The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has published a new three-year fintech masterplan (the “plan”) for 2019-2022.
The Plan defines fintech as “technology-driven financial innovation”. It lists the basic principles as “Innovating while upholding the right, safe and controllable, reaching out to the masses and addressing the livelihoods, open and win-win”.
The Plan also calls for strengthening of finance and technology, and the public’s satisfaction to digital, internet-based, and smart financial products and services. It hopes to push the fintech development in China to be world-leading, and realise the following: “advanced and controllable applications, improved service levels, high-risk control levels, good supervisory capabilities, good support systems and overall healthy growth of the industry”.
The six important tasks specified in the Plan include:
- Improved overall strategic planning, including the trends, systems and talent base.
- Improved applications to drive fintech to improve the healthy development of the financial industry as a whole
- Using fintech to improve products, channels and reduce costs for financing services, and better serve the general public as well as businesses.
- Improved risk control capabilities and cross-sector coordination to protect information and control risks.
- Strengthened financial technology supervision, with a complete system of basic rules; accelerated rulemaking, supervisory data analysis and evaluation; improved professionalism, consistency and depth of financial supervision.
- Strengthened ecosystem of fintech industry, using technology, legislation, credit services, standardisation and consumer protection to support the healthy development of the fintech industry.
Fintech in China tends to evolve fast and often out of control, prompting the regulators to come in quickly. Examples include the swift ICO ban as well as the notice limiting insuretch.
Chinese fintech development is also spilling over, as we saw in Indonesia over the last two years.
In some other sectors, it could take the regulatory a lot of time to figure out the exact extent of the issue and figure out plans to regulate. One example is P2P and associated online cash loans, after a few rounds of mass collapses now the rule is being gradually tightened.
The regulators are also wary of the evolution of the shadow banking system especially in the coastal areas where entrepreneurship is prevalent and credit access through official means is not always easy.
Although a practical (and very important) consideration is the ongoing trade war – to keep the economic growth, it is essential to balance the risks as well as the access to credit, which fuels the GDP.
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