 

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