WeBank, the digital bank of China’s Internet giant Tencent, has signed a collaboration agreement with the Macao Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT), an initiative established by the Macao government, over the development of smart city projects on the areas of infrastructure, public services, government administration, and talent training.
Under the agreement, the two parties will collaborate on fintech projects to promote the “futuristic urban development” of the Macao SAR leveraging blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, cloud computing and other technologies, to enhance the science and technology capabilities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
“In this collaboration, we will utilize innovative technologies such as blockchain as a fulcrum to strengthen the technological innovation capabilities of the [Macao] SAR government, to promote the development of the smart city, and to benefit people’s livelihood through science and technology,” Ma Chi Ngai, president of Administration Committee of FDCT, said in a statement.
“Through the strong collaboration and mutual support, we will take full advantage the Greater Bay Area’s strength in technological innovation to inject new vitality into the region […] and develop [the Macao] economy.”
Henry Ma, executive vice president and CIO of WeBank, said in a speech that the two parties will jointly explore new models of cooperation between the public and private sectors. He expects the partnership to provide “a meaningful reference for all enterprises and individuals committed to the development of the Greater Bay Area.”
The first collaborative project will be based on WeIdentify, an entity identity authentication and data exchange solution which leverages blockchain technology. WeBank will provide technical support for e-government services in Macao and focus on enhancing the service experience of Macao residents.
WeBank has been exploring blockchain and distributed ledger technology since 2015. In 2016, the company started expanding its blockchain implementation after initiating the Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium. The consortium has since developed dozens of applications covering finance, supply chains, intellectual property management, all based on its open source blockchain platform FISCO Blockchain Open Source.
WeBank unveiled in September 2018 plans to build a blockchain-based business ecosystem. One of the company’s major applications of blockchain technology is its interbank reconciliation platform for its micro-loan product Weilidai, integrated into Tencent’s popular social networking app WeChat.
By the end of August 2018, 15 million interbank reconciliations had taken place through its blockchain platform with three banking partners since going live in August 2016.
WeBank’s partnership with the Macao government follows a research collaboration agreement the company signed with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in January. The collaboration focuses on opening a research center aimed at helping customers manage their finances in real-time wherever they.
NTU research scientists and engineers from WeBank will also study how to provide personalized wealth management advice to customers, among other projects, in the five-year partnership. Technologies including blockchain and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) will come under the microscope as well.