Daily Review: Asia Is Setting an Innovation Adoption Benchmark

Certain Asian markets – Singapore, China, and Australia, in particular – are known to be ahead of the world in various aspects. Time and again, forward-thinking authorities and institutions are proving to have the ability to outpace expectations and adapt regulatory environments to the needs of businesses and consumers.

On numerous occasions, we have emphasized the uniqueness of Singapore, China, and Australia as some of the most promising markets for tech entrepreneurs. This latest piece of news proves that we weren’t wrong.

Pick #1. OCBC launches Face ID authentication for banking apps on iPhone X

OCBC Bank has rolled out banking authentication using the iPhone X’s new feature, Face ID.

The Face ID system uses a mathematical model of users’ faces to allow them to sign onto their phones or pay for goods with a steady glance at their phones.

OCBC OneLook is the first service in Singapore to use the facial recognition technology to enable payments or the viewing of bank account, credit card, and investment information, the bank said on Monday (Nov. 6).

OCBC Bank customers using the iPhone X can authenticate access to its consumer and business banking apps like OCBC Mobile Banking, OCBC OneWealth, and OCBC Business Mobile Banking by looking at their phones, instead of using passwords or fingerprints.

The bank does not store any account numbers, balances or other related information on the phone and two-factor authentication is required should the customer wish to perform banking transactions.

Read more.

Pick #2. China offers tax-free interest income in bid to spur lending to small firms

China will exempt banks’ interest income from loans to small firms and rural households from value-added tax.

The policy will be in effect from December 1, 2017, to the end of 2019, while contracts for loans with small firms will also be free of stamp taxes from 2018 to 2020.

The supportive policies will apply to loans of 1 million yuan ($150,750) or less.

The outstanding volume of loans to small firms was 23.5 trillion yuan as of the end of September, representing a YoY growth of 17.8% and accounting for one-third of total corporate loans.

A number of the country’s largest state banks, led by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank Corp, set up finance departments at the headquarter level to increase lending to SMEs.

China’s central bank in September cut the amount of cash that must be held as reserves for banks that meet certain requirements for lending to small business and the agricultural sector.

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China and Australia’s regulators have agreed to partner up on FinTech.

The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) and China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) will cooperate on the sharing of information related to emerging themes in the FinTech sector.

Regulators in both countries will also provide each other with insights on experiments with RegTech.

FinTech agreements to share information and collaborate on innovation have been formed by a number of countries: Hong Kong & Singapore agreed to a data sharing arrangement, as well as a cross-border trade project based on blockchain technology.

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