Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has launched an Innovation Lab in Hong Kong as it looks forward to partnering up with fintech companies in Europe and Asia. The Bank is also planning for a London-based lab later this year. These follow the success of the Bank’s lab in Sydney. The main goal of CBA is to use innovation as a way of connecting startup companies, employees and customers with the latest developments in the fintech sector.
The Hong Kong Lab will comprise of three main zones: an incubation garage space, a collaboration hub and a usability room. These 3 zones are where the generating of ideas, as well as the collaboration and experimentation will take place. The incubation garage space is where project teams will work together to bring ideas to life. The collaboration hub is where developers will collaborate with clients to identify customized solutions, discover challenges and experiment with prototypes. The usability room is where products will be tested live to clients.
Kelly Rosmarin Bayer, CBA’s Group Executive, said that they decided to establish Asia’s first innovation lab in Hong Kong because of its strong entrepreneurial culture, its well-established financial sector, in addition to its closeness to China. Therefore, the lab will enable them to collaborate with brilliant minds around the capital’s accelerator, university, government, fintech and startup communities. This will facilitate further development of innovative and creative solutions for CBA’s clients.
Kelly insisted that CBA wants to partner up with fintech disruptors, instead of competing with them. She added that in just 18 months since the launch of the Sydney lab, it has received over 40,000 guests. She is optimistic that the Hong Kong lab will receive similar numbers. One of the successful projects that arose from Sydney lab is the new loyalty app, which the bank has launched in the shopping centers of Westfield.
Paul Tighe, Hong Kong’s Australian Consul-General, said that the Australian Government’s readiness to promote innovation was demonstrated by last December’s launch of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. He added that the launch of CBA’s Hong Kong Innovation Lab was an indicator of people’s determination to face future challenges.