Best Bank for Digital in the Greater Bay Area 2022
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Best Bank for Digital in the Greater Bay Area 2022

Ping An Bank

Ping An Bank is a classic Chinese digital banking success story. It is customer-centric, innovative, opportunistic and a leader in the digital space in the Greater Bay Area.

It was ahead of most of its peers in focusing on digital, and it made technology a priority as far back as 2016. Thanks to that focus on creating an intelligent bank, the turnaround at the firm has been impressive.

Retail operating income was Rmb98.2 billion ($14.7 billion) in 2021, 8.4% higher year on year, while retail net profit was Rmb21.5 billion, up 17.3%. Since 2016, those operating income and net profit measures have increased threefold and twofold respectively.

The number of retail customers at Ping An rose 10.3% in 2021 to 118.2 million, while the number of wealthy customers rose 17.7% to surpass one million. The number of private banking customers jumped 21.6% year on year, to 70,000, while total assets under management hit Rmb3.2 trillion last year, up 21.3%.

Much of that growth is due to Ping An’s emphasis on its digital services and on its operations in the Greater Bay Area. Ping An Bank is a joint-stock commercial bank, headquartered in Shenzhen, the technology hub that is an integral part of the GBA.

Ping An says it has about 8,000 people working on IT, including in areas such as research and development, banking technology, innovation and growth, promoting data integration, building a mobile bank and improving the firm’s offerings. Within transaction banking, more than 1,000 people focus on technology.

The firm’s Ping An Pocket Bank app is a frontrunner in the industry, offering the full suite of banking services to retail clients. It has an average of 50 million monthly active users.

Artificial intelligence use in the GBA has been given a boost too: customer-service robots field queries from clients efficiently, with a problem-solving rate of over 90%.

The bank has also transformed the way it analyzes clients’ credentials, making the process more automated to rapidly approve financing where needed.

As for supply-chain services, Ping An has endeavoured to digitalize functionality to help reduce expensive financing for small and medium-sized enterprises and instead provide them with efficient and convenient online options.

It was the first bank in mainland China to launch a mobile version of supply-chain financial services for clients. By November 2021, the annual cumulative number of transactions had reached 34,000, worth Rmb22.24 billion in total. GBA clients accounted for more than 90%.

The bank deploys internet of things (IoT) devices to gather data on economic operations, helping it to improve information flow, and then uses big data and cloud computing for customer credit verification and support. Ping An has over 1,200 IoT devices in play, and offered financing of Rmb370 billion using this technology.

Branches are still important, of course. Ping An has offshore branches in numerous parts of the GBA, as well as in free-trade zones, to cater to clients. This physical presence enables it to complement its online features – making it a win-win for GBA clients.

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