How China is Shaping WealthTech and the Future of Financial Services

By Henri Arslanian

FinTech and RegTech Leader, Hong Kong, PwC

Over the past five years, China has emerged as the global leader in B2C FinTech, not only from an innovation perspective but in terms of adoption as well. China’s large tech firms and FinTech start-ups have transformed entire industries, from payments to peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. But can China also shape the future of the wealth management industry, capturing the mass affluent segment? And can the Chinese model be exported successfully, with innovation from China reshaping how things are done worldwide?

The Wealth Management Opportunity in China: From HNWIs to the Mass Affluent

China is on track to soon become one of the world’s largest markets of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs). In 2015, China was estimated to have 2 million HNWIs; this is projected to double by 2020. During that period, China’s personal investable assets are expected to increase from CNY 113 trillion to CNY 200 trillion (about US$16 trillion to US$29 trillion). Both domestic and global private banks have been trying to capture this opportunity by focusing heavily on both the HNW and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) markets.

But increasingly, they have also begun to target the mass affluent segment, the more than 15 million Chinese consumers with investable assets of between US$100,000 and US$1 million. These are the lesser-known winners of China’s economic boom, who’ve climbed ...

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