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Australia seeks to become regional FinTech hub

SYDNEY, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government is seeking to become a financial technology hub in Asia-Pacific region through the removal of regulatory barriers and other mechanisms to drag the economy away from mining-led growth.

Treasurer Scott Morrison announced Monday a "regulatory sandbox" for the positive disruption of the nation's financial services sector. The new measures include ensuring concessional tax treatment for venture capital firms to invest in financial technology start-ups, removing tax on digital currencies such as BitCoin and commissioning an inquiry to outline options to increase data availability to facilitate new products.

Australia's financial services sector are worth 140 billion Australian dollars (106.21 billion U.S. dollars) as services exports increase through demand from Asia's emerging middle class. The cumulative service sector accounts for 20 percent of Australia's exports, but of that, only 5 percent is from financial services.

"Growing Australia's FinTech capabilities will position Australia to develop export markets for our financial services technology in the transition economies of our major trading partners," Morrison said, adding "FinTech... has the power to transform our economy."

Asia is fast becoming the center of the global technology revolution after investors poured 4.5 billion U.S. dollars into financial start-ups in 2015, a near four-fold increase on 2014 via mobile telecommunications. Mobile technology has allowed Asian consumers to purchase everything from insurance to every-day products.

FinTech is one of the fastest growing sectors in global financial services industry, with total investments in peer-to-peer lenders, payment services companies and internet insurers rising 60 percent to 19.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2015.

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