U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are meeting in California this week. With that in mind, Finovate Global turns to China for the latest fintech news from the world’s second most populous country.
For context, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) released its Fintech Development Plan for 2022-2025 almost two years ago. In its analysis of the PBOC’s Plan, China Briefing noted that the country had “much to gain” from innovation in fintech and financial services. In large part this was because of China’s “insufficient supply of inclusive finance, especially in rural areas.” The country reached a consumer fintech adoption rate of 87% in 2019. And, again, further fintech adoption in rural areas could cause this rate to quickly climb even higher.
What obstacles confront China’s fintech sector? China Briefing suggests that “unbalanced application of intelligent technology” is among the issues to be resolved – or at least better managed. The report references the so-called “Matthew Effect” in which stronger positions become stronger and weaker positions become weaker to describe the one of China’s bigger challenges when it comes to innovation in financial services.
Read the report from China Briefing to learn more about how China plans to “leapfrog improvement of the fintech sector”.
China’s JD.com launched its enhanced authentication solution for imported goods in the region, JD Smart Check. The new process is part of the company’s cross-border e-commerce platform, JD Worldwide.
JD Smart Check has three main focuses: improving quality inspections for cosmetic products, leveraging blockchain technology to enhance anti-counterfeiting activity, and providing on-demand authenticity inspections for products shipped by direct mail. New X-ray fluorescence analysis to provides fast, on-site assessment of cosmetics and personal care products at JD’s logistic centers. With regards to anti-counterfeiting efforts, the company leverages serialized tracking codes, supply chain monitoring, and product inspection videos to ensure accurate scrutiny of inventories. Lastly, JD Worldwide will be able to better serve direct mail shoppers by adding reports from authoritative centers to its product inspection services.
China’s largest retailer by revenue, JD.com serves nearly 600 million customers. The company operates the largest fulfillment infrastructure for any Chinese e-commerce firm.
Ant Group has forged a partnership with Payments Network Malaysia (PayNet). The partnership will enable travelers from eight nations – representing eight different supported digital wallets – to use PayNet’s DuitNow QR in Malaysia.
The DuitNow QR network consists of more than 1.8 million merchant touchpoints throughout Malaysia. The eight supported wallets are Alipay (China), AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR), HelloMoney by AUB (Philippines), Hipay (Mongolia), MPay (Macau SAR), Naver Pay (Japan), Toss Pay (South Korea) and True Money (Thailand). Group CEO of PayNet Farhan Ahmad said that the cross-border digital payments collaboration with Ant Group signified “a new Silk Road emerging” that will be “powered by cross-border payment functionality.”
The Ant Group/PayNet partnership comes as a recent report commissioned by Alipay indicates that increases in average consumer spending over the past few years will help accelerate intra-Asia cross-border travel and payments. The companies noted that the partnership extends “beyond connectivity” to include joint marketing efforts that will boost merchant and brand visibility in digital wallets.
Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.
Central and Southern Asia
- Is India’s fintech industry suffering from “overindulgence”?
- Pakistan-based Innovative Pvt Limited won the Gold Award from the Pakistan IT Industry Association for its iEngage banking solution.
- India’s PhonePe surpassed 500 million lifetime registered users on its platform.
Latin America and the Caribbean
- Mexico-based SME lending platform Creze raised $5.7 million in funding from BBVA Spark.
- Ecuador’s Banco Pichincha established prepaid and debit card issuing and processing courtesy of Euronet’s SaaS payments platform Ren.
- Next generation payments company Liquido secured its payment institution license from Brazil’s central bank.
- Singaporean SME lender Funding Societies raised $7.5 million in debt funding from Norfund.
- Oh Se-hoon, mayor of Seoul, pledged to invest $3.7 billion (five trillion won) to help turn the city into a global fintech powerhouse.
- MIT Technology Review asked and answered the question of why Hong Kong is “bullish on crypto.”
- TechCrunch profiled Kenyan fintech FlexPay.
- African payments technology company Flutterwave announced its entry into the Malawi market.
- Nairametrics looked at the impact of hacking on Nigeria’s fintech industry.
Central and Eastern Europe
- Berlin-based insurtech Wefox secured $55 million in funding.
- Romania’s Libra Internet Bank announced a partnership with Temenos.
- Germany’s IDnow forged a partnership with IATA.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Egyptian fintech Fawry announced a collaboration with MoneyHash.
- UAE-based digital bank Liv launched a new, fee-free personal loan product.
- Middle East-based payments company Magnati announced a collaboration with TerraPay.