The pandemic has hasten the need to digitally transform businesses to ensure business longevity amidst a contactless world. With this, it gives rise to FinTechs as traditional players like banks would need to relook at their business models to operate digitally due to changing customer behaviours.

These traditional players face many challenges such as the need to streamline operations, remove manual processes, manage costs and amplify security. In this rapidly changing environment, embracing innovation, technology and partnership is vital to remain competitive.

As the CEO of BYFIN (SBI Group), one of the world's largest integrated online financial groups, Mr Min Zhu has more than ten years of experience in financial services and investment. With banco's partnership with BYFIN (SBI Group), both organisations can leverage on each other's expertise to deal with challenges faced in the financial space using technology.

Tell us about yourself and SBI Group

Mr Zhu Min: Hi everyone, I'm Min. I'm based in Hong Kong and the CEO of BYFIN, we're a SBI group company. SBI is a leading online financial group in Japan. Its business covers financial services, investment and healthcare.

Can you share with us why SBI had led in RootAnt's Series A funding?
What synergy do you see with both organisations?

Mr Zhu Min: We see great potential in the applications of blockchain technology in the financial sector. RootAnt has developed solutions using blockchain to deal with the challenges we have in today's supply chain finance sector. We see RootAnt as a strategic investment, we invest group resources in addition to financing. Here in Hong Kong, BYFIN is developing the supply chain finance business together with RootAnt as partners. It is our great pleasure to be able to participate in RootAnt's A round financing as the leading investor.

What opportunities do you see in the global finance sector?

Mr Zhu Min: The pandemic greatly accelerated the digital transformation in the finance sector. With it, more and more clients are using digital platforms to access financial services and RootAnt's banco platform is such an easy to use online platform. Through which, even the smallest suppliers at the lowest tier of the supply chain can have easy access to financing. With it, banco platform has a great potential in the age of digital transformation.

In Hong Kong, where BYFIN is based, what gaps do you see in the SME Financing sector?

Mr Zhu Min: There are more than 34,000 SMEs in Hong Kong and over 50% of these SME owners mentioned that funding is on the top list of their challenges. The rejection ratio of SME financing with banks are very high due to their lack of collateral asset and business track record. The application process with banks can be very time and energy consuming as well. So, these SMEs in Hong Kong are looking for alternatives. BYFIN and RootAnt have been working together to help SMEs unlock their cashflow, and save time and energy to focus on what really matters for their business.

What differentiates BYFIN from the rest of the players in this field?

Mr Zhu Min: We serve who banks don't serve and we offer what banks cannot offer, that is our positioning. The DNA of SBI Group is 'Sound Ethical Values', 'Financial Innovator', 'New Industry Creator', 'Continual Self-Evolution' and 'Fulfill Social Responsibilities'. BYFIN here in Hong Kong, we work by these codes. We thrive to create a better financing environment for those SMEs and make contribution to the society. I think these all, are the things that set us apart from the rest of the players in the field.

Any predictions on key trends to take note in the banking sector in the coming years?

Mr Zhu Min: I'm not a fortune teller, I cannot, you know, forecast the future but I think maybe down the road, you will see bank branches will disappear in the coming years. It's just a guess from me.

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