Fintech

StanChart ramps up its Hong Kong digital strategy with ‘eXellerator’ lab

Lender opened its first such lab in Singapore two years ago, and claims to have so far generated 500 fintech ideas, 27 proof of concepts, and conceived five major client solutions

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 April, 2018, 9:47am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 April, 2018, 10:50am

Standard Chartered has unveiled what it’s calling a financial technology (fintech) innovation lab to develop more digital banking products for retail and institutional clients.

The 10,000 square foot facility, called “eXellerator”, in the Kwun Tong district of Hong Kong will focus on bringing its staff, customers, and technology partners closer together, said officials.

Its main activities will be linked to artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, and “Banking Made Easy” – one of the seven cornerstone “smart banking” initiatives announced by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) in September – to promote more digital online-based finance and wealth management offerings.

The UK-based, but Asia-focused, StanChart opened its first such lab in Singapore two years ago, and claims to have so far generated 500 fintech ideas, 27 proof of concepts, and conceived five major client solutions.

From blockchain and AI, to application programming interface (API) – coding that allows third party service providers to connect and exchange data with customers across a network of banks – StanChart officials said the biggest question remains how to deploy technological tools to benefit its customers, adding the purpose of the lab is to find out which products are best using which technology.

Michael Gorriz, its group chief information officer, said: “We want to establish a ‘thinking process’ in the eXellerator.”

Among the HKMA’s other “smart banking” initiatives is the “Faster Payment System” expected to be rolled out in September, which will provide infrastructure to connect retail customers with businesses, banks and non-bank payment service providers.

“Hong Kong has decided to invite all local market players to participate. It is a superior service for all customers and therefore we are in full support,” Gorritz added. “So we will definitely be in the first round of banks to do it.”

US giant Citibank was the first in Hong Kong to deploy an open API tool for users, after partnering with Hong Kong online shopping platform HKTVmall last month to allow cardholders to access reward points when shopping online or by mobile. 

Angel Ng, Citibank’s Hong Kong consumer business manager, said implementing an open API architecture in the city is vital to the continued modernisation of the local banking sector.

“More banks working on this mutual business direction can accelerate development of an open banking platform and help ensure customer protection,” Ng said. 

“But the overall pace of adoption will depend on the priorities and strategies of our peers.”

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