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2016 Beijing Finance Expo: Chinese banks going high-tech

Reporter: Luo Rui 丨 CCTV.com

10-28-2016 16:19 BJT

Traditional banks in China have shifted into high gear to compete with the technology firms that are also vying for a chunk of the country's financial markets. That's the latest trend  that our reporter noticed at the 2016 Beijing Finance Expo. 

Technology firms are giving Chinese banks a run for their money by expanding online financial platforms. But the banks still have a trick or two up their sleeves. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, for one, plans to use Virtual Reality to improve users' experiences.

"ICBC will soon introduce VR for clients to choose precious metals. We used to put imitations on display but they are expensive and they can't provide the same user experience as VR does. We will also sell cars in a VR platform, which we were able to do because of limited space. " Zhang Shuli, deputy director of ICBC Beijing Branch said.

A retinal scanning payment program has drawn many eyes at the expo. The program's provider -- China Minsheng Bank -- says the bank is the first to introduce retina scanning in smart phone payments.

More and more banks have caught up with the latest technological innovations as competition over online payments becomes fiercer. Smart phone makers Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi all launched payment systems in China this year. At the same time, third-party payment platforms saw their transactions reach 9.3 trillion yuan in China in the second quarter. That was up 275 percent from 2015.

The rise of mobile payment platforms like WeChat Wallet and Apple Pay has pushed traditional banks in making technology upgrades to win clients and boost efficiency.

China Construction Bank has already put more than 30 thousand smart banking terminals into its branches to replace human tellers.
"These smart terminals are aimed to serve customers without access to online or mobile banking, such as the elderlies. It on average saves our branch staff five to six minute per client. " Feng Wei, general manager of CCB Beijing Branch said.

But is it enough to compete with the tech giants in a soon-to-come online financial era?

"It won't impact banks' profit because people's accounts are still with the banks, and they still trust banks more in managing their wealth and make loans. Banks and tech firms are in a competitive and cooperative relationship. The thrive of technology firm has also bolstered businesses of the banks. " Feng Wei said.
Whether it is a win-win or an industry reshuffle, the answer will not take too long to review.

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