Shanghai, 6 Apr 2017 – The FinTech sector in China has been developing rapidly and is now the world leader according to several key metrics. According to the PwC Global FinTech Survey China Summary 2017, the three main areas to be disrupted by FinTech in China over the next five years will be consumer banking, investment & wealth management, and fund transfers & payments. E-retailers, large technology companies and financial institutions will be the biggest sources of disruption.
As FinTech increases in prominence, the real economy is adapting to market-based, intelligent and personalized business and lifestyle models, and likewise the financial service model is set to transform. As these developments take shape “products and services”, “user scenario” and “intelligent terminals” will become three particularly notable factors, while technology will serve as a crucial pillar underpinning the new financial model.
These findings stem from the second PwC Global FinTech Survey, which summarises the results from Chinese respondents for the first time. The survey includes feedback from more than 1,300 respondents globally, including 125 respondents from China.
PwC China FinTech service partner Chun Yin Cheung said, “China is a world leader for FinTech when it comes to quality and quantity, the implementation of data analytics, artificial intelligence and blockchain. We believe FinTech will continue to grow rapidly here, in an environment conducive to innovation encouraged by government, and with increasing partnerships between Chinese financial institutions and FinTech companies.”
In terms of new opportunities arising from FinTech, survey respondents identified three key areas that hold substantial future potential. These span customers, products & services and channels. With regard to customers, FinTech will make it possible for financial service providers to tap currently underserved groups. Updates to products & services will continue to mature as financial institutions shift away from unsophisticated, standardised approaches and move to tailored and contextualised offerings. New opportunities through channels will take shape as mobile use moves to the centre stage, superseding a physical presence. Bricks and mortar structures, such as branch networks, though currently still the main service channel, will diminish over the next five years. Over the same period, mobile will become increasingly significant according to respondents’ feedback.
FinTech also brings new challenges to the financial industry. There is a ‘Winners-take-all’ model in the internet & technology sector and whether the model fits well with the financial sector is still yet to be seen. Regulation, which can act as a double-edge sword, also needs to be appropriately evaluated. Continuous regulation is essential for an optimised approach, enabling timely updates that strike a balance between encouraging innovation and controlling financial risks. Also of note, in the competitive FinTech scenario, financial institutions will face challenges in cultivating an inter-disciplinary talent pool for the future.
The survey showed that the majority of Chinese financial institutions intend to increase their partnerships with FinTech companies over the next three to five years in order to keep up with market changes. For these partnerships to flourish, several challenges need to be addressed, and of which IT security and regulatory uncertainty are two of the most significant. Financial institutions also rank IT compatibility as a major concern, while FinTech companies see more problems arising from differences in business models. According to respondents, there is enthusiasm to form partnerships, however, companies will need to work together closely to ensure success.
James Chang, PwC China financial services consulting leader, concluded, “Technology is developing so quickly and failing to keep up with the market will lead to revenue and customer loss. Therefore, partnership is becoming increasingly important, and in this scenario, savvy financial institutions will be examining various collaborative models with FinTech companies. The innovative technologies that have the greatest potential to impact financial services in the future are artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and blockchain. Looking ahead, the financial institutions which are able to grasp the emerging technologies most quickly while implementing supporting skill sets, will have a major advantage over their competition.”
About the Global Fintech China Summary
PwC’s Global Fintech Survey China Summary 2017 features results from More than 1,300 respondents globally, representing Heads of Innovation, CIOs and top management involved in digital and technological transformation across the FS industry from 71 different countries and territories around the world. The China summary focuses on the 125 respondents from China, accounting for 10% of the total sample.