DPM Heng Swee Keat at Nium New Headquarters Launch

DPM Heng Swee Keat | 3 July 2023

Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat at Nium’s New Headquarters Launch on 3 July 2023.



Mr Prajit Nanu and Mr Pratik Gandhi,
Co-Founders of Nium,
Mr Chua Kee Lock,
Chief Executive Officer of Vertex Venture Holdings,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning. I am delighted to be here at the official opening of Nium’s new headquarters in Singapore.

Just last week, I was at the Point Zero Forum in Zurich, which brought policymakers, industry leaders and start-ups together to discuss the future of FinTech. I spoke about the importance of ensuring that FinTech serves as a force for good. One area where FinTech solutions have expanded economic opportunities and increased social inclusion, is digital payments. Through digital payments, cross-border financial transactions can now be rapid, low-cost, and secure. Businesses, especially microbusinesses and smallholders, can unlock new markets and achieve a regional and even global presence. At the same time, underserved groups like migrant workers or rural communities can access financial services more readily. 

FinTech can strengthen existing trade linkages and connectivity, by making transactions simpler, more efficient and more inclusive. So I am happy to be here a week later celebrating the milestone of a Singapore-born startup, and Southeast Asia’s first B2B payments unicorn. Nium’s real-time payments infrastructure enables businesses and individuals to seamlessly move money across borders. This grew from their initial problem statement nearly ten years ago, of making global remittances cheaper and less complex for consumers. Over the decade, as the demand and use cases for cross-border digital payments grew, Nium’s offerings also expanded to serve global demand. Today, Nium is a leading player in the global payments space, covering more than 190 markets, with staff in some 20 countries worldwide. 

Nium’s journey tracks the growth and development of Singapore FinTech ecosystem, which has become more vibrant. Over the past five years, FinTech investments in Singapore have grown 18-fold, from US$230M in 2017 to more than US$4B in 2022. This is built on the strong infrastructure and frameworks that we already have in place as an international financial centre. This is also enabled by the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s forward-looking and balanced posture of encouraging FinTech innovation while guarding against risks, through sandboxes and industry-led pilots. 

At the broader level, we are also seeking to strengthen our position as a Global-Asia node for innovation, technology and enterprise. The availability of strategic capital and talent makes Singapore an ideal location for startups to scale and anchor. Our connectivity and linkages with ASEAN and the broader Asia-Pacific region enable startups and enterprises to access a wider market, especially economies with a growing middle class and increased demand for financial services. And we actively support startups’ innovation and growth efforts through initiatives such as the Global Innovation Alliance, Open Innovation Platform, and the Startup SG network. 

Singapore is thus an ideal location for enterprises like Nium, which intends to deepen its presence in key markets like Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas, while expanding to new growth markets like the Middle East and Africa. With Enterprise Singapore’s support, Nium is planning to explore opportunities and deepen their presence in these growth markets. It will do so out of Singapore and will be tripling its presence here over the next few years to about 300-strong. Singapore will also serve as Nium’s BizTech Centre of Excellence, which aims to nurture world-class talent who can marry technical expertise with business acumen, to serve customer needs across these diverse regions. This is a good example of a “glocal approach” – global-ready products that can be customised and suited to local markets’ needs. And Singapore’s strong ecosystem, coupled with our strong linkages in the region and beyond, can serve as an ideal base to do this. 

For ecosystems to remain vibrant, it must be nurtured and sustained by all players. I have already mentioned some of the government schemes and initiatives, and how our agencies support enterprises in their innovation and internationalisation journey. 

Equally important is the role that corporates can play in incubating and mentoring new start-ups. I am heartened that Nium is actively giving back to the FinTech community under their Bolt initiative. This is an R&D hub where entrepreneurs and seed-stage startups in Singapore can access Nium’s product APIs and its network of venture capital partners, as well as mentorship opportunities.Beyond Singapore, Nium plans to leverage its presence in San Francisco to support Singapore-based early-stage start-ups seeking to access the US markets.This spirit of partnership and support is crucial and commendable. When enterprises make the effort to lift one another up, the ecosystem flourishes, we achieve synergies, and can make an even greater impact.

I look forward to seeing more startups like Nium become local champions, and partner the government and other stakeholders to build an even stronger innovation ecosystem in Singapore.


In closing, let me reiterate my best wishes to Nium on the opening of your new headquarters. This is a new milestone in your growth journey, and we are glad that you will be deepening your presence in Singapore, in order to scale and do more in the region and the world. I hope that you will always remain anchored in harnessing your business to do good be it for consumers, for nascent startups, or your workforce. 

Thank you and I wish Nium all the very best.