Thursday 05 October, 2023

Unpacking Vietnam’s digital lending landscape

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Hi readers,

I was struck by this term called the “credit invisibles” during my email interview with an executive from Kredivo Vietnam.

I’m not sure whether buy now, pay later is the right solution to support those who are unseen by the traditional financial system in Vietnam. Will getting them to buy more stuff eventually improve their lives?

About 70% of the population have no or limited access to banking services. Fintech companies have been shifting their focus to digital lending, which entails getting the population to move away from cash for their borrowing needs, though these firms’ business models might differ.

For those in the lower-income brackets, the risks are evident. Stories of people being harassed by lending apps have been constantly reported. For years, the industry has been awaiting an official fintech sandbox from regulators aimed at protecting consumers and spurring innovation.

In the meantime, as I noted in the landscape map, consumers just have to be smart about their choices.

— Thu Huong Le, journalist at Tech in Asia

Top stories this week

Image credit: Timmy Loen

1️. Mapping Vietnam’s latest fintech battlefield: digital lending With roughly 70% of Vietnam’s population unbanked or underbanked, companies are finding new ways to lend to these underserved communities.

2. Making sense of Grab’s surprising U-turn from ‘no layoffs’ stance Employees are upset by the job cuts, which CEO Anthony Tan insists are not motivated by hitting earnings targets.

3. How Singapore’s startup ecosystem compares to the rest of the world The city-state has a shorter time to exit than the global average and has seen significantly more VC funding dished out than other ecosystems.

4. Bots, boosts, and backends: how generative AI can transform banking This tech can transform how banks operate but concerns over regulation, data security, and systemic biases will act as constraints.

5. The brow-raising $150m valuation of SGX-listed firm’s EV brand EuroSports Global’s Scorpio Electric says it will start producing and distributing e-bikes later in 2023. But its valuation may need justification.

6. How Tokopedia’s product chief avoids costly errors when using data Listen to his war stories as well as tips on avoiding vanity metrics and data biases.

7. This social commerce firm cut its costs by 3x – here’s how After making tough calls, Singapore-based Raena nearly tripled its revenue and improved its gross margins in 2022.

8. Can Grab’s dine-in services reverse a fall in food delivery growth? It joins food delivery platforms like Foodpanda, Swiggy, and Zomato that have moved into the adjacent category in recent years.

9. BreederDAO’s pivot: AI-generated NFTs for the metaverse BreederDAO, the NFT platform that launched in 2021, is moving away from play-to-earn games and using AI to generate custom NFTs for the metaverse.

10. A16z-backed Carta to shut India operations, lays off staff The California-based firm, which entered the Indian market less than a year ago via an acquisition, will transfer its accounts in the country to its Singapore office.

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At this invite-only event, you can be part of the sustainability revolution by pledging to reduce your carbon footprint. You’ll also get to explore green innovations with fellow tech visionaries to drive positive change in the climate tech scene.

Find out more about SYNC 2023: Climate Tech and apply for your ticket here. It’s now or never – seize your chance to be considered for this net-zero event today!


Shravanth Vijayakumar

Fascinated by all things tech, business and sport. Always down for a healthy discussion on these topics. Feel free to reach me at [email protected]

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