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Euromoney, April 19 2018

Singapore’s UOB has become the latest bank in Asia to try to harness the runaway success of Chinese fintech players.

In April, it announced a new business called Avatec, a joint venture between UOB and China’s Pintec Technology Holdings. It aims to combine the bank’s skills in southeast Asia with the Chinese partner’s proven ability in big data.

The region has 600 million people, of whom only 27% hold a bank account, according to KPMG. In particular, access to credit is problematic, and this is where the joint venture expects to fill a gap: by developing more efficient and accurate ways of assessing the credit quality of potential customers. The result, in theory, is that UOB reaches a lot more customers without taking on a lot more risk.

Pintec is best known in China for its Dumiao digital lending platform, which uses third-party credit information and e-commerce transactions to generate credit decisions, with a heavy emphasis on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Its clients include China Telecom and the Sichuan-based online-only XWBank.

“We want to expand our solutions to other countries,” says William Wei, founder and chief executive of Pintec. “Southeast Asia is similar to China three years ago: a huge population, fast-growing economies, huge demand for financial services and an internet industry that is growing well.”

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Chris Wright
Chris Wright
Chris is a journalist specialising in business and financial journalism across Asia, Australia and the Middle East. He is Asia editor for Euromoney magazine and has written for publications including the Financial Times, Institutional Investor, Forbes, Asiamoney, the Australian Financial Review, Discovery Channel Magazine, Qantas: The Australian Way and BRW. He is the author of No More Worlds to Conquer, published by HarperCollins.

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