Chinese banks are turning to quantum computing to help to combat fraud and invest money more efficiently, official media reports say. China Science Daily reported on Monday that the start-up Origin Quantum was working with the holding conglomerate Ping An Insurance to develop financial algorithms and hardware that could fight financial fraud. Chinese scientists’ quantum study hailed as a ‘breakthrough of the year’ It is the first time Chinese quantum computing hardware has been used for such purposes, according to the report. “Those quantum algorithms could identify fraudulent behaviour in the capital market. They give quick and accurate early warnings … to avoid large financial losses,” Dou Menghan, deputy director of Anhui Quantum Computing Engineering Research Centre, was quoted as saying. Researchers have developed a fraud detection model based on quantum neural network technology, a framework in quantum machine learning. The model can spot abnormal transfers and transactions and effectively identify complex money laundering transactions. “These applications have high requirements for computing power, which is the advantage of quantum computers. This cooperation will greatly improve the response speed of Ping An’s financial services,” Cui Xiaolin, head of Ping An’s Lambda Laboratory, told China Science Daily. Origin Quantum has also established a financial laboratory in partnership with CCB Finance, a subsidiary of China Construction Bank, and launched a quantum finance app for mobile phones. Another quantum computing firm, TuringQ, is working with Bank of China, China Merchants Bank and Bank of Communications on the use of quantum artificial intelligence algorithms in banking. The firm’s products include programs that can detect credit card fraud and optimise investment portfolios. “We cannot reveal the details of these algorithms, but they are faster and more accurate. These algorithms can be deployed on quantum computers as well as classical computers. Even on classical hardware, quantum algorithms are dozens of times more efficient,” Jin Xianmin, chief executive of TuringQ, said on Wednesday. “In the financial field, a little improvement in precision can bring great economic value.” However, he warned: “Quantum computing is not omnipotent, and the industry is still working hard to realise the combination of hardware and algorithms.” China’s first quantum computing industry alliance was established in 2018, and nearly 30 per cent of participants are financial companies. How far off are practical quantum computers? Maybe not long, says China expert A paper published in the journal China Credit Card last month said the technology could improve the modelling stability of classical neural network models to help banks identify credit risks, detect fraud and carry out precision marketing. “Quantum technology has a good application effect in commercial banks’ existing business scenario,” Wu Yongfei, chief information officer of Huaxia Bank and the author of the paper, wrote. Outside China, Multiverse Computing, a quantum financial algorithm company headquartered in Spain and Canada, launched its first product – named Singularity – in 2021. The product is an Excel add-on that helps analyse financial data and obtain results that can be directly sold to customers.