Hong Kong and Shenzhen pioneer cross-border credit data verification

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In a fresh move, Hong Kong and Shenzhen have embarked on a pioneering effort to test cross-border information verification, laying the foundation for seamless data exchange across the Greater Bay Area (GBA). This initiative, spearheaded by WeBank, the Shenzhen-based virtual lender, marks the first phase of a pilot trial focusing on the financial industry.

The pilot program targets the cross-border verification of credit reports by credit reference agencies and commercial banks. WeBank’s technology underpins the data-flow platform, ensuring the secure and efficient exchange of critical business data. This move aligns with China’s broader strategy to establish a robust legal and regulatory framework for screening data entering and leaving the mainland border.

Despite the potential benefits of enhanced data verification, concerns linger about the impact of stringent requirements, such as security assessments, on Hong Kong’s role as a base for foreign investors managing mainland operations. However, the new data-verification platform aims to balance these concerns by testing Beijing’s plan to monitor cross-border data flows without disrupting normal business operations.

Key players in this initiative include Shenzhen Credit Services and Nova Credit in Hong Kong, which will use the platform to verify corporate credit reports. Additionally, Baihang Credit Services in Shenzhen and Fusion Bank in Hong Kong will verify credit information, while Bank of East Asia will conduct credit checks for customers at its mainland and Hong Kong branches.

This pilot program is a significant step towards building the infrastructure needed to support cross-border digital services, making life and work more convenient for residents and companies looking to expand their businesses. It also reflects the broader vision of the GBA, a scheme aimed at integrating Hong Kong, Macau, and nine cities in southern Guangdong province into a cohesive economic and business hub.

The data-verification platform, built on distributed data-transfer protocols and the mainland blockchain platform FISCO BCOS, ensures the secure and efficient verification of data using hash values, unique digital fingerprints assigned to data. Crucially, the platform does not transfer or store cross-border data, ensuring data privacy and security.

Looking ahead, the program is expected to expand to cover more sectors, including cross-border healthcare and daily-life services. This pioneering effort underscores the commitment of Hong Kong and Shenzhen to drive innovation and collaboration in the digital age, setting a precedent for cross-border data cooperation within the GBA and beyond.

(Source: Bastille Post Global | SCMP | Hong Kong Monetary Authority)

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