ICBC Touts Transition Towards Smart Banking Via Use of Blockchains, AI and Big Data

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The world’s biggest lender says it is endeavouring to shift towards a “smart banking” model via the adoption of a range of new technologies, including big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchains, quantum communication and the internet of things.

In a speech delivered at the 2nd Fintech and Financial Security Summit (第二届金融科技与金融安全峰会) held in Beijing, Zhang Yan (张艳), vice-head of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s (ICBC) Information Technology Department, outlined a range of technological measures that the bank is deploying in response a rapidly changing business environment.

“In order to adapt to new, changing conditions, ICBC is in the process of vigorously advancing a transition towards smart banking.

“ICBC is actively applying new technologies to achieve an integration with banking operations and create fintech products.

“Firstly, in terms of the application of big data technology, ICBC currently has a vast volume of data, reaching several hundred P in scale.

“We have established the ICBC big data cloud, for the unified management of all operational data, including structured and non-structured data.

“Big data has already been comprehensively applied to customer services, product sales, risk control, and operations management.

“Second is cloud computing – ICBC has already established a comprehensive cloud computing framework and platform, and we have achieved operations applications at the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) level and Platform as a Service (PaaS) level, with the main operations system already shifted to a cloud platform.

“At the same time, in terms of joint cloud services, we are now actively establishing a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud, which not only has ICBC’s financial services, but can also be integrated with other sectors to achieve expansion into a greater range of application arenas.

“Third is artificial intelligence, with ICBC launching AI investment consulting, which makes use of AI technology to provide wealth management and investment services for the personalised needs of clients.

“AI is also widely employed at customer centres and used for many customer service responses. At bank branches facial recognition technology is used for the verification of customer identity, and ATM’s use facial recognition technology for cash withdrawals, while we have achieved excellent results in areas such as voice recognition applications.

“Fourthly, we have implemented many applications in the area of blockchains. For example we cooperated with Guizhou province in the use of blockchain technology to manage poverty alleviation funds.

“Because of the distributed nature and information sharing capacity of blockchains, each poverty alleviation fund is open and transparent, and its management procedures can be traced.

“In addition to this, our bank has cooperated with the Xiong’an municipal government on blockchain technology, and actively participated in the creation of an ecological Xiong’an.

“Fifth, ICBC is a pioneer in the financial sector when it comes to quantum communications, using quantum communications to achieve data transfer between Beijing and Shanghai.

“Sixth, in the area of internet of things applications, our bank has established an IoT platform, used IoT technology to achieve tracking of lending collateral, as well as tracking of machines.”

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