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Lechi Zhang

Lechi Zhang is responsible for member relations at the SME Finance Forum. Prior to this role, he worked with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Lechi also has SME banking and private equity experiences in both Asia and America.
SME Finance Forum's immersion program: Visit to Yillion Bank, a new digital-first bank in the West

SME Finance Forum's immersion program: Visit to Yillion Bank, a new digital-first bank in the West

Jul 24, 2019

China's banking industry has traditionally been dominated by state-owned financial institutions. Even the smaller banks have roots going back to provincial or municipal governments. In recent years, however, Beijing has started to issue banking licences to private players. A new kind of digital-first bank, sometimes referred to as a 'neobank' in the West, has quickly emerged in China. Yillion Bank is one of it and is the only one headquartered in Northeast China. Just like WeBank is owned by Tencent and MyBank was created by Ant Financial (Alibaba affiliated), Yillion is nearly 40% owned by eCommerce giant Meituan, the Chinese equivalent of Groupon.

The SME Finance Forum members had an opportunity to learn about Yillion Bank during the Forum's immersion program on June 10. During the visit to this neobank's Beijing office, 17 members gathered in depth knowledge about an innovative aspect of the bank’s operations. Leveraging Meituan's mass user data, Yillion is able to create accurate borrower personas and extend credit on the eCommerce platform instantly. Its Open Banking 3.0 strategy also intends to offer 3rd party much better integration with supreme SDK and API services. They have partnered with almost every leading tech company in the country and helped them provide financial services.     

The digital-first bank has plan to establish a fintech lab not just for its business in China but also for attracting successful international peers to participate. The Forum's members had a great discussion with the President and his team at Yillion. Both are looking forward to more collaboration going forward.   

The Forum also hosted a regional Immersion Program to ICBC and JD Digits in Beijing on June 10 and 11.