China Must Exercise Greater Caution in Choosing Its Fintech Future: Zhou Xiaochuan

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The former head of the Chinese central bank has called for the exercise of greater prudence and scrutiny in the decisions it makes regarding the deployment of emerging fintech innovations.

Zhou Xiaochuan (周小川), former governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and current head of the China Financial Forum, said that while the growth of fintech would bring opportunities for financial inclusion, China still needs to “comprehensively and cautiously select and access technological paths.”

“It is especially important to focus on service of the real economy and achieving financial inclusion effects,” said Zhou during the keynote speech delivered at the “China Socially Responsible Investment Summit” (中国社会责任投资高峰论坛) held in Shanghai on 16 July.

“When selecting technological paths we need to think clearly – it’s not the case that just because a term is newer it’s better.”

Zhou warned in particular of perils in relation to big data and user privacy, and the ability of savvy fraudsters to exploit fintech innovations to fleece consumers.

“During the development of operations based on big data, the conflict between data usage and privacy protection has become increasingly intense…there have been cases where the private information of consumers has been used for fraud, and this comprises a threat to the entire financial system and economic stability.

“At the same time it also brings a challenge and a threat to financial inclusion…for this reason, at present users are giving more attention to the formulation of relevant regulations, to drive more standardised usage of data.”

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