Global trend on Google shows that Singapore, Nigeria, and Hong Kong stand out as the top three locations where the term “fintech” is being actively searched.
This finding strongly indicates an elevated level of interest in this subject within these regions. The Fintech News Network (FNN) which assesses countries and cities based on their frequency of Google searches for “fintech,” disclosed that during April 2023 internet users in these countries showed the most interest in the sector.
According to the FNN study, the rankings are based on search volume compared to each country’s total search volume. This means that smaller countries can have higher search interest in “fintech” compared to larger countries, even if the actual number of searches is lower.
Singapore ranked first in both 2022 and April 2023 for “fintech” search queries and has positioned itself as a major fintech hub, acting as the gateway to the Southeast Asian region.
A report by United Overseas Bank states that Singapore is known for its attractive taxation rules, advanced digitalization, and supportive initiatives by the government, making the country attractive to many companies in the fintech sector, boasting more than 1,500 ventures in the field in October 2022.
Nigeria, meanwhile, has witnessed increased interest in fintech over the past two years.
The Western African country moved up three places between 2021 and 2022, rising from the fifth to the third position. In April 2023, Nigeria rose further, taking second place globally, the FNN report shows.
“Booming interest in fintech in Nigeria comes at a time when the government is formally expressing its commitment to fostering the industry.”
“Among the major initiatives that are being undertaken, the Central Bank of Nigeria said it will design and implement balanced and proportional policies and regulations, help stimulate the domestic investment landscape, and promote multi-stakeholder collaboration,” it said.
Findings show that Nigeria’s regulatory bodies are also moving forward to address the demand for open banking, issuing in February 2021 a formal framework for the practice. Nigeria is among the first regulators in Africa to mandate open banking frameworks, along with financial services data protection rules.
The country already has frameworks covering peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and equity crowdfunding in place.
The country leads the region in venture capital (VC) funding, accounting for a third of all funding deployed into fintech in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) in 2021, according to a 2022 study commissioned by Mastercard.
The Mastercard study stated that “In Africa, fintech maintains its position as the most dynamic and fastest-growing startup segment, attracting the lion’s share in startup funding and dominating other categories in terms of unicorn count.”
However, Nigeria is also the birth country of some of the region’s largest and most valuable fintech unicorns.
These ventures include Flutterwave, a US-headquartered payment infrastructure provider that originated from Nigeria and is valued at US$3 billion; Opay, a mobile-based financial platform for payments, transfers, loans, savings and more valued at US$2 billion, and Interswitch, an Africa-focused integrated digital payments and commerce company worth US$1 billion and headquartered in Nigeria.