With the proliferation of tools to facilitate scale and low-touch market entry, it’s easier than ever for Australian businesses to enter new markets. According to the Export Council of Australia, technology is already our fourth-largest export sector – and it’s projected to be worth $19 billion by 2030.
Fintech businesses like trade payment solutions provider Finstro are amongst the Australian upstarts going global. Founded in 2014, the company provided more than 7000 global businesses with over $1 billion in trade payments and identified the US as its next target market.
In my experience supporting fintech businesses going through this process in a highly regulated space, there are four questions to ask before launching your product in a new market.
Are you aware of the local culture, customs, and norms?
Before rushing into a new region, consider the expectations of engaging with potential customers. What are the local business customs and how do they differ to the laid-back Australian approach?
Consider the market fit for your fintech product or service. Just because you might be a hit in Australia doesn’t promise success overseas.
If you’re a neobank, you may want to research the percentage of the local population that is unbanked and investigate the sentiment towards financial institutions. Overestimating cultural market fit is an expensive lesson in the 101s of business.
Will language be a barrier?
Translating your product into new geographies brings complexities and costs. If your competitors offer sales support in the native language while yours doesn’t, you may want to re-evaluate.
Before launching into non-English speaking regions, ensure you can afford appropriate respect for the market. That means relevant, well-translated copy, localised language settings in-product, and a relatable customer team.
If you don’t have the resources to hire a translator full-time, platforms like Smartcat can help to automate copy translations with AI.
Is your product compatible with local tech infrastructure?
A particularly difficult part of this process is tapping into the tools and systems that power the local economy – such as accessing risk and credit scoring indicators, banking gateways, and compliance & regulatory systems.
For fintech companies in particular, this is fundamental to the customer experience. Finance and operations management systems differ radically between markets. If mission-critical operations utilise niche systems, what could this mean for your business’ viability?
If you’re trying to launch a fintech service, for example, assessing an applicant must align with locally relevant data. In many instances, this is time-consuming and costly.
The ability to access accurate local data can be the key to efficiently offering your product to the market while reducing risks.
Are you aware of local regulatory and compliance requirements?
Before launching a fintech product into a new market, consider the regulatory environment. Knowing individual market requirements is key to assessing viability.
For example: If you’re collecting customer data, do you need to adhere to any data privacy and sharing laws? Perhaps you’re required to attain certain certifications to be compliant.
To be compliant, you may need to consider a local partnership to temporarily leverage existing licenses, or platforms that take care of compliance on your behalf.
For fintech companies looking to go international, tech solutions should not be overlooked. It may be the key to a market that transforms your growth trajectory.
You still must consult with professionals to understand local tax laws and trade agreements to ensure you’re adhering to region policies.
International expansion is highly complex but with the proliferation of trustworthy technical solutions and strategic partnerships, it can really pay off, so long as you undertake appropriate due diligence.
For founders, it’s becoming a very possible reality that you’ll no longer need a passport to conduct business with global customers, staff, or infrastructure.