Chinese bank's first overseas innovation centre opens here

Unit aims to promote fintech adoption and add value to Singapore's Smart Nation drive

Ms Thong Leng Yeng (second from left), executive director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore's financial centre development department, with (from left) deputy general manager Zhu Hong Fang, general manager Xu Jun and deputy general manager Pang
Ms Thong Leng Yeng (second from left), executive director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore's financial centre development department, with (from left) deputy general manager Zhu Hong Fang, general manager Xu Jun and deputy general manager Pang Kwan of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank's Singapore branch at the opening ceremony for the bank's Singapore Innovation Centre yesterday.PHOTO: SHANGHAI PUDONG DEVELOPMENT BANK

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 yesterday.

The centre aims to promote fintech adoption and add value to Singapore's Smart Nation drive, said the bank.

The Straits Times understands that the unit is currently operating out of SPD Bank's branch at the Marina Bay Financial Centre while the bank looks for a permanent site for it. For now, the bank will hire 20 staff - mostly Singaporeans in fintech roles - for the 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 the bank's 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 was 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.

In 2018, SPD Bank also opened its first overseas commodity centre here to provide commodity-related financial services and solutions to businesses.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2021, with the headline 'Chinese bank's first overseas innovation centre opens here'. Subscribe