Fintech

People ride bicycles along the promenade at Marina Bay in Singapore on 21 December 2021. (Roslan Rahman/AFP)

Singapore, Hong Kong vie for wallets of rich Chinese in tech sector

The battle is heating up as Hong Kong and Singapore both vie for the wallets of rich Chinese in the tech sector. With the idea of family offices gaining popularity in recent years, will Hong Kong or Singapore have the edge over the other?
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.
A cyclist and pedestrians wearing protective masks travel past buildings on Financial Street in Beijing, China on 19 May 2021. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

Blindspots in the financial regulation of China’s tech ‘platform companies’

Zhang Yugui points out that China’s financial services development is currently at the awkward stage where there is much financial innovation and the opening up of the financial sector, but not yet the corresponding capabilities to manage the complex financial systems and cutting-edge fintech. Hence we see the recent rash of anti-monopoly measures directed at tech giants such as Ant Group and Tencent. But has the industry reached a true tipping point? What must regulators do to bridge the gap?
More Chinese tech companies are gaining a presence in Singapore. (Graphic: Ho Han Chong/SPH)

Singapore a popular base for China tech firms

In recent years, China's tech giants such as Alibaba, Tencent and ByteDance have set up regional offices in Singapore. With insights from industry experts, Zaobao senior business correspondent Chew Boon Leong analyses the impact that an influx of Chinese tech companies will have on Singapore. Will it affect Singapore's neutral stance and lead the nation to become a battleground for tech companies from the US and China?
 Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of China's Alibaba Group, speaks in front of a picture of SoftBank's human-like robot named 'Pepper' during a news conference in Chiba, Japan, 18 June 2015. (Yuya Shino/Reuters)

The end of 'Papa Ma Yun' and his Hupan University

As Chinese authorities take action against monopolistic behaviour and the “disorderly expansion of capital”, companies like Alibaba and founder Jack Ma are finding themselves falling out of favour not only with the authorities but with the public. The latest development is the name change for Hupan University, established by Ma, where the motivations of the institution have come under question. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing looks at the issue.
Jack Ma, billionaire founder of Alibaba Group, arrives at the "Tech for Good" Summit in Paris, France, 15 May 2019. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

What the Chinese government wants to tell Alibaba and China's tech giants [Part II]

Alibaba was fined a record 18.2 billion RMB after an anti-monopoly probe. Commentator Yuan Guobao observes that Alibaba is not the only tech giant in China accused of monopolistic practices; for that matter, the “big four” companies in the US have also come under the spotlight. All this suggests that on a global level, tech companies must be prepared to adhere to a strict regulatory environment, even as they break new ground.
An Alibaba sign is seen outside the company's office in Beijing, China, on 13 April 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Is Alibaba doomed? [Part I]

Alibaba was recently slapped with a 18.2 billion RMB fine and has acquiesced to state authorities’ demands for “rectification''. Commentator Yuan Guobao asserts that Alibaba’s “choose one out of two” policy of tying online merchants down to exclusive deals was already sounding alarm bells. Jack Ma’s politically incorrect speech at the Shanghai Bund Summit may have been a fire starter, but the tech giant’s troubles have been brewing for quite some time.
A man walks past an Alibaba sign outside the company's office in Beijing, China on 13 April 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Can private Chinese enterprises truly ‘develop boldly and with confidence’?

Amid punishments meted out to Chinese private enterprises such as Alibaba, President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to various private enterprises was seen as a way for the Chinese government to assure companies that the state would still be supporting them. However, the status of private enterprises has always been a little fuzzy in China. Companies feel that they are at a disadvantage when competing with state-owned enterprises and may be reined in when they grow too large. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong looks for a way out.   
A man stands at a crossroads in Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, China, 5 March 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Lesson for Jack Ma's Ant: Finance is finance and technology is technology

Chinese author and fintech researcher Yang Jun says that while the fintech industry has been booming over the past few years, not everybody seems to know that it is really about using technology to complement finance, which remains the foundation. Knowing this distinction will help one better understand the current push to impose regulations on the sector.