On September 27, Bank of China (BOC) announced a collaboration with IBM to spearhead digitization in the financial sector by setting up a Global Innovation Lab in Singapore. BOC plans to set up 5-8 such centers across the globe to research applications of AI, blockchain and IoT in its current infrastructure.
China is aggressively pursuing blockchain innovation and development, with the most current patent applications being filed by Chinese companies. The government too, has been supportive of the technology. Last year, the People’s Bank of China started to pilot a blockchain trade finance platform along with BOC and few other banks.
Meanwhile, IBM has about 100 blockchain patents on its name. Now, IBM Garage is assisting BOC in setting up the Global Innovation Lab. These centers will cater to BOC’s clientele, ideate new projects and also act as a base to cooperate with governments, industries and academia.
“We are excited to work with them (BOC) and share IBM’s Garage model, as well as our experience in innovative practices, to help them in the construction of their innovation lab,” said Wenchao Liu, VP, IBM GCG.
Through this collaboration, IBM said it is helping BOC build its innovation strategy. The two said they would be working on “digital transformation, customer experience enhancement and business innovation” among other things.
IBM and BOC have already started work on a few initial projects. The announcement said that two unnamed projects had delivered prototype applications within two weeks, which IBM claims would have otherwise taken about three months.
“We believe that in addition to the assistance they offer with technological leadership and industry expertise, we can learn even more from IBM’s own transformation and innovative models,” said Wang Fang, Bank of China Singapore branch vice president, Bank of China Innovation Lab Singapore General Manager.
Fintech is the leading sector for blockchain applications. Recently, China’s CITIC Bank, BOC, Minsheng Bank and Ping An Bank announced that their blockchain forfaiting transaction platform processed 20 billion yuan ($2.82 billion) of trades in the past year.