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雙語閱讀|伊斯蘭銀行金融科技爭奪戰

雙語閱讀|伊斯蘭銀行金融科技爭奪戰

Islamic Fintech

FOR all the sophistication of some of its financial centres, and despite the ubiquity of smartphones, the Middle East has been a late adopter of financial technology, or fintech. Of more than $50bn in fintech investment globally since 2010, according to Accenture, a consultancy, only 1% has gone to the Middle East and north Africa.

由於一些金融中心的複雜性,智能手機雖然無處不在,中東地區對金融科技的接受落後其他地區。諮詢機構埃森哲稱,自2010年以來,全球金融科技產業共獲得500多億美元投資,其中流入了中東和北非地區的不足1%。

Khalid Al Rumaihi, head of Bahrain』s Economic Development Board, blames institutional foot-dragging and a lack of infrastructure and venture capital. Yet he insists innovation is inherent to Islamic financial tradition. The modern cheque derives from an Arabic instrument, a written vow to pay for goods on delivery, to avoid carrying money on dangerous journeys. 「In the 9th century」, he says, 「a Muslim businessman could cash a cheque in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.」

巴林經濟發展委員會首席執行官哈立德·艾勒·魯邁希將其歸咎於制度性拖延,缺乏基礎設施和風投資本。然而,他堅信創新是伊斯蘭金融傳統的本質特徵。現代的支票就源於阿拉伯的一種金融工具,即一種書面誓言,承諾交貨時付款,以避免在危險旅程中攜帶現金。他說:「在九世紀,一位穆斯林商人能在兌現巴格達銀行的支票。」

Several cities are now jockeying to establish themselves as fintech hubs. Last year Cairo launched two 「accelerators」—schools to nurture startups. Abu Dhabi has created the region』s first 「regulatory sandbox」, allowing new products to be tested for two years without full regulatory compliance. In March, the city』s financial centre signed an agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the island-state』s central bank, to undertake joint fintech projects, for example in mobile payments and the blockchain. Dubai』s new fintech accelerator, the first in the Gulf region, has begun accepting applications.

現在,一些城市都在爭相將自己打造為金融科技中心。去年,開羅創建了兩個「創業加速器」,即來培育創業公司的機構。阿布扎比建立了中東地區第一個「監管沙盒」,允許新產品在不完全符合監管規定的情況下進行兩年測試。三月,阿布扎比金融中心與新加坡中央銀行——新加坡金融管理局簽署協議,共同開發金融科技項目,如移動支付和區塊鏈。作為海灣地區第一個金融科技加速器,迪拜新的金融科技加速器開始接受申請。

Not to be outdone, Qatar and Bahrain have held fintech conferences. Bahrain, too, has teamed up with Singapore to develop a fintech ecosystem. In 2010 there were fewer than 20 fintech startups in the Middle East and north Africa, according to Wamda, a website devoted to regional entrepreneurship. By 2015 there were 105.

卡達和巴林不甘落後,舉辦幾鎰金融科技會議。巴林也與新加坡開展合作,開發金融科技生態系統。 Wamda是一家致力於區域創業的網站,其數據顯示,2010年,中東和北非的金融科技創業企業不到20家。到2015年,其數目達到105家。

Their market includes the masses of migrant workers in need of remittance services. But Chris Skinner, a financial commentator, says it also encompasses the region』s many expatriates accustomed to high-quality services, and the local ultra-rich. At the other end of the scale, fintech can also bring cheaper services to the unbanked: over four-fifths of the population in the region—a higher proportion than anywhere else in the world, according to the World Bank.

他們的市場包括需要匯款服務的大批外來務工人員。不過,財經評論員克里斯·斯金納表示,其市場還包括該地區那些習慣高質量服務的外籍人士,以及當地的超級富豪。據世界銀行數據顯示,該地區超過五分之四的人口無銀行賬戶,比例遠高於世界其他地區,而金融科技可以為這些無銀行賬戶的人提供更便宜的服務。

Islamic banks are enthusiastic about the prospects. A recent report by EY, a consultancy, says 40 of the biggest have approved investment of $15m-50m for digital initiatives. The industry reaches nearly 100m customers worldwide but the potential market is six times that. Fintech, especially blockchain technologies, ought to be a boon for Islamic finance, because it can streamline transactions between institutions that apply different versions of Sharia law. Islamic-banking users are keen: three out of four say they are ready to look elsewhere for a better digital experience.

各家伊斯蘭銀行對金融科技的發展前景充滿熱情。諮詢機構EY最近發布的一份報告指出,40家規模最大的銀行為數字倡議批准投資1500萬到5000萬美元。該銀行業在全球擁有接近1億客戶,面,而潛在市場是其六倍。金融科技,尤其是區塊鏈技術,應該是伊斯蘭金融的福音,因為它可以簡化適用於不同伊斯蘭教法規定的機構之間的交易。伊斯蘭銀行用戶對此很感興趣:有四分之三的人表示準備好去其他地方尋找更好的數字體驗。

Mr Skinner is sure these cities can become fintech hubs. Dubai, he notes, was barely on the map 20 years ago; now it is, by one ranking, the world』s 18th-largest financial centre, above Frankfurt. Others will find their niche, perhaps as hubs linking economies in Asia and Africa or servicing wealthy Saudis next-door. Saudi Arabia is not so global in perspective, he notes, and in Bahrain you can have a drink.

斯金納確信這些城市會成為金融科技中心。他指出,20年前,在地圖上幾乎找不到迪拜的影子,然而現在迪拜卻是世界第18大金融中心,排在法蘭克福之前。其它城市也將發現各自的利基市場,可以是成為連接亞洲和非洲經濟的中心,也可以是成為其富裕鄰國沙烏地阿拉伯的服務中心。他指出,沙烏地阿拉伯並不是那麼全球化,還建議大家在巴林喝上一杯。

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