Three Chinese financial technology start-ups have begun their three-month long residency in Australia as part of the largest cross-border incubation.

Australia is seeking to become the financial technology (FinTech) hub of the Asia-Pacific region through their FinTech Asia program, while removing regulatory barriers and implementing other mechanisms to help drag the economy away from mining led growth.

“FinTech Asia is all about helping bring the best that Australian FinTech has to offer (in) key markets across Asia, and likewise entice some of the key start-ups from those markets to Australia to support them in terms of their market entry… and leverage the Australian market as a fantastic opportunity and test market in terms of going into the western hemisphere,” the initiative’s proponent, Stone & Chalk chief Alex Scandurra said at the official welcome in Sydney on Wednesday.

“This isn’t a country versus country play. We are helping governments, regulators and key organisations across Asia to adopt best practice and to collaborate with one another by creating a FinTech superhighway across Asia.”

The three start-ups creating cloud-based accounting software, QR-code point of sale systems for businesses servicing Chinese tourists and a “bank for entrepreneurs” that is streamlining cash management were selected via a highly competitive pitching competition at People Squared Shanghai during April’s Australia Week in China.

“These Chinese startups chosen for this program have a keen global focus, and will be in a position to commercialize and enter an entirely new market with the support and expertise of the Stone & Chalk community and our program partners,” Scandurra said.

Asia is fast becoming the center of the global technology revolution after investors poured 4.5 billion U.S. dollars into financial startups in 2015, a near four-fold increase on 2014, via mobile telecommunications. Mobile technology has allowed Asian consumers to purchase everything from insurance to every-day products.

FinTech itself is one of the fastest growing sectors in global financial services industry, with total investments in peer-to-peer lenders, payment services companies and internet insurers rising 60 percent to 19.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2015.

“I believe the global economic center of gravity has shifted away from places like the United States and (the United Kingdom)… to a line on the earth that runs somewhere between Shanghai and Sydney and picks up half the world’s GDP, the fasted growing middle class and the fasted growing group of people anywhere in the world that is (embracing) technology,” New South Wales state trade minister Stuart Ayres said at the welcome.

“(The Chinese start-up’s) contribution to this ecosystem won’t just strengthen what’s happening in FinTech here in Australia, but it sends an incredibly powerful message across the rest of the world that Sydney is the place to be when it comes to FinTech.”

Stone & Chalk, Australia’s leading startup incubator, is a coup for the New South Wales state government as it seeks to make Sydney the innovation hub for financial services in the Asia-Pacific against stiff competition from Melbourne in Victoria state.

Over the next 12 weeks, the three Chinese start-ups: MEGI Software (Shanghai) Co. Ltd, Royal Pay and S. Capitol will receive ongoing support and mentoring from Stone & Chalk as well as access to their 23 domestic and international corporate partners while working alongside over 90 of Australia’s leading fintech start-up companies. Endit

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