Bank of China, one of the four largest banks in the country, will increase its research and development budget for fintech projects, including blockchain. The bank told a press conference, covered by local media agency The Paper. Chief information officer Liu Qiuwan announced total spending will exceed 1% of the bank’s annual operating income.
Bank of China highlighted the development of three key platforms in 2018 - cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence. The bank wants to advance its real-time monitoring capabilities, which are currently used to manage risk. The Paper also notes, there are reports of a separate technology company being created, in order to meet the demand for innovation.
Regarding distributed ledger technology Liu Qiuwan said:
“Currently, Bank of China has been applying technology in the pilot blockchain of 12 projects, mainly focusing on data sharing, cross-border payment, digital currency, digital bills, etc. according to the statistics of the global blockchain enterprise patent rankings in 2017. Bank of China has 11 patent applications for blockchain, ranking 20th in the global business and ranking first in the domestic banking industry,"
The Bank of China Hong Kong, which is closely affiliated with its mainland counterpart, is reportedly also using similar technological developments. Approximately 85% of the real estate valuations are done on the blockchain.
The Chinese authorities (the Bank of China is backed by the state) appear to have a position somewhat similar to that of Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase – not very optimistic on Bitcoin and the present iteration of cryptocurrencies, but having an open mind towards the underlying technology.