[Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Wang Xuhang, founder of Zozu Group Limited. Zozu Group Limited is a gold sponsor at LendIt Fintech USA 2018, which will take place on April 9-11, 2018 in San Francisco.]
As the top event in Fintech field, Lendit Fintech has attracted many experts and business leaders who make in-depth analysis and discussion in this emerging industry. As a newcomer, I want to talk about fintech from the perspective of an ordinary citizen.
The headquarters of Alibaba is in Hangzhou, which is the first cashless city of China and even the world. So is Zozu Group Limited, the fintech enterprise I founded. Thanks to Alipay invented by Alibaba, the city life in Hangzhou is very convenient. Almost all transactions involving money, important ones such as bulk buying and abroad trip ordering, or small ones such as metro ticketing and breakfast paying, turn into easy tasks with a smart phone.
Obviously, electronic payment is the most basic part of fintech, and it contacts all levels of the population. Thus, the demand and dependence for fintech was evoked spontaneously and unconsciously. The same scene was seen when the credit cards came for the first a few years. The difference is that credit cards can only raise the financial need of a small group of people, while the demand for fintech is almost universal. In Hangzhou, even beggars should display their QR codes, which is convenient to receive alms, since many people are accustomed to not carrying cash with them.
Therefore, we firmly believe in the future development of fintech in China. We can draw a conclusion from former internet development that through the advancement of technology and connecting the masses in a certain field will lead to the leapfrog development of the industry. Two years ago, when we founded Zozu Financial (predecessor of Zozu Group Limited), I put forward the period theory of internet development: Internet 1.0 is the interconnection of information; 2.0 is social connectivity; 3.0 is the interconnection of goods; and finally, internet 4.0 is the interconnection of financial connectivity.
In China, there are outstanding examples in all three periods, such as web portals including Sina, Sohu and Netease, and then Tencent and Alibaba(Taobao). Each of them has achieved great success in their respective stage. Today, Alibaba and Tencent have even gone beyond the Internet to become representatives of China’s economic development and innovation. Of course, the two companies have also made handsome returns for investors from around the world.
Perhaps a lot of people will ask “where will the next Alibaba be born?”
I dare not say that fintech will give rise to a giant like Alibaba. But if China has a similar giant in the near future, it will surely be born in the fintech field. In addition to the aforementioned Internet 4.0, there is another important reason that China’s financial sector is still in the process from regulation to open-up.
In China, Alibaba and Tencent compete fiercely in many areas. Alongside their influence and investment in numerous internet companies, they greatly squeezed the living and development space of late-comers. However, in the field of fintech, there is still plenty of room for start-ups. Several start-ups that are not huge at the moment have done well in various areas of fintech, but they are not known to outsiders. Maybe one day, one of them will become another Alibaba, known by all. Let’s wait and see.