Mobile-only bank Revolut announced it is to move into the lucrative Asian market with a new office.
Within Europe, London-based Revolut has quickly become a leading fintech player having earlier this year joined a list of unicorns in the space after completing a funding round worth $250m.
For those unfamiliar, Revolut is a mobile-only bank service that lets its users send free domestic and international money transfers with the real exchange rate.
Now, the start-up revealed it is globally expanding after being granted a remittance licence by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, as well as stored value facility approval to allow it to operate in the city state. This follows its approval by Japanese authorities to operate in the country, becoming one of only a handful of international companies that have succeeded in obtaining this licence there.
‘It’s a huge market’
The decision to grant approval will now see Revolut open its APAC headquarters – likely in Singapore – with the expectation of launching in Q1 2019. The start-up claims 50,000 customers are already on its waiting list there.
The office will house personnel responsible for business development, public relations and compliance already hired in the region, with plans to hire an operations manager for further Singapore expansion in the coming months.
“We’ve been working closely with the Singapore regulator to shape the future regulatory environment of the country,” said Nikolay Storonsky, CEO and founder of Revolut.
“They believe and trust in our business model and vision, and would like to see our European success replicated in Singapore and across Asia Pacific.”
The targeting of Japan and Singapore is certainly tactical from Revolut as both of these countries rank first and second, respectively, in the global passport power rankings. Figures show that as many as 1.6m Japanese residents travel abroad each year, while research has shown Singaporeans spent an average of $1,462 on every trip they take.
“We have confidence that Revolut will continue to be a driving force as we expand globally, developing a range of exciting new services for increasingly connected consumers in APAC,” Storonsky added. “It’s a huge market and we’re already seeing an incredible amount of people demanding our product.”
Updated, 12.22pm, 29 November 2018: This article was amended to correct a mistaken figure that indicated 16m Japanese residents travel abroad each year. The figure has been updated to 1.6m.