Enticed by the multitrillion dollar Islamic financial market, an Australian public-listed firm is setting up a new digital subsidiary in Malaysia — a global hub of Islamic finance — to anchor its footing in the industry, using Islamic fintech as a vehicle of growth.
Fatfish Group, a tech venture firm with businesses across Southeast Asia and Nordic Europe, confirmed that it has established iHarap — which loosely translates into i-Hope — a fintech platform which will provide Shariah compliant financial services.
“Establishing a new line of fintech business based on Islamic financing principles is in line with Fatfish’s plan to further develop its fintech businesses in Southeast Asia. The Islamic financing business will be complementary to the buy-now-pay-later services that Fatfish will be rolling out, sharing common technology and back-office components and developing economy of scale at marketing differentiated financing products to the target audience in Southeast Asia,” Fatfish explained. The group added that it chose to base its Islamic fintech operations in Malaysia due to the country’s holistic and robust Islamic financial ecosystem across the different segments of Islamic banking, Shariah capital markets and Takaful insurance.
The Australian firm recognizes the immense commercial opportunity Islamic finance offers as Islam is the most widely-practiced religion in Southeast Asia. About 42%, or over 275 million, of the Southeast Asian population adheres to the Islamic faith. iHarap will be funded from Fatfish’s existing working capital.