Huawei: To Fend Off Disruption Banks Need to Build Their Own Super App

Huawei: To Fend Off Disruption Banks Need to Build Their Own Super App

by June 12, 2020

Huawei held its Global FSI Summit this week which featured financial institutions and enterprises sharing their experience in dealing with the “new normal’ in the post-pandemic era. The list of presenters included senior representatives from organizations like DBS Bank, Sberbank, BBVA, China Construction Bank, Temenos and IDC.

In a media sharing session Jason Cao, President of Global Financial Services, Huawei, said that banks need to work on developing their own super apps in order to fend off attacks from disruptors.

He further noted that when internet giants like Tencent and Ant Financial took away a chunk of deposits and loans businesses from the incumbents, they were left wondering how they can defend their market share if they will even have a position in the future of financial services.

He said that banks in China eventually found their footing against these internet giants by introducing super apps of their own, he pointed towards China Merchant Bank as example of a bank that has successfully deployed a super app in China.

Jason sees an opportunity for banks to disrupt themselves before they are disrupted as there aren’t really players with similar scale that the Chinese internet giants have in China.

While there aren’t internet giants like Tencent or Alibaba, South East Asia is not devoid of ambitious players like Grab or GoJek looking to replicate similar models, not to mention many of the fintech startups seeking disrupt the market are also funded by these Chinese giants.

For example, TNG Digital a popular e-wallet in Malaysia is jointly owned by Touch ‘n Go and Ant Financial, PayMaya in Philippines is funded in part by Tencent, similarly, GoJek in Indonesia has also received investments from Tencent.

All these against the backdrop of virtual banks inching to capture market share across ASEAN markets might support Jason’s argument for banks to look into building super apps.

There are signs of this happening as well, Thailand’s oldest bank, Siam Commercial Bank announced the launch of their food delivery app Robinhood (no relation to US-based investment app Robinhood) earlier this month.

But Jason was also realistic in pointing out that this won’t be an easy journey for banks to embark on, he doesn’t expect all banks to be able to build a full-blown super app ecosystem, he feels optimistic that banks that are more digitally mature are capable of rolling out something similar in nature.

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