What is the role of FinTech in an emerging market like Myanmar? This was the key central question that was explored throughout the FinTech and Digital Currency Business Forum held at Novotel in Yangon last Saturday, organized by Digital Wealth and Event Pro.
ThitsaWorks attended as a sponsor of the event, where we hosted a booth outside of the the featured talks and panels, showcasing our exciting products and featuring our newest partnership with the software company, Musoni. Speakers of the talks and panel included Myanmar’s Dr. U Maung Maung Thein (Former Deputy Minister of Finance), U Zaw Lin Htut of Myanmar Payment Union, Dr. U Hla Nyunt of Global Treasure Bank, U Okka Myint and ThitsaWorks’ very own CEO, U Nyi Nyein Aye.
Dr. U Maung Maung Thein gave the opening talk, setting the tone by urging that Myanmar must catch up to the use of technology, especially FinTech, or risk being left behind. We are at a pivotal point in our evolving economy, he says, entering what could be the third Industrial Revolution beginning since the introduction of bitcoin around 2010. Managing sustainable growth would be crucial, guided by proper forecasting and not by greed.
ThitsaWorks’ CEO, U Nyi Nyein Aye gave a speech where he promoted Fintech and RegTech acts as a “catalyst for financial inclusion” in Myanmar. Starting with highlighting the various categories in the FinTech ecosystem, he noted the importance of regulatory frameworks and structures to establish policy and regulations, as technology outpaces our policies. In the vast array of FinTech developments, this is precisely the niche that ThitsaWorks aims to focus on: digitization of data, management information systems, data visualization and analytics for better policy-making and oversight.
FinTech, as U Nyi says, needs RegTech — “using innovative technology to address regulatory challenges in the financial services to help businesses comply with regulations efficiently and inexpensively.”
He underscored throughout the opportunity we have to leverage the growth of technology towards targeting and reaching the poor and under-banked. Collaboration and partnership is embedded in Fintech itself and would require mobile companies, software and tech companies and the government to work jointly together.
Is Myanmar ready for fintech and digital currency? The panel of experts, facilitated by U Okko Myint, discussed this question. The panelists generally agreed: Although regulation is crucial, we also do not have to wait to move forward. U Maung Maung gave the example of China and the technological developments that sprung from old and new systems existing in parallel. The rise of Asia is bound to happen and Myanmar should jump on the bandwagon.