Asia-Pacific is at the forefront of digital transformation in the financial sector. The region has the largest number of new digital banking licences in the world, and nearly 90 per cent of consumers in the sector are using digital services, according to Nicholas Ma, President of the Huawei APAC Enterprise Business Group.

Nicholas’s claim is supported by figures from market intelligence supplier IDC, which predicts that 44 per cent of the top 250 banks in Asia-Pacific will complete “digital core” transformation by 2025.

Underlying the digitalisation drive are the key forces of better connectivity and more robust intelligence, according to Ryan Ding, President of the Huawei Enterprise Business Group. It is in these areas that Huawei hopes to better support the Asia-Pacific finance sector’s digital transformation.

Nicholas said Huawei was continuing to invest in the finance industry and enhance ecosystem collaboration with 150 global partners, helping them to achieve significant growth in this vertical.

During the three-day Huawei Global Intelligent Finance Summit in Singapore, Nicholas and other Huawei leaders explained the ways in which Huawei intends to help companies in the region’s finance sector to fulfil their intelligence potential and environmental goals.

Levelling up

The global proliferation of technology is driving an unprecedented transformation in the finance industry. Artificial intelligence is giving rise to super-personalisation in banking services, smart contracts will soon enable intelligent decision-making, and new services and products are continually emerging, said Jason Cao, CEO of Huawei Global Digital Finance.

But where there are opportunities, there also lie challenges. The rise of tech is introducing complexities into back-end systems, and multi-cloud environments and networks will become increasingly challenging to manage. Cao said that was why Huawei is focusing on three strategic initiatives to help facilitate the finance sector’s transition.

First, it hopes to make the industry smarter, with more intelligent means of customer engagement and data platforms that are capable of real-time analysis. Huawei plans also to help make banks more agile in managing cross-cloud environments by introducing hybrid multi-cloud architecture.

Second, Huawei plans to help finance sector businesses to boost efficiency and performance and facilitate collaboration of multi-technology, heterogeneous technology and hybrid multi-cloud with its autonomous digital infrastructure.

Third, it is seeking to promote collaboration among financial institutions around the world through its upgraded Financial Partner Go Global Program 2.0. The revamped program will bring more service providers, global consulting partners and local organisations into the fold.

Collaboration in the finance ecosystem

“To build green, digital and intelligent finance, we can move faster only with healthy and sustainable ecosystem collaboration,” Nicholas said.

Huawei is forging strong partnerships with finance sector businesses to propel the shift in the industry. It is doing so by supporting banks with their fundamental research capabilities, innovative solutions, technology platforms and the Huawei Cloud.

MOU signing ceremony between Huawei and OCBC Bank

Signing of the Memorondum of Understanding (MOU) between Huawei and OCBC Bank. (Photo courtesy of Huawei) 

For instance, Huawei signed a partnership with Singapore’s OCBC Bank during the summit to bolster its digital transformation in Southeast Asia and China’s Greater Bay Area, a government scheme that links Hong Kong, Macau and nine nearby mainland Chinese municipalities.

The partnership will see the company assisting the bank in three key areas: greener branches and buildings with smart Internet of Things; data science and artificial intelligence innovation, and cloud adoption acceleration.

To support greener branches and buildings with Smart IoT, Huawei will work with OCBC on sustainably developing the bank’s operations to lower carbon emissions. This may include innovative solutions that integrate with smart IoT devices in the bank’s branches.

To strengthen OCBC’s leadership in data science and AI innovation, Huawei will offer its network of financial industry experts and best practices to support the bank, including by extending its cooperation at global financial industry summits and forums.

To accelerate cloud adoption, Huawei will work with the bank to assess its cloud infrastructure, leverage advanced cloud-native and hybrid cloud technology to support development and innovation in financial services in the region and the Greater Bay Area. These enhancements will simplify management and operations while ensuring business continuity and security, and optimise the structure of OCBC’s cloud services investments.

Huawei will also continue to work with OCBC to explore building sustainable green financial infrastructure that incorporates sustainable design and principles across all its offices and retail branches.

Huawei is also working with Singapore lender DBS. During the summit, the two partners announced the establishment of the Innovation Showcase at DBS Newton Green – the nation’s first net-zero carbon emissions building commissioned by a bank.

Huawei also announced its Digital Banking 2.0 Solution, launched alongside global leading banking software provider Temenos. The scheme will support rapid launches of digital banks and help larger banks to accelerate their cloud modernisation efforts in a bid to improve rollout efficiency and customer satisfaction.

‘Reinventing’ finance

“Rapid digitalisation and relentless competition have put tremendous pressure on financial institutions to transform,” Nicholas said, adding that R&D investment and a healthy and sustainable ecosystem collaboration were critically important.

Huawei is continuously investing in R&D to provide more cutting-edge products and solutions to improve financial institutions’ efficiency and achieve their carbon-neutrality goals, including storage, networking, data centres, digital power and cloud.

For instance, Huawei helped a top Singapore bank to deliver its green strategy. The tech company’s green power solution reduced the bank’s carbon emissions by 10 per cent. With Huawei’s AI for IT operations solution, the bank’s operational efficiency also increased significantly.

For healthy and sustainable ecosystem collaboration, as discussed by Nicholas, partners such as Temenos and Chinese banking software and tech services company Sunline have extended support for core banking. In Singapore, Huawei and Temenos provided a cloud-native digital banking solution for a neobank. Netis, another partner, has also with Huawei deployed an AI for IT operations solution that includes network performance management for a top bank.

“We are expecting more active cooperation with global and local partners in the areas of software as a service, security and consulting services,” Nicholas said.

By the end of 2021, Huawei had served over 2,000 financial institutions from more than 60 countries and regions, including 49 of the world’s top 100 banks. It has established comprehensive strategic partnerships with more than 80 large banks, insurance companies and securities companies around the world for the digital transformation of the finance industry.