Indonesia market ripe for alternative-lending firms, one player says

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Commuters making their way to downtown Jakarta, Indonesia.
FEBRUARY 24, 2020 - 1:54 PM

MYANMAR, Cambodia and the Philippines pose the highest risks for alternative lending models in South-east Asia, a peer-to-peer funding platform has said in a ranking of regional opportunities, but it pegged Indonesia as a promising market for growth.

Still, with a business model aimed at under-banked clients, Latvia-based Robocash - which also has offices in Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam - asserted that “a high-risk background does not necessarily stand for extreme difficulty” for micro-consumer lending in that operating market.

“In this sense, the higher the risks, the better the returns for players ready to cope with such circumstances,” it said of Myanmar, Cambodia and the Philippines, while ruling out more mature markets - Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia, and even Thailand, where “alternative lending may lose the interest of customers” as banking options develop - as lacking growth prospects.

Indonesia, however, was found to be in the sweet spot for prospective industry players, alongside South Asia’s Bangladesh, which is no stranger to micro-finance.

Robocash cited Indonesia’s “diverse online lending segment”, which is open to foreign entrants even as the regulator rolls out a licensing regime.

“At the same time, the market continues to change. For instance, sharia-compliant financing is also gaining momentum and already affects the segment,” Robocash added.