,Hong Kong

Bank of East Asia steps up tech partnerships to capture Mainland market

The bank has already tied up with four tech companies.

Bank of East Asia (BEA) is stepping up collaborations with tech companies as it does away with physical banking in an effort to lure the tech-savvy Chinese market, reports South China Morning Post.

Also read: Bank of East Asia unveils centralised e-payment platform for merchants

The bank has joined forces with four technology companies, enabling it to offer CNY5b in loans to Mainland Chinese residents in 2017, according to deputy chief executive Brian Li.

“The four mainland partnerships have helped us to offer more consumer lending and find new credit card clients. We will target more partnerships so as to offer bank loans and cross-sell other financial products to these customers,” Li said in an media briefing in Hong Kong.

BEA’s existing partners include Tencent-backed WeBank and online travel provider Ctrip.

Also read: Bank of East Asia's half-year profit surges 25.9% to $3.99b

The move is in line with the bank’s push to grow its retail lending arm from 20% YTD to 30% by 2020 and decrease the share of corporate lending from 80% YTD to 70% over the same period.

BEA has also cut down its physical branch network in the Mainland from about 120 to 100 on the back of rising rental and staff costs. This is because Li believes that tapping on the Mainland Chinese market is something that does not need significant levels of physical interaction as consumers are increasingly doing their banking on their phones.

“As such, we are considering teaming up with internet partners as an ideal way to expand our consumer lending to more customers,” he added. 

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