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Gov't aims to make Seoul 'fintech test bed'

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Financial Services Commission Chairman Choi Jong-ku, center, takes part in an opening ceremony for Korea Fintech Week 2019 with other dignitaries at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, Thursday. Second from left are Visa's Global Head of Strategic Partnerships and Venture Matt Dill, Ant Financial's Senior Vice President of Global Business Douglas Feagin, Chairman Choi and U.K. Ambassador to South Korea Simon Smith. / Yonhap
Financial Services Commission Chairman Choi Jong-ku, center, takes part in an opening ceremony for Korea Fintech Week 2019 with other dignitaries at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, Thursday. Second from left are Visa's Global Head of Strategic Partnerships and Venture Matt Dill, Ant Financial's Senior Vice President of Global Business Douglas Feagin, Chairman Choi and U.K. Ambassador to South Korea Simon Smith. / Yonhap

By Kim Bo-eun

The government is planning to make Seoul a "fintech test bed," designating fintech its top priority among finance policies, according to the country's financial regulator, Thursday.

"We will make efforts so that Korea's regulatory sandbox can serve as a test bed for global fintech businesses," Choi Jong-ku, Chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), said at Korea Fintech Week 2019, which opened at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza Thursday.

"Fintech is the future of finance, which challenges the monopoly and oligopoly of the existing finance sector and promotes opening and competition."

Choi noted that regulations remain a barrier to further fostering of the local fintech industry's competitiveness and pledged to work on these.

By making fintech a priority in finance policies, the FSC will aim to attract investment.

About $520 million was invested in fintech in Korea last year, which is only 0.4 percent of global investment in the sector.

The FSC plans to create a platform for fintech investment, through which a government agency will connect fintech firms with venture capital and finance companies.

It is aiming to create investment funds totaling 100 billion won.

Meanwhile, the government will also encourage Korean fintech companies to enter markets in Southeast Asia.

"There is a great possibility for fintech's development in the Southeast Asian region," the Financial Supervisory Services' First Deputy Governor, Yoo Kwang-yeol, said at a seminar during the event.

"Startups should enter markets there for new business and make this a new engine of growth."

The FSS signed an agreement with accounting and consulting multinational Deloitte at the seminar to assist startups entering foreign markets.

This was Korea's first "Fintech Week," organized by the FSC, FSS and the Fintech Center Korea.

The event, attended by local fintech firms, finance companies and institutions and global fintech experts, will continue through Saturday. It includes seminars on fintech policies, developments in the field and on related companies entering foreign markets, as well as opportunities for fintech firms to introduce their businesses to investors. Finance companies, institutions and fintech firms are running 52 booths at the event.

The government is planning to make "Korea Fintech Week" an annual event.


Kim Bo-eun bkim@koreatimes.co.kr


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