Programme eyes new solutions in Asia-Pacific banking from start-ups

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 September, 2014, 4:21am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 September, 2014, 4:21am

Eight start-ups, including companies from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, are set to introduce innovative technologies for the Asia-Pacific banking sector under a programme organised by Accenture and backed by 10 major financial institutions.

Quantum computing applications for banking, mobile data mining for credit evaluation, and identity authentication for both online and mobile transactions are among the technologies selected for the inaugural staging in Hong Kong of FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific, an "accelerator" programme for start-up financial technology companies.

This year's participants are QxBranch, Beijing Wecash Wonder Technology, iDGate, Advanced Merchant Payments, FinSuite, I Think Security, and Jocata Financial Advisory & Technology Services.

"The solutions proposed by the 2014 lab applicants selected help provide better data security, analysis and risk assessments to assist financial institutions across the Asia-Pacific in improving the quality of service for customers," said Sushil Saluja, the senior managing director of Accenture's Asia-Pacific financial services practice.

Facing more pressure to boost growth and slash costs, large banks are now seeking to engage with promising ventures that offer technologies specifically designed for their industry. Highly sought-after solutions include analytics, mobile, risk management, payment, security, compliance, social media and collaboration technologies.

"Hong Kong's role as a regional hub for the banking industry and the gateway for China investment made it an ideal location for our Asia-Pacific lab," Saluja said.

The start-ups selected to take part in the lab will be mentored for 12 weeks by leading executives from financial services firms through a series of panel discussions, workshops, leadership coaching and networking opportunities. These companies will get work space at Cyberport and housing via online lodging deals provider Airbnb.

At the end of the programme in December, the entrepreneurs will present their concepts to potential investors and financial industry executives.

"The increasing role of technology in financial services, particularly in insurance, is driving the kind of cutting-edge services that our customers in China demand," said Richard Lee, head of the strategic consulting department of Ping An Technology, said.

Global investment in financial technology ventures more than tripled to US$2.97 billion last year from US$928 million in 2008, according to a recent report by Accenture.

In the same period, investments in Asia-Pacific ventures grew nearly fourfold to US$104 million last year.