Where In the World Is Fintech Innovation?

Location matters. Even in fintech.

It turns out nations beyond America today are increasingly generating more significant financial technology innovation, especially in artificial intelligence.

Canada is an example.

“Smart, early-stage investment in AI and fintech have helped Canada become a research leader in machine learning and deep learning setting the stage for industry 4.0,” said Anuj Madan, national industry leader of KPMG Canada.

China is also at the forefront of innovation. The government is actively cultivating fintech there.

Fintech companies like Qudian, LuFax, and ZhongAn (owned by Ant Financial), China’s first online-only insurer, are now emerging. Investment bank CLSA ranks ZhongAn as the sixth most valuable e-finance company in the world. The Chinese government has also designated development zones, such as Zhongguancun and Shenzhen, for innovation industries.

“This is a classic cycle that we’re in,” said Carrie Shaw, chief marketing and product officer at Quandl, a Toronto-based alternative financial data firm, at a recent industry conference. The Canadian fintech sector has “had the technology trigger that happened a few years ago, and we are not yet at the peak of expectations yet, it’s very early right now. One day we’re going to wake up and all of the sudden we’re going to have advanced by a mile.”

A report released in March supports the notion that fintech innovation is being driving from particular locations.

The U.S. remains the most promising nation for developing disruptive technologies with a global import, according to the survey from KPMG, a tax and advisory service, this past March. Specifically, one-third of respondents looked to the States, especially Silicon Valley, as the place where game-changing fintech will spring forth.

China came in second to the United States as the country generating the most innovation. But on the fintech front specifically, Canada is a rising star. The country is home to more than 300 fintech companies and the sector is expected to grow over the next five years, KPMG says.

To learn more about other nations and their innovation trends, read the report here.


Technologies that are emerging in other markets are already widely used in China such as AI and big data analytics in diagnostics, early detection, AML efforts and credit approval, according to KMPG.


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