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传统金融的互联网化全新的互联网金融模式国际资讯基于互联网平台的金融业务

浅析柬埔寨金融科技行业现状

传统金融的互联网化全新的互联网金融模式国际资讯基于互联网平台的金融业务

浅析柬埔寨金融科技行业现状

The state of fintech in Cambodia

跟很多东南亚国家相比,柬埔寨的金融科技市场要更为年轻,但正如其它发展中的生态系统一样,星星之火已经被点燃,今后必有燎原之势。

主要优势

稳健的经济增长:迄今为止,柬埔寨已经保持了20多年的经济持续增长。在2015年,柬埔寨达到了中下等收入国家水平。随着经济水平的提高,大量中层阶级涌起,他们所体现出的消费水平和消费者行为引领了一股新的支付、信贷和移动技术潮流。

信贷的广泛普及:尽管柬埔寨国家银行(NBC)并不是最活跃的银行,但它与柬埔寨的其它银行一样,也在极力推行和普及消费者和公司信贷业务。如果以获取信贷的方便程度来评判,柬埔寨在190个国家中高居第七,比其它邻国的排名都要高。柬埔寨的创业者应该有信心利用一些金融手段推动公司发展。

支持投资创业公司:柬埔寨投资局(CIB)鼓励投资人对刚刚起步的创业公司投资,所鼓励投资的领域有科技、工作岗位创造、出口、旅游、环保和郊区开发。鼓励投资的优惠政策包括税务减免和一些申请费的减免。

允许外资对企业实行100%持股:和其它的邻国不同,柬埔寨允许企业100%为外资企业所有。希望这种方式能鼓励外国创业者来柬埔寨投资,从而在金融服务领域带动人才的增长和创新的发展。

面临的困难

制度和行政僵硬化:总体而言,在柬埔寨做生意的灵活度很低,在全球的排名为131,很多官僚制度仍然保留了下来,因而在柬埔寨建立起一个公司不仅过程缓慢,花费也高。而且柬埔寨缺乏一个完善的金融科技生态环境,这意味着创业者经常感到他们在这条道路上踽踽独行,当然就会导致更多的失败,减少突破性成功的机会。

调控上的不确定性:和其它东南亚的国家不同,柬埔寨国家银行的调控策略同金融科技公司略有脱节。在这个阶段,柬埔寨国家银行的策略特征是"学习和观察",而这样的策略并没有办法让初期创业者充满信心,这些创业者还在摸索金融科技领域的边界。

柬埔寨历来在很多领域都缺少相应的调控,从不同的角度来看,这既是机会也是阻碍。有人怀疑,如果柬埔寨国家银行一直保持这样的策略,调控的灰色区域将一直被保留。

对很多人来说,这些灰色地带有可能对创新性解决问题的方式带来冲击。他们不仅会阻碍私人金融科技企业的发展,更糟糕的是他们会破坏整个金融科技系统。这些将对柬埔寨整个金融经济造成冲击。

缺乏一个稳健和成熟的金融生态系统:以金边为中心的本地生态系统正在迅速成长,但是目前仍然无法支持周边的东南亚国家。由于缺乏当地的支持、有力的影响者和合作机会,在柬埔寨很多好的创业想法都无法得到支持和指导,也无法找到他们所需要的创业合作伙伴。相应的,很多不好的想法也无法及时扼杀。

目前的情况

首先,柬埔寨所面临的挑战就是拢络零售银行客户。柬埔寨的金融知识普及是很高的,目前急需弥补教育与行为之间的沟壑,以增加金融行业的包容度。

拥有银行账户的柬埔寨人约占总人数的17%,而在全国1550万人口中,信用卡的总数为3万张。

目前在柬埔寨有好几百个活跃的金融机构及私人信贷公司,但是规模、质量和服务范围都各不相同。在这个分层明显的市场中,这些企业觉得他们很难开发出合作的潜力,吸引没有银行账户的消费者。

柬埔寨4G网路服务的覆盖率相当惊人,已经达到90%到130%。但是,值得注意的是,超过50%的手机使用者均未选择智能手机。

由于人口分散,主要城市之外的实体银行稀缺,手机成为收拢无银行账户人群的主要工具。所以很多金融科技创业公司都提供支付途径服务或者核心银行平台服务,这些服务都可以将客户和银行之间的互动网络化。

在线转账与手机支付平台Wing应该算是柬埔寨支付领域的一家领军企业。但是近来,另一家电信公司Smart Axiata也加入了竞争。今年早期,这家公司发布了手机转账和交易平台SmartLuy 和使用虚拟MasterCard的手机支付系统SmartPay,利用这个系统,客户可以直接在应用商店或者iTunes购买商品。有完善的电信网络作为基础,Smart必然势不可挡。

柬埔寨稚嫩的电子商务行业

同周边国家越南和泰国相似,柬埔寨的电子商务将为金融科技的创新提供一个平台。但同这些国家不同的是,柬埔寨的电子商务相对稚嫩,存在许多问题,比如在线支付困难,快递公司少,此外就是习惯问题,柬埔寨人习惯使用现金支付

柬埔寨各个市场中都存在一个拖后电子商务发展的共同因素,即在线购物缺乏一个成熟、可靠的支付方式。

除了消费者商务,柬埔寨金融科技行业中另一个机会就是P2P贷款和另类融资。我们将见证柬埔寨跟随着全球的脚步,为中小型企业打开获得运营资本的渠道,并开展第一个网络化的大举动,即开通发票贴现服务。

Chankiriroth Sim, 网络会计平台 Banhji 的首席执行官这样评价这一进展:

"鉴于90%的柬埔寨企业均为中小型企业,为柬埔寨的金融行业提供电子平台是非常重要的。科技能增强人们对于电子交易的信心,这将极大促进经济发展,为很多创业者敞开大门,这对于柬埔寨来说是件好事。"

逐渐建立的金融科技生态系统

柬埔寨的金融科技生态系统虽然落后于大多数东南亚国家,但这一现状正在改变。行业内的机构将加快金融科技的步伐,但这确实只是一个泛指。跟其它机构相比,柬埔寨的银行是缺少成熟的电子策略的典型,原因很简单:在基本金融需求被满足之前,银行在更高端的业务上创新收益甚微。

Christopher Loh, RHB银行的首席战略官表示,他们银行在柬埔寨的电子策略同其它地方的有所不同。

"我们的电子服务在马拉西亚处于一个不同的阶段,我们正在努力让整个终端对终端的服务网络化,此外我们正在努力同金融科技的创业公司合作。在柬埔寨,我们希望同创新的创业公司合作,但是创业公司处在不同的发展阶段,这将影响我们目前在市场上的定位。"

柬埔寨的消费者习惯性地使用现金支付,很多人并没有银行账户。由于历来在不同银行甚至不同分行之间转账都存在着壁垒,消费者对一些机构缺乏信任,没有同银行建立起关系的热情。

银行应该为消费者每天的生活增加显著的价值,以拉近和消费者之间的距离。

可喜的是我们看到柬埔寨的银行有意愿去这样做。金融行业已经在近几年中为柬埔寨的经济发展提供了强有力的支持,这对于每个人的影响都是显著的。国内信用在2015年上升了27个百分点。

展望未来

柬埔寨拥有1550万人口,同其它东南亚邻国比起来,柬埔寨处于中下等地位。鉴于这个基本状况,柬埔寨的发展速度同其它地区相比可能较慢。创业者应该从创业初期就想到朝着多个市场发展的策略。

因此,柬埔寨很有必要对于一些可弥补的缺点进行创新,而这些"痛处"包括提高金融包容性,创新信贷评分和为中小型企业拓宽融资渠道。柬埔寨的创业者将缅甸和越南的同行当作企业扩张的榜样。越南的手机渗透率超过了100%,但是越南和缅甸仍有近75%的消费者没有银行账户。

我们很快可能就会看到柬埔寨开展跨分行服务,运行方式和Timo在越南开展的金融服务方式相同。胜利的标志就在眼前:Wing广泛的代理网络大量增加了消费者和银行之间的互动。

下一步就是将实体银行取消,建立网络银行。对于那些初次注册的客户,注册流程应该更快,更简单,并且更便利客户。消费者信息的进一步录入,数据的存贮和输出,都将推进网络银行的进程,计量生物学的培训以及信贷评级的创新也都将推动这一进程。

跳出无关的担忧

柬埔寨目前无需担心亚洲其它地区盛行的金融科技领域流行词。智能顾问、财富管理平台,区块链为基础的应用如洪水一般席卷了新加坡、香港、伦敦和纽约的新闻,但这些目前还都与柬埔寨的市场无关。柬埔寨应该考虑的是为无银行账户的消费者提供什么样的产品,如何为中小型企业提供充足的资金,并且利用电子商务的潜力去改变人们做生意的方式。

手机的便捷能改变柬埔寨的商业结构,银行和调控机构应该把支持这些发展当作首要任务,以此来进一步促进柬埔寨的经济发展。

Cambodia’s fintech scene is more nascent than some other markets in Southeast Asia. But like many developing ecosystems, the touchpaper has been lit.

Key Strengths

Strong economic growth. Cambodia can now boast more than two decades of growth. In 2015, the country attained lower-middle-income status. With this comes a growing middle class whose spending power and consumer behaviors give rise to a need for new solutions in payments, credit, and mobile technology.

Credit is available for those who want it. While hardly the most active regulator in the region, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) supports lending, and banks in Cambodia have continued to make credit available for consumers and companies in the country. When judged in terms of the ease of obtaining credit, Cambodia currently sits in the lofty position of 7th out of 190 economies overall. That placing is much higher than neighboring countries. It should inspire confidence among entrepreneurs to obtain financial means to take their companies forward.

Support is available for investors looking to invest in early-stage tech entrepreneurs. The Cambodian Investment Board (CIB) offers incentives for investors looking to support entrepreneurs that are starting businesses in specific fields: technology, job creation, exports, tourism, environmental conservation, and rural development. These include exemption from taxes, duties, and application costs.

100 percent foreign ownership is allowed. Unlike most of its neighbors, Cambodia allows 100 percent foreign-owned companies. Hopefully, this will incentivize foreign entrepreneurs to venture into the country and spark growth in talent and innovation within financial services.

The Hurdles

Institutional and administrative sclerosis. Overall, the ease of doing business in Cambodia ranks very low: 131st globally. A lot of bureaucracy remains. It’s slow and expensive to set up businesses in the country, and the lack of an established and collaborative fintech ecosystem means that entrepreneurs often feel like they’re going at it alone, which inevitably leads to more busts and fewer breakthrough successes.

Regulatory uncertainty. Unlike other countries in Southeast Asia, the NBC’s regulatory strategy remains relatively disengaged with fintech companies in the country. At this stage, the best characterisation of NBC’s approach is perhaps “learning and observing,” which doesn’t particularly instill confidence in those early-stage innovators struggling to understand the boundaries of their playing field.

As ever, the lack of regulation in multiple areas in Cambodia can be categorized as either an opportunity or a hindrance, depending on your viewpoint. Skeptics will note that while NBC continues to stay on the sidelines, the regulatory grey zones will remain.

For many, the grey zones make taking a chance on an innovative solution unpalatable. They diminish development not just in the case of individual fintech firms, but more worryingly, for the collective ecosystem. This in turn does damage to the development of the financial economy in Cambodia as a whole.

Lack of a strong and established fintech ecosystem. The local ecosystem — of which Phnom Penh is the hub — is growing, but at the moment it can’t hold a candle to those seen elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The lack of local support, influencers, and opportunities for collaboration means that too often in Cambodia, good ideas are not exposed to the support, guidance, and partnerships that they need, and bad ideas are not killed quickly enough.

The current situation

First and foremost, the challenge in Cambodia is to bring retail banking consumers onboard. The scale of financial illiteracy in the country is significant, and there is a clear need to bridge educational and behavioral gaps in order to effect financial inclusion in the country.

The proportion of Cambodians with bank accounts is estimated at just 17 percent, and credit card penetration currently sits at just 30,000 cards across a country of 15.5 million.

There are a couple of hundred monetary financial institutions and private credit providers active in Cambodia. Yet the size, quality, and coverage of these organizations range wildly. In this highly fragmented market, they find it difficult to harness the potential of their collective offering to bring unbanked customers to the table.

Anecdotally, 4G coverage across the country is impressive, and the rate of mobile penetration is extremely high — estimated at between 90 to 130 percent. Notably, however, more than 50 percent of phone users are not using smartphones.

With a dispersed population and a dearth of brick and mortar bank branches outside of major cities, mobile promises to be the path to inclusion for a large segment of the country’s unbanked population. It’s no surprise then that fintech startups in the country are often payment gateways or core banking platforms that can bring customer-bank interactions entirely online.

The front runner for payments in Cambodia has long been Wing, which offers a money transfer and mobile payments platform. However, recently we have seen leading telecommunications company Smart Axiata enter the fray. Earlier this year, Smart launched SmartLuy — a mobile money service that allows mobile consumers to transfer funds and transact digitally — and SmartPay — a mobile payment system using a virtual MasterCard to instantly make purchases on App Store or iTunes.

Smart is in the enviable position of being able to leverage its well-established telecoms network.

Ecommerce is nascent in Cambodia

Similarly to neighboring countries such as Vietnam and Thailand, ecommerce promises to form the platform for a raft of fintech innovations in Cambodia. However, unlike these other countries, ecommerce in Cambodia remains nascent. There are difficulties with making payments online, delivery providers, and behavior: Cambodians are accustomed to paying with cash.

People are attempting to change this. In the space of just 24 hours, serendipity led me to meet a number of companies aspiring to be the Lazada, Carousell or Tokopedia of Cambodia. As with other markets, one factor that has held back the development of ecommerce is the lack of an established, reliable payment gateway for online purchases.

Beyond consumer commerce, another huge opportunity for fintech in Cambodia is peer-to-peer lending and alternative finance. We are about to see the first big move online of invoice discounting services in the country, following a well-trodden path globally of opening up streams of working capital to SMEs.

Chankiriroth Sim, CEO of cloud-based accounting platform Banhji, talks about this development:

“Since 90 percent of businesses in Cambodia are SMEs, bringing digital access to finance to Cambodia is very important. Technology can allow people to have more trust in cashless transactions, and that will really help the economy. It will open the door for numerous entrepreneurs to grow businesses in the country, and for Cambodia that can only be a good thing.”

A fintech ecosystem is coming up

The fintech ecosystem in Cambodia lags behind most others in Southeast Asia, but this is changing. Engaged institutional partners will add to the pace of growth for fintech, but while it’s doubtless a generalization, banks in the country typically have less developed digital strategies than others in the region. The reason is simple: until basic financial needs are met, there is little for the banks to gain by innovating on more sophisticated issues.

Christopher Loh, group chief strategy officer at RHB Bank notes, that his bank’s digital strategy in Cambodia looks different from what it is doing elsewhere.

“In Malaysia, we’re in a very different stage of development. We’re working to make the whole end-to-end system cashless, and we’re much further down the road in terms of collaborating with fintech startups. In Cambodia, we are hoping to partner with innovative startups, but the startups are at a different stage of development and that impacts the role that we can play in this market at this point.”

Cash-first-bank-absent customer behaviors are entrenched in Cambodia, and as a result of traditional (and prohibitive) tariffs for transferring money both between banks and even between branches of the same bank, there is a lack of trust in institutions among customers, and little appetite to engage with banks.

Banks need to start walking the walk in terms of offering significant value add to customers’ everyday lives.

Happily, we are seeing a real willingness from banks to do so. The financial sector has offered strong support to economic growth in Cambodia over the past few years, and the impact on the everyman has been significant. Domestic credit accelerated by 27 percent year-on-year in 2015.

The Future

With a population of 15.5 million, Cambodia sits at the lower end of the scale when compared with its Southeast Asian neighbors. In light of that, and given that Cambodia is likely to develop at a slower pace compared to the rest of the region, entrepreneurs there should think about developing for multiple markets right from the start.

GELP

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