Editorial

Becoming the epicentre of digital finance

By Foo Boon Ping

China has outpaced other developing and developed nations to position itself as a leader in the digital finance marketplace, tour which was held in conjunction with the Future of Finance Summit 2018 brought delegates to key financial and “big technology” institutions in the country

  • Ant Financial is dedicated to creating an open ecosystem and provides inclusive financial services to small and micro enterprises, and individual consumers
  • Beijing Zhongguancun Software Park Incubator has been the cradle for the transfer of technological innovations and development of high-technology enterprise
  • The Bank of Beijing has been dedicated to serve the local economy and SMEs since its establishment, by promoting inclusive finance and other innovative financial services in rural areas

Ant Financial

Ant Financial is dedicated to creating an open ecosystem, enabling financial institutions and partners to make rapid progress towards “Internet+” goals through its “Internet Booster Plan”. It also provides inclusive financial services to small and micro enterprises, and individual consumers. Relying on internet mobile, big data and cloud computing, their businesses include payment, wealth management, credit reporting, private bank and cloud computing. We will learn about innovation in mobile finance and how they are able to make the market switch to Alipay.

Delegates were briefed on the three pillars of Ant Financial corporate and supporting technology strategy; which revolve around Inclusive Finance – designing and delivering financial services for everyone, to build its technology infrastructure on BASIC – Blockchain, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Security, IOT, Cloud Computing, and Globalisation –2018 will mark the year when Alibaba will serve one billion people around the globe.

China Construction Bank’s Beijing Product Innovation Lab

China Construction Bank (CCB) has opened eight innovation labs all around China since the first one established eight years ago in Beijing. The CCB lab in Beijing is committed to offer global wealth management and integrated service to enterprises. Delegates gained insight into the innovation strategy and the latest results in AI analytics conducted at the lab, and were briefed by Wang Xiayan, vice general manager of Product Innovation and Management Department at CCB.

China Construction Bank’s

Smart Bank

China Construction Bank has built smart bank branches in all the major cities in China since 2013, offering services through simplified smart teller machines, smart robot costumer service launched on the web and mobile phone devices, as well as facial recognition (FR), artificial intelligent (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to ramp up its appeal to tech-savvy customers and trim staff costs.

Hema Supermarket

Launched in March 2015, the “New Retail”-driven supermarket is the purest manifestation of Alibaba’s ambitions to marry online with offline, offering consumers a “more efficient and flexible” shopping experience. Hema is a chain of cashless supermarkets that offer a wide selection of fresh foods, including seafood that shoppers can select and send to the kitchen to be cooked before the end of their trip. Shoppers can also order groceries online for delivery (within 3 kilometres) in under 30 minutes. Customers use their smartphones to shop and pay for their groceries at Hema.

Hema is central to Alipay’s digital conversion and customer engagement strategy as customers can only pay using the Alipay App. Supermarket and “wet” markets are central to Chinese communities and puts Alibaba at the centre of their customer lifestyle. It is the ultimate strategy to create “Trust” and be at the heart of their customers lives.

Today, there are 25 Hema stores in seven Chinese cities, including 14 in Shanghai, five in Beijing, two in Ningpo, and one each in Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Suzhou, and Guiyang.

Huawei

Huawei has placed heavy priority on research and development (R&D) to remain competitive, investing around $6.4 billion. The company employs 76,000 staff its 21 R&D institutes around the world. Huawei has also won the gold medal for new technologies and products at the World Internet of Things Exposition in November 2016 with their NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) solution. The tour to its Beijing innovation experience centre, the largest in China, showcases it financial services technology, with its latest high-performance cloud servers.

China’s Silicon Valley – Beijing Zhongguancun Software Park

Beijing Zhongguancun Software Park Incubator was established in the central of Zhongguancun Science Park, the first at a state level, has been the cradle for the transfer of technological innovations and development of high-technology enterprise. An area, which in recent decades, has become a magnet for the young, tech-savvy crowd of twenty- and thirty-somethings, and the nation’s biggest internet players.

The park was founded in August 2000 with initial capital of 500 million RMB ($62.5 million). It now houses domestic and international software companies like Lenovo, Didi Chuxing, IBM, Sina, Tencent and Netease on its campus.

Baidu Finance

Baidu Inc. has raised more than $1.9 billion for its newly spun-off financial services division with TPG, Carlyle Group and other investors, creating one of China’s best-funded fintech companies. Like the other tech players, Baidu announced plans to spin off the unit in July 2018, to help it obtain domestic financial services licenses and reduce drag on the parent company.

As finance is one of the most promising areas for the commercialisation of artificial intelligence, Baidu Finance is focusing on using Baidu’s technical strength and data assets to create a set of AI financial technology.

Zhu Baifan, the general manager of FSG Strategic Cooperation Department showed delegates how they were leveraging its big data, machine learning and AI to help the major local banks like China Agriculture bank and China Citic Bank provide all-in AI fintech solutions and better serve their customers.

Bank of Beijing – Inclusive Finance Station

Delegates visited a rural branch of Bank of Beijing and was briefed by its head of retail banking Li Jianying. The Bank of Beijing has been dedicated to serve the local economy and SMEs since its establishment, by promoting inclusive finance and other innovative financial services in rural areas. The Bank of Beijing is a city commercial bank licensed to operate in Beijing and surrounding provinces and is ranked among the world’s top 100 banks for three consecutive years, possessing reputed brand image among small and medium sized commercial banks.

Bank of Beijing is an excellent example of a company which understands the needs of its customers – the farmers on the outskirts of Beijing now have a platform to get access to harvesting equipment, consumption-based lending facilities via the data being shared from their Xiaomi smartphone but also can connect with other farmers for support and advice. 

“Hema is central to Alipay’s digital conversion and customer engagement strategy as customers can only pay using the Alipay App”



Keywords: Fintech, Digital Finance, AI, Facial Recognition, Virtual Reality
Institution: Ant Financial, China Construction Bank, Hema Supermarket, Alibaba, Huawei, Baidu, Bank Of Beijing, Alipay, Lenovo, Didi Chuxing, IBM, Sina, Tencent, Netease, China Agriculture Bank, China Citic Bank, Xiaomi
Country: China
Region: East Asia
Guest: Wang Xiayan, Zhu Baifan, Li Jianying
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