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Huawei’s W. Genovese on the User’s Perspective, Fintech and 5G
COVID-19 and China
Image credit: Shutterstock

EqualOcean held an exclusive interview with William Genovese, Vice President of Corporate Strategy Planning for Banking and Financial Markets at Huawei. We discussed the status quo of the fintech industry, the promise of the new generation of wireless technology and how the Chinese electronics juggernaut is leveraging the latter to disrupt the former. Below are the key insights from our conversation.

In this chapter, we touch upon fintech and 5G from the users' perspective. Check out the rest of the interview: 

5G, Its Value and Potential
COVID-19 and 5G
5G and Fintech
Huawei and 5G


Three consumption buckets of fintech

“People use financial services for three major needs.

We need to pay for things and our bills and that is the bottom line. Companies thereby have to think about what types of payment activities are performing from mobile devices. How many times are users jumping from browsers or websites to websites? Is it just a single jump? For instance, PayPal is embedded in Amazon or other e-commerce platforms, so you do not need to jump around and launch different browsers.

Now for a mobile device, if users have to jump around websites, that is a pain because nobody wants to do that. If I have fifteen windows open and then it starts to interfere with the performance of the device. Payment services are essential: users need to buy stuff. If people are undergoing quarantine in many countries, they would like to buy things from mobile platforms.

If people do not have enough money, they need to borrow, which is the second bucket (credit and lending). Today we're not jumping in our cars, driving down the street to a local bank branch, filling out a bunch of papers and then getting back to the car and going home and waiting for five to seven days to get a response on a loan application. That is ridiculous and is not going to happen nowadays. So if a company can do digital onboarding for customers for microlending or traditional lending, whether it is a mortgage, a credit card or even microfinance – that is where 5G further comes in as a digital accelerator and provides optimization for mobile devices.”

The last piece in terms of consumption is the protection of financial assets, the storing of money and protecting it. Can the consumers do mobile deposits, money transfers between their bank accounts and their family members’ or friends’ from a mobile device? Can they take out an insurance policy and protect the financial assets? Can they invest in the stock market from a mobile device? ‘Digital mobile’ touches everything that I said in terms of the three buckets of financial services.”

Differences by geography

“Things are going to be different in terms of demographics. But geography is even more important, in terms of the existing infrastructure. In China, the United States and Western Europe, this upgrade is not a big issue in terms of adoption, usage and investment comparatively speaking to true emerging markets. But if we are looking into emerging markets, where there are no historical infrastructures of 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G, there is no point of reference for network generations before 5G in these locations.

Emerging markets in many cases will go straight to 5G, and they need to for financial inclusion, as there are limited traditional financial services and infrastructures in some of these locations, hence the need for the latest in mobile technologies with 5G, so the people can transact financially from their phones”

Growing expectations

“Let’s go back to the mapping of the three functions. It is not so much in payment, but as you move more into the financial services, offering spaces in the growing expectations from users, to do more than people normally do in engaging with financial institutions or even e-commerce platforms. Users’ expectations are going to grow, than to just make a digital payment. They want to borrow money digitally, invest and insure their assets – all from their mobile device.”             

Calling for data privacy standards

“Opening up additional areas for advanced biometrics is providing a more secure environment, not less. I would like to take that step further to even the simplistic transaction, in which there is not much difference between 4G and 5G. Right now, there is a lot of work and thinking generated from China, the United States and Europe, about what level of transaction, and what security technology are we going to put into to protect payments, deposits and lending. Whether you are making a payment, borrowing money, or depositing money to bank accounts from your mobile devices, laptops or smart watches, the problem with the security is that there are limited or no standards in terms of what technologies to use for what types of transaction security and financial amounts.

Some merchants would say that you can obtain your facial recognition to pay. Other merchants would say that you do not have to use facial recognition and please use your fingerprints. Different standards are still all over the place. We are using the QR code in China, but that is not the only standard. You can still use cash, or in some cases you can use fingerprints and Alipay offers facial recognition for transactions.”

Editor: Luke Sheehan

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