Best retail bank for innovation in technology 2019
China Merchants Bank
China Merchants Bank is widely recognized as a technology leader in China’s banking sector. This award is to recognize the remarkable progress the bank has made to gain a foothold in China’s mobile payment market, which is dominated by domestic technology firms.
With the rapid development of internet technologies and the increasing use of smart phones, technology companies have emerged to snatch market share from commercial banks for payment services. This is especially true in China, where Alibaba and Tencent together controlled more than 92% of the local mobile payment market in 2018.
In 2016, CMB made a bid to break that duopoly by launching its ‘All in one net’ mobile payment system, which enables customers of all participating banks to make payments through their smart phones. The system also deploys big data analysis and cloud computing in marketing and fraud prevention.
Over the next two years, CMB steadily widened the range of uses of ‘All in one net’ to include daily payments. In 2018, the system’s coverage was expanded to include public transport, car parking, hailing rides and courier services.
Led by Zhang Dong, president of its retail banking division, CMB became the first Chinese bank to introduce a pilot programme in June 2018 to allow smart phone users to make payments simply through facial recognition. Under the programme, customers only need to face cameras on cashier desks and key in their mobile phone numbers to complete payment.
Since its launch, CMB’s “All in One Net” system has kept winning customers, thanks to the convenience and security it provides for mobile payment. By the end of 2018, the number of users topped 15 million, more than double the number a year earlier. The income generated by the system also increased: for the first 11 months of 2018, it brought in Rmb6.8 million ($1 million) in net income, up from about Rmb3.9 million booked for 2017.