Research and innovation in fintech in the technology and communications sector has declined in the last year, GlobalData data reveals.

The most recent figures show that the number of fintech related patent applications in the industry stood at 748 in the three months ending July – down from 1155 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to fintech followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 727 in the three months ending July 2021 to 582 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

Fintech is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

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The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Tencent Holdings Ltd was the top fintech innovator in the technology and communications sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in China, filed 95 fintech related patents in the three months ending July. That was down from 107 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the United States based International Business Machines Corp with 71 fintech patent applications, Japan based Toshiba Corp (62 applications), and South Korea based Coupang Inc (52 applications).

NCR Corp has recently ramped up R&D in fintech. It saw growth of 51.9% in related patent applications in the three months ending July compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the technology and communications sector.