Riding the digital wave: Macau’s fintech revolution

ICBC (Macau) has undergone a remarkable fintech makeover, levelling up its digitalised operations by utilising new technologies and optimising its services


Technology, data and talent are the most important production factors for providing enormous momentum especially, for the development and innovation of financial business. With a small local market, Macao’s banking industry is facing intense and homogeneous competition, and it is hard to benefit from economies of scale. In order to mitigate this, ICBC (Macau) fully utilised its fintech advantage under the auspices of the ICBC Group, and achieved an innovation-driven and digitalised transformation.

A tech-leading strategy
We established the fintech transformation as a corporate strategy, to help deepen the integration of technology, data and financial business, setting up the financial technology and digital development committee to promote the application of new technology and ideas, and to build an innovative, leading and environmentally friendly brand image. We also assembled adaptive teams consisting of members from IT, business and product departments to facilitate the implementation of fintech to banking business, and evaluated the outcomes through a practical, retrospective and participative method.

Through the application of technology including big data and AI, we upgraded our risk management

Riding the wave of fintech development and Macao’s smart city strategy, we aimed to accelerate fintech innovation and iteration by expediting a digital reform on customer service and business channels, and especially on our mobile banking service. We also strived to promote innovation and optimisation of financial business, working processes and internal management. As a field test of the group’s overseas business, we took the lead to build a best customer service bank, and fostered our competitive advantage through the application of fintech.

Under this tech-leading strategy, we continuously enhanced our service ability and succeeded in winning customers. Our e-banking service accounts for over 80 percent of the whole business, and the online channel played an important role in attracting and maintaining customers. As a result, we continued to stay ahead of our peers in financial products and services.

Digitalised operations
With a view to deepening our innovative technology-driven capabilities and upholding the philosophy of technology self-reliance, we focused on developing technology in support of business development, and upgraded the ECOS technology ecosystem to provide powerful engines for business development. To transform our operation and develop a tech-driven and innovation-orientated mode, we utilised data and technology, and this proved to be the impetus to construct platforms and user scenarios, advance products and services, build a user ecosystem, and integrate our online and offline business layouts.

From there, we continued to promote the optimisation of outlets and expanded our customer service channels. Focusing on customers and driven by data, the bank improved the layout of a digital operation system, and rapidly created a new model of full-journey services for customers. As the first bank in Macao to build a smart bank network, and provide services for cross-border e-commerce, intelligent card-issuing and cross-border mortgage data connection, we have become a fintech leader in Macao’s banking industry. We have also reformed the overall systematic layout of retail outlets, and promoted the upgrading of Macao’s financial service towards a higher level aimed at convenience and efficiency for our customers.

With this in mind, we created a ubiquitous collaborative online and offline service channel system, advanced the integration of mobile banking into the marketing services of outlets, and stepped up integrated online and offline operations. Through the versatile application of different financial technologies, we enhanced customer experience in acquisitions, remittance, wealth management and online bill payments, and covered one-third of Macao residents using our e-payment service. We also took the lead to launch the ‘Greater Bay Area Transit QR code,’ allowing people to ride buses in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao with one code, and therefore formed a competitive advantage as the leading bank in Macao’s payment market.

We have continued to enrich financial products by accelerating the construction of the corporate digital finance service platform and building new avenues of the digital operation. As part of the group’s global layout, we fully utilised our advantage of online corporate banking services to develop cross-border and cross-currency fund pool products, and constructed a global cash management system covering 104 countries/regions and 61 currencies, with an annual settlement amount of more than MOP1trn ($124bn). We are also the first bank in Macao to hold a fintech competition for university students, aiming to cultivate more financial and technological talents for the region.

Securing innovation
We improved our cyber-security capabilities by pooling efforts in asset management, testing and assessment of our systems, cyber-security protection and improving data security. We have followed a systematic approach in enhancing our comprehensive cyber-security protection capability. Further, through the application of technology including big data and AI, we upgraded our risk management with a comprehensive system that covers risk monitoring, early warning and intervention, with automatic interception of suspicious transactions. We also introduced the latest technology in identity authentication, data processing and made our offices paperless to enhance work efficiency and cut down on waste.

Digitalisation serves as the critical momentum of future development in the banking industry. It is also the key for ICBC (Macau) to foster innovation and stride ahead in the market. Therefore, we will stay committed to seizing future opportunities for digital reform, and continue to come up with bold strategies and groundbreaking ideas for future development.

We regard the digital culture as an important part of our corporate culture

Our mission remains clear. We aim to build a ‘digitalised ICBC,’ one that will adhere to improving the capacity to serve our users with comprehensive digital operations, remote service and intelligent risk control. In addition to this, we will continue to digitalise our service platform, operation mechanism and risk control system, with the aim of upgrading customer service, empowering our workforce and enhancing work efficiency and effectiveness. We regard the digital culture as an important part of our corporate culture, and we aim to continue promoting staff training for digital reform, nurturing the talented professionals in our industry. We want to provide staff training for the entire front-to-back office by inviting in experts and visiting professional institutions, in order to cultivate a ‘digital thinking mode’ within the organisation, and in doing so, securing the reputation of being a tech leader in all respects.

The final tenet of our mission is to deepen our application of fintech. We will strive to set up new working processes for online and offline operation, build a new service model for information sharing, integrate clear steps in our workflow, and effectively combine resources to provide timely responses to customer demands.

We have also been paying attention to the breakthrough of generative AI, and will continue to explore the application of large language models (LLM) in marketing, risk prevention and management. Looking to the future, we will stay committed to building a flourishing digital ecosystem combining unparalleled financial services with the real economy, to further promote the upgrading of traditional industries and the development of emerging industries.