Pei Sai Fan

Adjunct Professor, NTU, SMU, NUS and SUSS in Singapore, and Renmin University and Tsinghua University in China

Dr Pei Sai Fan is an adjunct professor teaching at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) in Singapore, and Renmin University and Tsinghua University in Beijing. He is also the director of Libai Academy, a member of the academic committee of the Global FinTech Institute and of the AI Ethics Review Board of the Singapore Computer Society, as well as a senior consultant of RHT Compliance Solutions at RHTLaw Asia and an adviser to several fintech start-ups. His main research interests include central banking, monetary policy, financial development and regulation, financial technology, corporate governance, and risk management.

An aerial view of the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center in Hainan province, China, 24 July 2022. (CNS)

Here’s how Hainan can become the next financial hub

Hainan is set to become China’s first free trade port and has great potential to beef up its financial offerings. Academics Pei Sai Fan and Chen Jingwei present a number of suggestions that could boost the Chinese province’s standing as an international hub for financial and regulatory innovations, green financing and connectivity.
A woman holds US dollar banknotes in this illustration taken 30 May 2022. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)

Quit the dollar: Can Asia build its own digital currency and digital payment infrastructure?

Calls for de-dollarisation have increased since the financial sanctions of the Ukraine war and the very real threat of the US dollar being weaponised. In this context, academic Pei Sai Fan explains why conditions are ripe for China and Asia to offer innovative alternatives, such as developing regional digital currency cooperation in the payment and settlement of regional trade and investment, and expediting the development of new cross-border digital payment infrastructure in Asia known as multi-CBDC platform projects.
A man wearing a protective mask is seen inside the Shanghai Stock Exchange building at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai, China, 28 February 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Digitalisation: How China’s smaller investment banks could compete with big foreign players

The recent accelerated opening up of China’s capital market has presented a challenge to investment banks in China, which may have seen their role marginalised or bypassed by major foreign players who have international experience and are highly capitalised and better managed. Academics Pei Sai Fan and Peng Chang suggest how investment banks in China can compete and stay relevant.
People wearing protective masks walk on a street in Shanghai, China, 14 January 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China needs timely and professional financial supervision and Singapore's experience may help

China must guard against pursuing too much financial development too fast, says NUS academic Pei Sai Fan. Only when a fine and delicate balance is struck between financial development and financial supervision — taking both financial innovation and financial stability into account — can the innovative development of the financial sector project its positive energy and dutifully serve the real economy. In that endeavour, it will be important for regulatory authorities to recruit and retain professional talents who embrace innovation, know much about fintech and are au fait with ways of growing the emerging digital financial sector as well as the market and financial risks.
Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled "Machine Hallucinations — Space: Metaverse" by media artist Refik Anadol, which will be converted into NFT and auctioned online at Sotheby's, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China, 30 September 2021. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Metaverse: A chance to build a better world

Academic Pei Sai Fan says that one should dream big with the metaverse and not only see it as a new avenue of making money. By creating a new virtual universe from scratch, we can make good use of the blockchain-based metaverse to promote an equitable, more transparent and more inclusive rules-based international digital currency and financial system and enhance the global governance system to deal with issues facing all countries. This would require a global approach and China is well placed technologically to actively participate and lead the effort with like-minded nations in creating such a metaverse. It would be a pity if countries squandered such an opportunity to truly build a better world for all mankind.
China's official app for digital yuan is seen on a mobile phone next to 100 RMB banknotes in this illustration picture taken on 16 October 2020. (Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

China’s central bank digital currency has huge potential, but be careful of overregulation

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) can potentially optimise and vastly improve the central bank’s monetary policy transmission with preset conditions to incorporate forward-looking and counter-cyclical features. This means that central banks can accurately control the amount, direction and intensity of liquidity or money supply flowing to the desired industries, thereby allowing industries to achieve an optimal level of production and reduce the risk of inflation or deflation. Earlier this year, China tracked and paid wages to builders in Xiong’an using its digital RMB, e-CNY. Is this a harbinger of things to come?
A Chinese Yuan banknote is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration taken on 7 May 2021. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Will e-CNY spur the internationalisation of the RMB?

Academic Pei Sai Fan notes that China’s active promotion of the e-CNY has been closely linked to its ambitions of turning the RMB into a global trade and reserve currency. He says that the internationalisation of the RMB cannot be rushed. The more important thing for China to do now is to work on building its capabilities for crisis and risk management as well as gaining international support.
This file photo taken on 27 October 2020 shows a woman walking past an Alipay advertising billboard in a subway in Beijing. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Building an integrated digital economy: How Asia can continue to thrive in the post-pandemic era

With the pandemic showing little signs of slowing and as countries around the world shift away from the traditional economy, academic Pei Sai Fan notes that this is an opportune time for Asia to boost its digital economic sector. Namely, there will be the opportunity to consider building a more integrated Asian digital economy and to promote Asian digital trade and a common digital currency.
Signage for the digital yuan, also referred to as E-CNY, at a self check-out counter inside a supermarket in Shenzhen, China, on 20 November 2020. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

Token economics: How Singapore can boost synergy with China in building digital economies

Academics Pei Sai Fan, David Lee and Yan Li say that an understanding of other countries’ technological culture and policies is crucial in advancing digital economic cooperation. For instance, in the main, Singapore and China are able to mutually respect the differences in their blockchain and token policies, and focus on the complementarity of their approaches. Together, they can deepen their collaboration on central bank digital currencies and other projects, and lead the way regionally and globally in building digital economies of the future.