Our CEO, Evelyn Hunter, recently had the privilege of addressing an audience of 600 Retail Bankers from 200 commercial Banks at a conference in Hangzhou China, themed Retail Banking Channel Innovation – and hosted by RBA’s Partner in China, Consulting Ltd. This partnership will see the RBA jointly deliver the Certified Retail Banking qualification to Retail Bankers in China from at least 200 city commercial banks. Consulting provides retail banking training services to retail banks across all 34 provinces in China, serving 50,000 retail banking employees every year and an amazing 1,000, 0000 retail banking employees over the last 15 years.
The conference highlighted the fact that while London and Silicon Valley, position themselves as FinTech hubs, China has leapfrogged to become a centre of global FinTech innovation and adoption – across multiple hubs such as Hangzhou, which is home to the Alibaba Group and its related company Ant Financial Services Group. As banks and financial services institutions in the West look at ways to incrementally innovate, China’s technology leaders are revolutionising many aspects of financial services.
Underpinning China’s FinTech dominance are leading domestic technology companies such as Alibaba, who are setting out to own the entire customer journeys and consumption ecosystems. ‘Platform effects’ enable them to capture data and use it to offer ever more services with significantly better and more comprehensive customer experiences than traditional financial services players. Their collaborative relationships with Chinese corporates and start-ups are helping to fuel this rapid innovation and expansion. If FinTech in the West has reached a tipping point, China has clearly moved beyond the point of disruption.
While there are lessons to be learned from the rise of FinTech in China – including from the response of regulators and incumbents – not all products and services can be replicated in the West. From an international perspective, the key question is whether these powerful domestic Chinese FinTech players will be able to replicate their success in a uniquely protected domestic market, abroad. Will we see a convergence of closed loop networks with mobile apps and national switches via interoperability – or international rivalries?
One thing is sure – exciting times lie ahead and the future is bright for internationally qualified Certified Retail Bankers.