SHENZHEN, China, July 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- OneConnect Financial Technology Co. Ltd. (OneConnect), an associate company of China's insurance giant and Fortune Top 29 Company Ping An Group, has partnered with UBX Philippines Corporation, the wholly-owned fintech subsidiary of Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank), to build the country's first blockchain-enabled platform to meet the banking needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The partnership underpins both UBX and OneConnect's commitment in accelerating digital transformation in the Philippine financial services industry - using their technological advancements to enable financial institutions to better serve the unbanked and underbanked communities.
The partnership comes amidst the vital roles of MSMEs in the Philippine economy. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), 99.6% of all business in the Philippines are MSMEs and they contribute to almost 63% of total employment. However, SMEs get only 9.2% of loans and financing from the country's major banks.
Many MSMEs are suppliers and service providers to large enterprises. They create jobs for the country's growing labor force and stimulate economic development in rural and remote areas. They also serve as a breeding ground for new entrepreneurs and innovative business ideas.
A vibrant MSME sector is an indication of a thriving and growing economy. But even with policies that aim to enable MSME development, the sector still faces various constraints that prevent it from realizing its full growth potential.
"We believe there is huge economic potential in the MSME sector and we have confidence in how our technology can help enterprising businesses leapfrog into better ways of doing business. We are excited to be partnering with UBX in the Philippines, because we share the same vision of how technology can empower communities that traditionally cannot be reached. With OneConnect's proven technology solutions and UnionBank's deep market knowledge and domain expertise in catering to MSMEs, we look forward to introducing impactful financial solutions for MSMEs in the Philippines," said Ms. Tan Bin Ru, CEO (Southeast Asia) of OneConnect Financial Technology.
The blockchain-enabled digital platform will be operational by end-2019, and will be made available to a progressively larger community of MSMEs by 2020.
The financing platform is an end-to-end platform that leverages OneConnect's award-winning facial recognition technology, micro-expression interviewing technology, and big data-enabled artificial intelligence. It covers a wide range of business finance needs, such as multi-channel loan applications, credit assessment, loan disbursement, and anti-fraud checking. It significantly reduces approval time while providing more accurate risk assessment.
With digital loan application channels enabled, the platform allows lenders to target a wider MSME population in the Philippines. These MSMEs can also use the platform's advanced capabilities such as AI, big data, remote interview with micro-expression technology and anti-fraud engine.
For supply chain finance, blockchain technology is leveraged to allow greater penetration across and into the supply chain. Through OneConnect's industry-leading Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform, important data including order and logistics information is encrypted while enabling critical functions such as paperless contracts, contract judgement, compliance verification and financing risk assessment. On this platform, e-payment undertakings (EPUs) are transferrable, divisible and discountable, while being recorded on the blockchain to make it tamper-proof and traceable. The platform enables financial inclusion as MSMEs usually form the second, third, and even deeper tiers in a supply chain. The supplier base can now have access to more cost-efficient funding, which was previously unavailable to them.
UBX's parent company, UnionBank, is the Philippines' ninth largest bank in terms of assets and the leading digital bank in the country. UnionBank is an award-winning bank known for enabling the country's fintech sector through its own visionary digital transformation. UnionBank pioneered online banking in the Philippines and started the Philippines' first electronic savings account, the EON Cyber Account. UnionBank also has a strong focus on serving the Philippine SME community through UnionBank GlobalLinker. This platform connects more than 40,000 SMEs and offers exclusive deals and business management tips, aimed at helping SMEs grow and "tech up."
"As the fintech arm of the nation's leading innovative bank, we are continually seeking new ways to better serve our customers in disruptive ways that also solve real problems. In the Philippines, 77% of our population is unbanked and we have a diverse geography that spans across over 7,000 islands. Digital financial solutions - such as the ones we are co-creating with OneConnect - will allow us to include more MSMEs in the financial system. We seek to transform the lives of Filipinos, and accelerate their growth by connecting them to a whole new world of opportunities," said Mr. John Januszczak, President & CEO of UBX.
About OneConnect Financial Technology
OneConnect ("the Company") is a leading technology-as-a-service platform for financial institutions in China. The Company integrates extensive financial services industry expertise with market-leading technology to provide technology applications and technology-enabled business services to financial institutions. These solutions enable our customers' digital transformations, which help them increase revenue, manage risks, improve efficiency, enhance service quality and reduce costs.
OneConnect is an associate of Ping An Group. As of June 30, 2019, Ping An Group was China's second-largest financial institution and the fifth-largest globally by market capitalization. OneConnect leverages the Group's 30 years of extensive experience in financial services and accurately addresses the needs of different financial institutions. The Company's 12 technology solutions strategically cover multiple verticals in the financial services industry, including banking, insurance and asset management, across the full scope of their businesses--from sales and marketing and risk management to customer services and operations, as well as technology infrastructure such as data management, program development, and cloud services.
OneConnect's customer base includes all of China's major banks, 99% of its city commercial banks, and 38% of its insurance companies
For more information, please visit www.oneconnectft.com
About Ping An
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. ("Ping An") is a world-leading technology-powered personal financial services group. With 182 million customers and 513 million Internet users, Ping An is one of the largest financial services companies in the world.
Ping An has two over-arching strategies 'pan financial assets' and 'pan healthcare', which focus on the provision of financial and healthcare services through our integrated financial services platform and our five ecosystems in financial services, healthcare, auto services, real estate services and Smart City services. Our aim is to provide customers and internet users with innovative and simple products and services. As China's first joint stock insurance company, Ping An Group is committed to upholding the highest standards of corporate reporting and corporate governance. The company is listed on the stock exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Ping An ranked 7th in Forbes' 2019 Global 2000, and it ranked 29th in Fortune Magazine's 2018 Global 500 Leading Companies. Ping An also ranked 40th in 2019 WPP Milward Brown's BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands. For more information, please visit www.pingan.cn
About UBX Philippines Corporation
UBX, a financial technology and investment company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Union Bank of the Philippines. UBX is leveraging the immense power of technology, ecosystems and data to make financial services more natural, open and accessible. UBX positively impacts financial inclusion: unlocking the potential of businesses and people by embedding financial services into the activities and experiences that matter.
UBX supports ecosystems through platforms such as i2i and UnionBank GlobalLinker. i2i connects rural banks and non-banking financial institutions to each other and the nation's financial networks while providing a digital transformation package for these institutions including core banking technology and digital banking channels. GlobalLinker is a B2B community for SMEs, providing access to services and marketplaces to help SMEs "tech up" and digitally transform.
Exponential opportunity and exponential access through exponential thinking - UBX is UnionBank to the power of X. For more information, please visit www.ubx.ph.
About Union Bank of the Philippines
Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) has consistently been recognized as one of Asia's leading companies in banking and finance, ranking among the Philippines' top 10 universal banks in terms of key performance ratios in profitability, liquidity, solvency and efficiency.
UnionBank garnered a record-breaking number of awards and recognitions in 2018 including "Asia's Best Bank Transformation" from Euromoney; "Best Innovation in Retail Banking Philippines" and "Banking CEO of the Year Asia" from International Banker; "Achievement in HR Technology" and "Chief Human Resources Officer of the Year" from Stevie Awards for Great Employers; "Best Digital Bank Philippines" and "Most Innovative Cash Management Services Bank Philippines" from Global Banking and Finance Review; back-to-back "Best Digital Bank Philippines" from Asiamoney; "Digital Transformer of the Year Philippines" from IDC's DX Awards Philippines; "Digital Banking Initiative of the Year - Philippines" and "Online Banking Initiative of the Year - Philippines" at the Asian Banking and Finance - 2018 Retail Banking Awards; "Best Digital Bank", "Best Cybersecurity and IT Risk Management Initiative, Application or Programme in the Philippines", and "Automobile Lending Product of the Year" from The Asian Banker; "Best Customer Experience - Branch (Winner)", "Best Omni-Channel Customer Experience (Highly Commended)", "Best Technology Implementation - Back Office (Highly Commended)", and "Best Technology Implementation - Front End (Highly Commended)" from Retail Banker International - 4th Customer Experience in Financial Services Awards; "Asia's Leader in Omnichannel Engagement" by IDC's Financial Insights Innovation Awards; "Best App for Mobile Banking" and "Excellence in Mobile Banking - Overall" from Retail Banker International - Asia Trailblazer Awards; "Best Investor Relations Company" and "Asia's Best CFO" from Corporate Governance Asia; "Most Innovative Bank of the Year" and "Best Banking CEO" from The European - Global Banking and Finance Awards.