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The race to build super-apps, platforms and communities
As fintechs and big technology players are increasingly developing their platforms and apps, the financial services industry is in serious need of developing their technologies or collaborating in order to keep up with their disruptors

June 27, 2019 | Foo Boon Ping

Platforms and ecosystems are the latest buzzwords in the financial services industry. Banks and financial institutions that have traditionally operated as monoliths, owning huge proprietary distribution and sales networks and being part of largely opaque industry associations, are now embracing open ecosystems, platforms and learning to create communities of loyal active users around them.

Fintech and big tech players are demonstrating how the open approach allows them to leverage the network effect to create super-apps that are helping grow active user bases at an exponential rate. It is not about owning product capabilities and selling products and services anymore but about technology enablement and using the power of data to match buyers and sellers. Platforms do not just make money from the traditional sales process but by facilitating transactions and monetising data.

New competitors from diverse industries from airlines to healthcare and wellness are working to disrupt conventional channels of financial services delivery and distribution by driving innovation and inclusion. For any of these platforms to succeed, data is becoming an increasingly important driver of growth.

The focus is now on building the super-apps, platforms and communities. There are the big tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook getting into the payments space on the back of their strengths in ecommerce, search and social media. In Asia, even more traditional industry players such as regional low-cost airline, AirAsia, is looking to enter the platform play by introducing “BigPay” to disrupt payments and financial services, joining their newly minted unicorn counterparts, Grab, Gojek and Line.

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Keywords: Platforms, Fintech, Technology, Disruptors, Bank Apps, Mobile Wallets