CASH MANAGEMENT | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

ICBC Asia's Wang Zhi Yong discusses the role of blockchain in cash management

He also talks about the bank's efforts of tapping new technologies.

Asian Banking & Finance caught up with Wang Zhi Yong, head of product development and management department at ICBC (Asia), about the key trends in technology such as blockchain affecting the cash management sector today.

What will be your approach to versatile cash management in 2018 and how do you plan to provide a variety of products to your customers?

We are focussed on providing solutions to the specific cash management needs and objectives for each client. We have the know-how, professionalism and best practices to provide our clients with the advanced and cash management solutions. Leveraging our global financial experience and extensive network from our parent bank ICBC, we are able to offer solutions and expertise to our valuable clients effectively and efficiently. 

What do you think will be the impact of blockchain technology in cash management this year?
Blockchain technology is certainly shaking up the financial services industry in the recent years. Even though the penetration is not very high at the moment yet, there is no doubt that blockchain will have an impact and bring new challenge on cash management in the long run. Blockchain technology will simplify the operation and enhance the efficiency for various cash management transaction services. It will influence the payment process we know today, enable higher security and lower costs for bank to process payment. However, at the moment blockchain technology might have some degree of limitation on tracking the movement of funds. We think this is the problem we and many of our peers need to seek solutions to. 

Some analysts view cash management and forecasting as becoming more difficult with increasing business complexity. Is this something that applies to your bank as well?

As business is becoming more complex and we are facing the increasing expectation from customer, this is both an opportunity and a challenge. The complexity of business generates more customer needs, some of which are new to the banking industry. Innovation is very important to every company, we would grasp every opportunity to study new concepts and do our research. A small idea today can be a great achievement in the future. For example, a decade ago, nobody expected mobile payment will become as popular as it is today. This year, we are actively keeping contact with leading technology companies, co-operating with them on the pioneering projects to catch up the trend of the ever-changing business world.

How are your treasury and cash management teams tapping into technology? What will be the key technology trends that are shaping the future of cash management over the next few years?

Product innovation is a great method that helps large corporations stay competitive in this rapidly changing marketplace. Firstly by keeping good relationship with leading technology companies, we exchange cutting-edge technology information and share new ideas to build up each other's competitiveness. Secondly we pay constant attention to customer needs and always try to develop new service according to their requirement. Technology revolution brings both challenges and opportunities to cash management development. It is undeniable that AI and blockchain are two of the major technologies that will reshape the world, and these are what we will try to explore in the next few years.

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