Chinese bank opens its first overseas innovation centre in S'pore to expand fintech foothold

Ms Thong Leng Yeng and Mr Xu Jun, general manager of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPD Bank) Singapore branch, at the opening ceremony of the SPD Bank Singapore Innovation Centre. PHOTO: SHANGHAI PUDONG DEVELOPMENT BANK

SINGAPORE - Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPD Bank) has opened its first overseas innovation centre here, making Singapore its fintech beachhead to South-east Asia.

"The SPD Bank Singapore Innovation Centre is committed to leveraging Singapore's strategic development in fintech to identify and partner high-potential technology companies," the bank said on Monday (Jan 25).

The centre aims to promote fintech adoption and add value to Singapore's smart nation drive, added the bank.

The Straits Times understands that the unit is currently operating out of the bank's branch at the Marina Bay Financial Centre, while SPD Bank looks for a permanent site for it.

For now, the bank will hire 20 staff - mostly Singaporeans in fintech roles - for the innovation centre.

SPD Bank declined to disclose the size of its investment in the new unit.

As a global financial centre and a key financial player in China's Belt and Road Initiative, Singapore is the ideal location for SPD Bank's first innovation centre because of its strong fintech ecosystem, said bank president Pan Weidong.

"With a growing number of leading financial players making their foray into Singapore, the Singapore Government has put in great efforts to enhance Singapore's prominence as a smart nation, global financial, fintech and technology hub," said Mr Pan.

Ms Thong Leng Yeng, executive director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) financial centre development department, said: "MAS is very supportive of the SPD Bank's establishment of its first overseas innovation centre in Singapore.

"The centre will serve as an important bridge connecting the vibrant fintech ecosystems of the two countries, while providing a precious platform for the exchange of ideas, solutions and development."

In 2017, SPD Bank set up its first overseas outlet at the Marina Bay Financial Centre in Singapore. It is the eighth Chinese bank to open a branch here. Others include the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and China Citic Bank International.

The following year, SPD also opened its first overseas commodity centre here to provide commodity-related financial services and solutions to businesses.

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