Hosted by Lafferty and Consulting, China, in partnership with:
Lafferty Group's Retail Banking-Fintech conference in partnership with Tencent and Consulting China took place in Shenzhen on the 17th and 18th of May 2018 — and it was the perfect location for a series of discussions about the future of banking, the fast-paced rise of fintechs and the challenges the new financial ecosystem is confronting both green and experienced players with.
Shenzhen, a relatively new Chinese metropolis, mirrors the meteoric rise of influential technologies that are shaping perceptions about banking today. It is almost 40 years since it was transformed from a sleepy market town of some 30,000 people to a vibrant city of almost ten million, and its development has been hurtling at breakneck speed ever since.
On the opening morning, Jie Hie, the vice governor of Futian (one of seven districts that make up the city), framed Shenzhen as a fintech hub — one that looks up to the Silicon Valley as a role model — and expounded on the work that is being done there to promote tech innovation in the financial industry.
Many speakers echoed Mr Hie's thoughts — and there was little surprise that Tencent (and its flagship product, WeChat) continually cropped up as the stand-out example of how China, and Shenzhen, has been able to marry trail-blazing experimentation with grandiose success. Both have been the envy of many bankers in China in recent years, but as one person said on the second day: "The big Chinese banks appreciate what Tencent is doing, and admires the way it has grown over the years."
Forum attendees even took a tour of Tencent's headquarters which really put the growth of the company into context. The narrative of over one billion active WeChat users from month-to-month, combined with its astonishing spurt of growth that has seen it battle with Alibaba in a fierce battle for control over the Chinese payments market certainly catch the eye.
If Tencent dominated discussion from an eastern point of view, then Open Banking and open APIs were the hard-to-ignore topics from a western perspective.
As many as six speakers focused heavily on the idea of banks opening up to fintechs, collaborating with them and learning how to make the most of working together.
BNP's head of open innovation and start-ups co-operation, Laurent Herbillon, said that banks need to be "aware of the tech hype while at the same time knowing how to leverage it." HSBC London's head of Open Banking delivery, Georgios Miltiadous also said that banks "should consider the threat of fintechs everyday."
Other interesting topics across the two-day event included: AI as an enabler, not a product; the A,B,C,Ds of new banking (AI, Blockchain, Cloud Computing, Big Data); reinventing the customer journey as well as how data can be a useful tool rather than a hindrance for banks to store.
Lafferty Group's next International Retail Banking-Fintech Conference, in association with ClearBank, takes place 19-20 September — where similar topics will be discussed.
Watch the conference video stream:
Lafferty's next Retail Banking-Fintech Conference will take place in London on 19-20 September, 2018.
Consulting has been a leading provider of advanced knowledge services in retail banking in China since 2002. Its professional contributors provide in-depth industry analysis, trend insights, and case studies to C-level executives in 70 percent of China's banks. In 2016 Consulting established a retail banking union, UWP, with a membership of 150 community and regional banks in China. The Union offers a platform for collaboration, sharing and synergistic value creation among its member banks. To find out more, please visit: retailbanking.com.cn.
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