* Fintech investment in China triples to $10 bln in 2016
* China's gains fuelled by Ant Financial and JD.com deals
* Investment in Japan also spikes, doubling to $154 mln
By Thomas Wilson
TOKYO, Feb 28 Global investment in financial
technology venture firms grew 10 percent last year to $23.2
billion, consultancy firm Accenture said on Tuesday, fuelled by
huge investor appetite in China and Japan.
Fintech investment in China more than tripled to $10 billion
from 55 deals last year, representing 90 percent of fintech
ventures in the Asia-Pacific region.
Japan also saw a large spike with fintech ventures totalling
$154 million from 14 deals in 2016, more than double the
previous year's $65 million, said Accenture, whose analysis was
based on data from CB Insights.
Fintech ventures typically leverage technology, such as
cloud data storage or smartphones, to provide cheap and
easy-to-access services from loans and insurance to payment
services and crowdfunding.
Investment in Chinese fintech ventures was buoyed by
blockbuster deals such as a $4.5 billion fundraising round at
Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of e-commerce giant
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
China's second-largest e-commerce company JD.com Inc
also raised $1 billion for a consumer finance subsidiary,
"Many of China's financial services companies are making
investments in fintech companies and exploring cutting-edge
solutions such as blockchain technology," said Albert Chan,
Accenture's managing director of financial services in China.
In Japan, the spike in fintech ventures was good news for
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who sees the industry as key to
breathing new life into the country's long-stagnant economy.
Strict regulation, scant access to funding and weak demand
for innovative financial services from a risk-averse population
had previously made Japan barren ground for fintech ventures.
Japan made legal changes last year to attract more fintech
ventures, including easing curbs on bank investment in
The country also became one of the first to regulate virtual
currency exchanges at a national level, a move seen as boosting
investors' trust after the high-profile collapse of the Mt. Gox
bitcoin exchange in 2014.
Bitcoin exchanges bitFlyer and Quoine ranked second and
third respectively by size of investment in Japanese fintech
ventures last year, the data showed.
(Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Randy Fabi)