Tencent-backed online lender WeBank is touting the transformative impact of the blockchain and other technologies on the Chinese financial sector.
In an interview with 21st Century Business Herald WeBank CIO Ma Zhitao (马智涛) said that “banks are originally tech companies.” highlighting the importance of technology to improving banking operations.
Ma said that WeBank is now third in the the global banking sector when it comes to patent application numbers, while in 2019 it made a total of 217 blockchain patent applications, making it the fifth biggest applicant internationally.
Ma said that WeBank’s fintech-enabled focus on micro-loans has led to a dramatic reduction in key operating costs.
“WeBank’s account IT operation and maintenance costs are approximately 10% of other domestic banks, falling to 3.6 yuan per account last year,” said Ma.
“At present the big state-owned banks have IT operation and maintenance costs of roughly 20 yuan per account, and for small and medium-sized banks it’s generally over 100 yuan.
“For overseas banks the minimum IT operation and maintenance cost is approximately USD$14 per account, and in general around $100.”