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Business Envoy February 2022

The Australian fintech export frenzy

In August this year, home-grown fintech Afterpay sold for a staggering $39 billion, heralding the arrival of a major new export Australian industry – fintech.

Australia now ranks sixth in the world and second in the Asia-Pacific region under global fintech rankings, according to global research and analytics firm, Findexable. This is unsurprising as the broader tech sector is now Australia's fourth largest export sector with an estimated worth of $8 billion in 2018.

Australian tech attracts global talent, and our banks and super funds are innovators. A fascinating new industry sector, Australian fintech is built on that magic combination of well-managed financial markets and innovation-friendly regulators. And it's powered by a new breed of tech innovators and pioneers who have the courage to go global very fast. For example, established in 2015, Melbourne-funded fintech Airwallex is valued at $7.6 billion and is growing across Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), EY and Fintech Australia recently launched a census to find out more about our fintech sector. The research data shows fintechs are natural exporters. They create products and solutions for global markets from day one. According to the data, one in five Australian fintechs already earn most of their revenue from overseas sales. This is an amazing proportion as few of these fintechs existed around a decade ago.

This is especially good news in Australia's current recovery mode. The research data reports an approximate doubling in employment per business on average over the past year. Almost all Australian fintechs – or 88 per cent – report that an increase in exports created jobs in Australia in the past 12 months.

Austrade is working in partnership with groups like Fintech Australia and Insurtech Australia to align the government's support to where the sector sees the greatest growth opportunities.

Investment is another important part of the story. International investors fuel the rapid growth that Australian fintech businesses have been experiencing. From an investor perspective, Australia has a deep talent pool and sophisticated, innovative financial and consumer markets. Together this makes for a great place to develop innovative fintech businesses with the potential for global scale.

Australia is just at the start of its fintech journey, but our entrepreneurs have already established Australia as a distinct force in global fintech.

As Australia's services and technology economy continues to grow, that is excellent news for exports.

Australia's fintechs are competing successfully on the world stage. For many fintechs, their market is truly global, and that's why it's so important to be helping them expand quickly into global business hubs like London, the United States, and Singapore.

Andrew Barnes, Head of Client Services, Born Global and New Exporter, Austrade

Find out more about Australian fintech.


Airwallex co-founders (from left) Xijing Dai, Jack Zhang, Lucy Liu and Max Li.
Airwallex co-founders (from left) Xijing Dai, Jack Zhang, Lucy Liu and Max Li. Image courtesy of Airwallex.


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