Thai and Chinese experts seek closer bilateral cooperation on fintech
A group of Thai and Chinese experts, academics and entrepreneurs made a strong case for enhancing mutual support and collaboration to improve the fintech industry and help sustain growth in the digital economy era.
Ben Shenglin, dean of Zhejiang University International Business School, said during his opening speech that fintech is playing an increasingly major role in the current economy. In these few years, both government and private sectors from China and Thailand have progressively built the system and infrastructure needed for the development of the digital economy. Fintech is one of those efforts.
However, to sustain the growth of fintech, there is more work to be done to improve the overall ecosystem including technology, innovation, security and regulation. And one of the key success factors is more deep collaboration and data sharing between countries, he said.
"The aim of today’s forum is to discuss and find ways where both China and Thailand can work together to develop not only for the two countries but also for the whole region,” Ben Shenglin said.
Yang Hong, a former People's Bank of China official, said Beijing has made fintech one of the pillars of the national development plan for the next three years. Although many things in the industry have improved, there are new challenges to handle, especially in security, privacy and regulation aspects.
Michael Sung, a professor at Zhejiang University International Business School, pointed out that working together means the chance to discover proper solutions. Both China and Thailand have to come up with high-quality technology, advanced affordable innovation, transparent regulation and a fair, accessible ecosystem for all.
Chonladet Khemarattana, president of Thai Fintech Association, accepted that the Thai fintech industry is a few steps behind when compared with China. The pain point is that the country's digital development is only concentrated in urban areas and is with the big operators more than the smaller entrepreneurs. And fintech appears to be a key solution to that obstacle.
He added that apart from international cooperation and support, Thailand now needed to educate people about financial and digital literacy. Thai citizens have to be well-prepared for fintech and digital technology.
Archari Suppiroj, director of Fintech Department at the Bank of Thailand (BOT), said that in the past few years the government has focused on strengthening digital infrastructure along with educating people in order to add more players to help support the country's competitiveness in the digital economy.
As for the cooperation with China, Archari said that BOT has some plans to launch a pilot testing programme of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in which China, as one of the world's leading players in CBDC development and application, can help Thailand with some concrete operations.
After running a business in Thailand for many years, Yunna Wang, country leader in Thailand at Lianlian International, said Thai fintech has improved a lot but there are more areas needing improvement, particularly in the stability of infrastructure, data digitalisation and security aspect.
Pawee Jenweeranon, visiting scholar of ZIBS & Representative from the Faculty of Law, Thammasat University, added that improving fintech would help Thailand break out from a middle-income nation to a high-income country.
"We require an advanced ecosystem of digital, diffusion of technology, great foundation in infrastructure, supportive measures for the digital economy and accessible training programme for talents,” Pawee said.