|Ryu Young-joon, the KakaoPay CEO and the Korea Fintech Industry Association chairman / Courtesy of Kakao|
By Park Jae-hyuk
KakaoPay CEO Ryu Young-joon, who will lead the nation's largest fintech lobby group over the next two years, is facing growing calls to focus on helping Korean fintech firms go global.
The head of Kakao's mobile payment subsidiary was elected as the Korea Fintech Industry Association (KORFIN) chairman, March 10, defeating DAYLI Financial Group CEO Shin Seung-hyun.
KORFIN was organized in 2016 to make the nation's fintech industry more globalized and to call for financial authorities to ease regulations on fintech firms.
The new chairman vowed to make the association serve as a think tank, so that it can influence government policies on the fintech industry.
"By communicating more with our members and improving the association's capability, I will help the fintech industry play a leading role in Korea's financial innovation," he said after winning the election.
Since regulators began to prioritize financial innovation, KORFIN, comprised of more than 300 member companies, has become more influential.
Its chairman has also been able to meet financial policymakers more frequently, so the competition for the position was intense, leading the association to hold its first multi-candidate election in its four-year history.
Industry officials advised the new chairman to support Korean fintech firms' overseas expansion using Kakao's mobile platforms.
Fintech Center Korea Chairman Jung Yoo-shin said KakaoPay could create a synergy effect if it enters the Southeast Asian market along with small and medium-sized fintech firms.
He cited an increasing demand for mobile financing in the region.
"I think Ryu will find his role for fintech firms' overseas expansion, because financial authorities have mentioned globalization as part of measures to scale up the nation's fintech industry," Jung said.
Fintech Center Korea is an organization set up by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) in 2015 to foster the country's fintech industry.
As Jung said, the FSC has made a series of efforts to make the nation's fintech industry globalized.
When FSC Chairman Eun Sung-soo met CEOs of foreign financial firms in February, he asked them to pay more attention to Korean fintech startups.
The FSC will also invite international organizations and foreign financial regulators to Korea Fintech Week which will take place in Seoul from May 28 to 30.
KORFIN is in charge of attracting fintech firms to participate in the international event.