With a growing attention to financial inclusion of the population lacking access to finance, countries in South and Southeast Asia are demonstrating the dynamic development of financial services.
According to a study by financial holding Robocash Group on the prospects for online micro consumer lending across countries in the region, Laos, India, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Vietnam have taken the highest positions in the company ranking.
The highest score in the ranking (20) belongs to Laos. It combines a high potential of the untapped demand with a positive attitude to short-term online lending from the government and population. The need for relevant products in Laos is similar to the situation in Myanmar, but it is free from some obstacles of the latter.
Over time, the new market will grow, and foreign investors may significantly contribute to this process. The underdevelopment of the legislation and the absence of financial institutes such as credit bureaus encourage experienced foreign companies with a fine-tuned scoring and reliable operation processes to support the efficient development of the market.
India holds second place with a score of 18. Despite a direct connection between the development level of a country and its place in the ranking, India is an exception. Although a significant part of local people already has access to credit products (79.9%), the rest include hundreds of millions of people. It correlates with the formed regulation.
After all, the market has a relatively small number of foreign companies, and not many Chinese startups have entered the market. Hence, the competition remains quite moderate.
Third place belongs to the Philippines (16). The country gives in the leading positions to other countries because of their hidden potential. However, other advantages compensate for it. The country has an established market of short-term lending services, flexible, and facilitative regulation.
Not forgetting, there is a balance between the high demand for relevant products and low debt load among the population. Moreover, the Philippine government is driving the digitization of financial services to decrease the factor of geographical fragmentation. It makes the country stand out on the regional background.
Myanmar is fourth in the ranking (14). As a country with a relatively large number of people below the poverty line and high demand for micro consumer loans, Myanmar stands out in comparison to the more developed countries in Southeast Asia. Still, some points are holding the market back.
Partly, this is due to its underdevelopment. The government has introduced strong regulation to get rid off illegal creditors, which activities have led to debt overload of the population. The latter reduces the attractiveness of the country for foreign companies significantly.
Fifth place belongs to Vietnam (12). Vietnam demonstrates significant demand for micro consumer online loans. With a large number of people living in rural areas (66%), only one-third of the population has access to credit products. Another stimulating factor is the growing GDP forecasted to increase by 6.6% by 2020.
Nonetheless, Vietnam should improve its regulation in terms of licensing of companies and control of financial statements. Overall, the country represents a bright example of the market with a medium position in the ranking. Vietnam is quite perspective but gives in the leadership due to the current difficulties for the business.