Alibaba’s Ant Financial Helps Traditional Bank with Fintech Overhaul

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Ant Financial, the payments vehicle of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has entered a deal with a Chinese commercial bank to help upgrade its digital capabilities.

Ant Financial announced on Wednesday that it has signed a strategic co-operative agreement with Beijing-based China Everbright Bank and its fintech affiliate Everbright Technology for the sharing and development of fintech capabilities.

The agreement will see Ant Financial help China Everbright to develop cloud computing, online finance, mobile payment, artificial intelligence, smart risk management and biometric verification systems.

Under the agreement the three parties will also establish an innovation lab for the development of new fintech applications.

China’s banking sector is putting hefty wagers on the promise of fintech, with all five of the big state-owned lenders entering partnerships with leading tech firms by 2017.

“For banks, self-driven innovation and collaboration with technology majors will go parallel,” said He Fei, senior researcher at the Bank of Communications in Shanghai to the South China Morning Post. “The cooperation is well set to continue.”

“Fintech is becoming core competence for financial institutions in the pursuit of transformation and innovation,” said a spokesperson from China Everbright.

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