Itochu partners with Sinar Mas on Indonesian fintech

By David Tuckwell on Monday 26 June 2017

Alternative Lending

Japanese conglomerate Itochu buys into Sinar Ma subsidiary PDP

A Japanese giant, Itochu, has partnered with an Indonesian giant, Sinar Mas, to take on Indonesian payments. 

Itochu, Japan’s second-largest trading company, has bought a US$50 million stake in an Indonesian P2P lending company as it views Indonesia’s weak financial infrastructure as a fertile harvest for fintech credit services, Nikkei Asian Review reports.

The money will give Itochu a one-third stake in Pasar Dana Pinjaman (“Loan Fund Market”), a subsidiary of the Sinar Mas Group, a palm oil and paper producer and one of Indonesia’s largest companies.

“Indonesia is expected to maintain high economic growth in the coming years,” said Itochu, in a press release.

“Given the current expansion of the middle-class, further growth in demand for finance is expected from individual borrowers, along with sophisticated financial services that will provide greater accessibility in a range of areas to customers in Indonesia.”

Indonesia has 250 million people, many of which are unbanked. As in China, smartphone uptake has provided an entry portal for fintechs to provide payment services to the unbanked.

While Indonesia’s fintech market is small – roughly half the size of Australia’s – sources inside Itochu believe it will grow. According to the NAR report, Itochu anticipates Indonesia’s fintech payments market could climb from $27 million today, to $9 billion in 2020.

With the entry of Itochu, Japan joins Australia and China – both of who have also attempted to dig into Indonesian terrain. Earlier this year, Australia signed a fintech cooperation with Indonesia, agreeing that their corporate regulators would share information. The Chinese BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) have all made moves into Indonesian payment space the past few years, with some success.

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