Navigating Banking in the Age of Cloud and AI


At a recent conference, Mr. Kunte Chen, Chief Digital Transformation Officer of Huawei Digital Finance BU, delivered a keynote speech titled “Banking in the Age of Cloud and AI.” His insights shed light on the significant transformations taking place in the banking industry, driven by technological advancements and the need to adapt in an increasingly digital world.

The Evolving Landscape of Banking

Mr. Chen highlighted that the banking sector is undergoing profound changes due to innovations in AI and cloud computing. He recounted his experiences as the former CIO at CMB, where he faced the growing competition from FinTech companies. These companies dominated the payment sector and ventured into various financial services, such as microfinance and money market fund investments, delivered through mobile apps with real-time updates.

To stay competitive, CMB developed a mobile app that allowed users to access the homepage without entering their account number and password, providing seamless browsing until a transaction required verification. This required building a real-time fraud detection model that processed requests within 200 milliseconds, a significant technical challenge at the time.

The Shift to AI and Cloud Computing

In the current AI age, the landscape has shifted. Pre-trained models like GPT have revolutionized the industry, making it more accessible and cost-effective. These models allow banks to leverage pre-trained data, reducing the need for extensive in-house data science teams. Fine-tuning these models for specific functions can be done quickly and efficiently, offering significant advantages over traditional methods.

Advancements in AI chips and cloud computing have further enhanced these capabilities. With deep learning and vector databases, AI solutions have become more powerful and efficient, enabling banks to serve a broader customer base with greater accuracy and speed.

The Power of Data and Innovation

Mr. Chen emphasized the importance of data in the AI and cloud computing era. Investing in data capabilities is crucial, despite the traditionally conservative approach of the banking sector. Lean innovation, trial and error, and empowering business people to use data and AI directly can drive better customer service and operational efficiency in the digital age.

He also noted the shift in the banking landscape, where services were once separated by geography, with large nationwide banks and smaller regional ones. Today, digital and incumbent banks coexist with FinTech companies that rapidly adopt new technologies. This shift requires traditional banks to focus on high-net-worth customers and wealth management while adapting quickly to digital operations.

The Suggestions for Banking

In conclusion, Mr. Chen highlighted the need for incumbent banks to maintain their trustworthy brands while empowering customers with digital services. Data is crucial in the AI and cloud computing age, and investing in these capabilities is essential for future success. By embracing innovation and leveraging technology, banks can redefine their markets, innovate their products, and improve their services.

Mr. Chen's insights provide a clear roadmap for banks navigating the age of cloud and AI, emphasizing the importance of adaptation, innovation, and strategic investment in technology.

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