Future of fintech discussed at Ant Group conference amid China-US tensions
Published: Sep 25, 2020 12:06 AM

Ant Group Photo:VCG

In China, mobile payment, a form of financial technology (fintech), has narrowed the financial service gap between the east and the west of the country by 15 percent, said Hu Xiaoming, CEO of Ant Group, at the INCLUSION Fintech Conference in Shanghai on Thursday.

The remarks came after the Chinese fintech giant moved closer to being traded in the mainland stock market, following regulatory approval for an IPO on the STAR Market in Shanghai.

Hu said that the most important thing after listing is to invest in technology and revealed the company would release Trusple, a new platform based on its blockchain technology on Friday. 

“We will further enhance our innovation capabilities, continue to increase investment in the fields of blockchain, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, security and risk control, and lay the technical foundations for long-term development,” said Hu.

The conference, which was organized by Ant Group, brought together notable speakers to inspire ideas on how financial technology can help propel inclusive and sustainable development in the global economy.

The investment of Ant Group in technology comes as the US tech and finance battle with China continues. 

In the field of integration of technology with finance, the biggest changes are being seen in China, Bengt Holmstr?m, 2016 Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, pointed out at the conference, adding that the advantages of using mobile phones as a way of dealing with financing and getting access to credit are not what’s “happening in the US.”

“Alibaba, Tencent and Pinduoduo… there’s a whole host of companies that are fiercely competitive, actually more competitive than corresponding partners in the US or Europe,” he said.

Amid escalating tensions with the US, the outlook in the fintech arena is hard to predict, but China may enjoy an advantage as it accelerates the pace of opening-up, Jixun Foo, managing partner of GGV Capital and a delegate at the conference, told the Global times.

“Although China started relatively late in the field of fintech, the country is accelerating its pace in the area. More financial products and technology are expected to be injected into this industry,” Foo said.

The need for global cooperation on fintech and its potential to revive the coronavirus-hit economy was also addressed. 

“Fintech has made contactless and cashless transactions very popular and very useful. It can make the recovery fairer, speedier, and smarter… if countries provide the right support,” Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, said in a video sent to the conference.

UN Under-Secretary-General and Administrator of the UNDP Achim Steiner also pointed out in a video link that it is time for nations to seize upon renewed global solidarity to fully harness the power of digital finance.