Photocredit: Annie Spratt, Unsplash.

Untapped Asian Opportunities

Even though the European Union’s payment services directive, PSD2 has just opened the European market to fintechs, Copenhagen Fintech has already brought a number of fintechs to Asia – including India, Singapore, and Japan.

“For Copenhagen Fintech, Asia is an ocean of opportunities. On the one hand, we would love for the many talented Nordic fintech startups to embrace the huge Asian market much faster and better than they do today. On the other hand, I am amazed by the amount of creative talent in the world. And in Asia, where we have more than half of the world’s population, the talent pool is enormous,” claims Schou.

Copenhagen Fintech is creating entry points to the East for networks of talent and experience to flourish. The larger goal is to inspire startups to explore whether their products, that are currently rolled out in the Danish or Nordic markets, could be retrofitted for the enormous Asian market and its 4,5 billion potential users.

“What I am looking for is the global ambition I have seen among Israeli startups – driven by need because of close to a zero home market and not particularly friendly neighbours. But nonetheless a scaling ambition I would like to see much more of in our own community as well,” Schou says.

MakerDao is benefitting from poor Asian infrastructure

As an infrastructure project housed in the crypto-space, there is a strong sense in which MakerDao was born with a global reach – with more than 200 partnerships worldwide. Just 4 years after its inception, the organisation has successfully penetrated several Asian markets by empowering local companies to build financial projects on top of their infrastructure.

But the partnerships didn’t come without hard work. MarkerDao has spent years cultivating relationships with both user communities and business partners, while maintaining a presence in China, Singapore, Korea, and Japan.

With respect to their business strategy, Gustav Arentoft, business development representative at MakerDao, explains: ”Our strategy has been to hire a community lead for each market with the responsibility of building a community in the market. Potential users and developers have to be interested before we can drive business – from there we have facilitated the first partnership. And once it starts growing commercially we start hiring business developers locally.”

For this, culture is key in building relationships, networks, and trust. The company has a head-start, given that MakerDao’s founder, Rune Christensen, has spent 4 years living in China, not to mention the name of MakerDao’s stablecoin “Dai” means “to loan” or “credit” in Mandarin Chinese.

Once there is a cultural understanding and bridge, businesses must tailor their products and services to the market. MakerDao, instead of building products for the end-user, runs a crypto-infrastructure that promises to be cheaper, faster, and more advanced than existing infrastructure for money transfers. Still, they had to specify the value proposition for the market, as Asia is home to emerging as well as very advanced economies.

”You might say our value proposition is bigger in Asia and Africa than in Europe. But we service groups that lack infrastructures as well as those with very advanced economies like Singapore, Japan, and the US, where developers are using Dai to build web 3.0 applications. So it’s hard to say ‘Asia’ as a coherent market. We work with startups, established banks, and even governments across different countries,” Arentoft explaines.