China’s financial industry faces a challenging year ahead. Economic growth is slowing, money outflows are testing the resolve of regulators and reform remains a challenge. Yet China remains at the center of the fintech universe as tech giants Lufax, PingAn, and Ant Financial continue to re-define banking in the world’s biggest country.
In 2016, private banks were in the news as many of China's top enterprises jumped into the industry to start their own private banks. However, due to a number of reasons, there is no significant business success to talk about at the moment: user uptake is low, especially if you consider how popular some of these companies' other products are. Still more licenses have been given out and more firms are still applying. What's going on?
On traditional banking, changing and liberalizing interest rates means that the fight for individual and corporate deposits has become even more fierce. With this in mind, and the pressure on profitability from the P2P lenders, banks are looking at higher margin and less capital-intensive products to stay ahead of the competition.
And despite the opening of the Hong Kong Shenzhen connect, the real story may be with robo-advisors which are set to shake up the market. Many of the existing financial players are getting into business, but the question remains - will 2017 be the year when the services really take off?
To help clients and industry participants better understand what lies ahead for China’s financial industry, we are excited to tackle the topics above as well as many more in our 7th annual China Financial Trends and Outlook report.