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Saturday, March 25, 2017

INNOVATEChina 2017

- CEIBS MBA Competition Challenges Top Global B-Schools to Create Tomorrow’s Fintech Revolution

March 25, 2017. Shanghai – An app for young Chinese millennials that syncs with their credit cards to help them pay, save and share as part of an automated financial experience won first prize at INNOVATEChina 2017.  The Global Business Plan Competition was hosted by the CEIBS MBA Class of 2017 today at the Shanghai Campus.  The team from Yale School of Management who pitched their Pavement app that utilises machine learning for intelligent pay solutions picked up the US$10,000 winner’s cheque following a day of intense competition with finalist teams from ESADE Business School, Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley, Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California, Ross School of Business at University of Michigan and Saїd Business School at University of Oxford.

Established in 2008, INNOVATEChina is one of the flagship events organized by CEIBS MBA students.  MBAs from the world’s top business schools are invited to join the competition as a platform to explore emerging trends in the business world and tomorrow’s innovations. The topic of this year’s competition ‘Where Finance Goes High-Tech’ was introduced by CEIBS Vice President and Co-Dean Prof. Zhang Weijiong, who welcomed the teams, judges and over 300 audience members to this year’s event.  “We hope that with the support of today’s sponsors, Santander, eToro and Tencent, our young MBA students can generate ideas that may evolve into the foundations of the next wave of innovation within the financial service industry,” he said.

The six teams at today’s competition were shortlisted from 40 proposals that were submitted by MBA students at 30 top business schools across five continents.  A retirement savings solution for migrant workers in China; a disruptive solution for converting leftover foreign exchange back into RMB; and an education app for quantitative investors were amongst the other business plans pitched today by the finalist teams.  Judging the proposals were Chairman of Orange Finance Hongliang Gao, Managing Director of eToro China Jasper Lee, Managing Partner of Peeli Partners Harry Qin, Head of Innovation at Santander China Miguel Solana, Senior VP at Lianlian Pay Terry Tse, and Visiting Professor of Finance at CEIBS Bob Yang.

Kicking off today’s keynote speeches, Head of Innovation at the competitions’ strategic sponsor Santander China, Miguel Solana shared his thoughts on why the world should be watching fintech in China, describing it as a being in the middle of a perfect storm based on four market factors; namely China’s size, speed, mobile utilization and regulations.  The Managing Director of eToro China, Jasper Lee, spoke about social trading and big data helping to form copycat funds as two of the next waves in the fintech revolution.  Head of Financial Cooperation and Policy Department at Tencent Philip Ma also shared with the audience where the fintech opportunities of the future are likely to be, highlighting biometric identification, cloud computing, blockchain, quantitative trading and robo-advisory amongst the areas to watch.

Visiting Professor of Finance at CEIBS Bob Yang moderated a panel discussion with the judges.  Most agreed that at the top of the to-do list for any fintech entrepreneur should be what to do with customer information that is captured by big data, how to master the medium, and how to navigate the risk of the policy maker in China.  Despite increased competition from non-financial players entering the market, the panel also agreed that the fintech pie is likely to get bigger for all parties (traditional finance, technology and start-ups) given new potential battlegrounds in insurance, proliferation of new technologies such as AI and blockchain, and an increase in partnerships and acquisitions between finance and tech enterprises.       

James Kent
Janine M. Coughlin