Over the last few years, there has been a rapid drive towards digital transformation across sectors, including financial services. This drive was greatly accelerated with the onset of the global pandemic that forced even the less tech-savvy population to migrate online for their daily needs. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that fintech has been experiencing robust growth with the increasing digital adoption and growing prominence of digital wallets and contactless payment methods.
Addressing an unmet need
However, although fintech was gaining steam even before the pandemic, there was limited reporting focused on the sector until a few years ago, Christian König, Founder of Fintech News Network, told creatorstory.ch in an interview.
Despite the burgeoning circle of fintech providers and users across the world, fintech reporting was largely an underserved market. Established traditional publications overlooked the sector’s growing importance and readers had little choice to stay updated with the latest developments.
“When we started fintechnews.ch and Fintechnews.sg in 2014, there was very little reporting on the topic of fintech…At that time, there were no media outlets actively reporting fintech news…the largest tech and finance news platform in Asia at the time was publishing merely five articles a year on fintech. The topic just wasn’t on their radar at all.”
König aimed at catering to this emerging need for reporting in fintech. Raising awareness on fintech and digitisation in finance in Switzerland, therefore, became a priority for him.
Before founding Fintech News, König worked towards this aim with a financial product/ finance 2.0-focused blog, finanzprodukt.ch, between 2012 and 2014. He also initiated the first Fintech/Finance 2.0 conference in 2013, while the blog won him recognition and an award in 2014. This formed the genesis of Fintech News Network.
Later, we removed the topic of Finance 2.0/Fintech from the blog and created our own platform for these topics in the form of fintechnews.ch. As I happened to be in Asia on business at the time, we also launched the platform in Singapore.”
König started his career as a derivatives banker and currently heads Fintech News Network, a global fintech news publication with eight news websites and readers from across the globe. In addition to Fintech News Switzerland and Singapore, the company now operates Fintech News Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Middle East and Baltic sites. The firm also recently expanded its presence to Africa.
Hailing from Meilen, König entered the financial world looking for a career change and later on studied at the HSG. With Fintech News Network, König is combining his passion for content marketing and fintech. Owing to his reports, articles and expertise in content marketing and digitisation, he is also a coveted consultant and lecturer even outside of the financial sector. After almost a decade since he entered the world of publication, König chiefly identifies himself as a “publisher and marketer of niche blogs in the financial world.”
How Fintech News Network differentiates itself
Speaking about how Fintech News differs from other traditional publications like Die Handelszeitung and NZZ Wirtschaft, König said,
“We not only distribute news on our own website, but across a range of different media. In addition to our news sites, we also use over 140 social media channels. Search engine optimisation is also very important to us. If you Google the topic of Fintech Switzerland, we are right at the top, above the “traditional” media houses.”
Moreover, although cryptocurrencies fall under the purview of fintech, König wants to distance Fintech News from the “nascent crypto movement.” He emphasises that Fintech News is not a crypto portal and does not actively report on the current Bitcoin and Ethereum rates. As a former derivatives trader, König is a crypto sceptic owing to the liquidity problems associated with cryptocurrencies.
“In my opinion, it is quite possible that the Bitcoin price could double again and hit the 100,000-mark. However, I think that if panic breaks out, it is more likely that Bitcoin will trade at almost zero, at least in the short term due to a lack of liquidity. Buying Bitcoin is easy, however, selling it is difficult. We also learned this lesson in the Euro/Franc market, which was worth billions before the SNB abandoned the 1.20 peg. The next exchange rate peg was then set at 0.95.”
In 2015, the Swiss National Bank had removed the Swiss Franc peg to the Euro and allowed the currency to float. This led to a crash in EUR/CHF that left traders and brokers out of business as liquidity became extremely scarce. A similar scenario is also likely in the crypto market in the event of a crash, König believes.
Besides, there are more important topics in fintech that require attention like the international remittance market where consumers still pay exorbitant fees, König said. According to World Bank data, the global average remittance cost was 6.38% of the amount sent in Q1 2021, down from 6.51% in Q4 2020. A decrease of remittance cost by at least five percentage points can save up to US$16 billion a year, the World Bank claims.
A success story
With a presence that now scales across more than half the globe, running and expanding Fintech News has made König a bird of passage.
“I had to renew my last passport after two years because there were no blank pages left for visas. Thanks to the frequent flyer program, I was often able to fly in business class. For the last seven years, I have mostly traveled to Southeast Asia, to our offices in Saigon, Vietnam and Singapore where I spent most of my time in the winter as I don’t like the cold.”
But the COVID-19 pandemic has been a dampener for König’s travels. He was forced to leave Southeast Asia in April 2020 and has not been able to return since. Last year, he spent most of his time in Zurich, Vilnius (Fintech News Baltic), Dubai (Fintech News Middle East) and Tanzania (launch of Fintech News Africa) and is currently in Brazil and the USA preparing the launch of Fintech News America.
As Fintech News celebrates its sixth anniversary, König said the company has gained significant prominence in the field. He counts this as a major achievement since Fintech News operates in an “area that is doubly new – fintech and content marketing.” The company has managed to rack up an impressive base of clients as well. This includes big banks, tech giants like Google and Alibaba, fintech startups and consulting companies.
König has also been fervently working towards raising fintech awareness in emerging markets. For instance, he has been pushing Fintech News in Vietnam since 2014, and his efforts have even earned him TV appearances on the subject. Moreover, the company had a record year in 2020, which can be partly attributed to the COVID-19 induced increased digital adoption.
Without a doubt, my greatest personal success was being able to keep the Fintech News Network afloat in difficult times and in the early days, even if it caused me many sleepless nights. As an entrepreneur, it’s times like that where you learn the most.
Lastly, as a fintech specialist with an extensive background in finance, König recommends spending over saving money. But he is not referring to reckless or impulsive spending. He believes that spending money can be valuable “as long as it’s an investment in your education for personal growth or in building your own company.”
partly translated from https://creatorstory.ch/christian-koenig/