Connections continue in spite of Covid-19 challenges
CCB Match Plus is a smart matchmaking platform safely connecting businesses that cannot trade easily in today’s disrupted markets
Traditionally, the financial services provided by banks at best synchronize with, and often lag behind, corporate business development. However, with innovations in technology and business models, banks are trying to offer more diversified “front end” services, and to drive the growth of related financial services by providing enterprises with more business opportunities.
CCB Match Plus is one such initiative, launched by China Construction Bank in December last year in the latest attempt by the Chinese banking industry to offer innovative corporate services. As one of the largest banks in China, CCB has assets of more than RMB27 trillion, ranking second in the world in terms of market capitalization. Tian Guoli, chairman of CCB, proposed the bank’s “second development curve” strategy in 2019 – this aims to promote the bank’s transformation from a pure financial product provider to a customer-centric, omni-channel service designer, with the goal of sustainable development in the future.
CCB Match Plus fits into this ambition by helping reduce information asymmetry in cross-border transaction scenarios and lower cross-border transaction costs at the same time. Although economic globalization has continued to deepen over recent years, the lack of effective information exchange is still one of the biggest pain points for companies when it comes to cross-border trade, investment and financing. Through intelligent algorithms and online access, CCB Match Plus unites CCB’s branch offices in 31 countries and regions on six continents to provide a free business information-matching platform for hundreds of thousands of companies through integration of online and offline channels.
For instance, a port operating company in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, may use the platform to procure a crane manufacturer in Sichuan, China – CCB’s team will ensure the authenticity of the identities of both. If the two companies are connected online, the client manager of the local branch of CCB can follow up offline to provide further matching and supporting financial services. In this real-world example, CCB completed the transformation from cross-border payment and credit intermediary to information intermediary.
In just a few months since the launch of Match Plus, about 26,000 customers have used the service around the world.
Since the beginning of this year, Covid-19 has put tremendous pressure on global supply chains, especially in the field of medical and anti-epidemic materials. Adequate medical and anti-epidemic supplies are the basic prerequisite for enterprises to resume work and production, and therefore have become key factors affecting the survival of many enterprises. To help companies cope with this crisis, CCB’s Match Plus platform has launched an online medical portal supporting 14 languages. So far, it has successfully provided trade-matching services for nearly 160 million pieces of epidemic prevention material for medical institutions, enterprises and government departments in 28 countries and regions.
“Match Plus has successfully provided trade-matching services for nearly 130 million pieces of epidemic prevention material”
Working through the crisis
During the epidemic, global trade has seen significant disruption. As a barometer of China’s foreign trade activity, the Canton Fair in June 2020 was held online for the first time, attracting 25,000 enterprises with 1.8 million products. As the first financial services provider to be announced at the Canton Fair, CCB provided exclusive services – online application of financial services, international settlement and financing in multiple currencies, and ways for attendants to connect with global business opportunities and services, through Match Plus.
Recovery in sight
On August 7, the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China released China’s import and export data on trade in goods for the first seven months of 2020. Although it was down 1.7% year-on-year, the decline rate was narrowed down to 1.5 percentage points from the first half of the year. The growth rate of imports and exports in July was 6.5%.
Although Match Plus is a relatively new platform, as a channel for cross-border information flow and as an example of the bank’s strong offline network and unique financial services properties, it provides an example of evolving solutions despite ongoing challenges in banking. CCB hopes that the service will become a significant role model for continued innovation in banking, both in the context of Covid-19 and whatever new obstacles may emerge in the future.