December 10, 2020

SFF 2020: Resilience During a Pandemic with Forest Lin

Resilience Series: During the Singapore Fintech Festival, CFTE will be covering sessions related to the themes of Resilience, Agility, Innovation and Culture Changes. Topics covered in the new Intrapreneurship course, launched by CFTE. In this conversation, Forest Lin and Raymund Chao shared how Tencent has been building Resilience for many years and how a clear Culture around customer centricity, customer protection, as well as high internal probity standards, helped them navigate through the crisis.

If you would like to know more on how CFTE is working with organisations to engage their employees in digital transformation, reach out to us here .


Earlier this week during the Singapore Fintech Festival, President of Tencent Financial Technology Forest Lin joined Raymund Chao, Asia Pacific and China Chairman of PwC, in an engaging Fireside Chat on how Fintech companies, or more specifically Tencent Financial Technologies, were able to stay afloat and even thrive during the adverse time of the COVID-19 pandemic this year.

Worldwide Crisis

Since the start of 2020, companies across industries all over the world have been adversely affected by the wrath of COVID-19, with businesses forced to move entirely online after the lockdown of cities, those unable to cope being shut down, and companies innovating their business models in order to make ends meet. However, one of the few victors that have emerged from this pandemic are Fintech companies, such as Tencent Financial. Tencent’s payments services are embedded in the WeChat messaging system, with over 1.2 billion active users currently. The pandemic has compelled the growth of Tencent Financial tremendously since the situation in China started to stabilise in late-March.

Tencent Financial’s heavy involvement in e-commerce and cross-border transactions in China have contributed significantly to their resilience during COVID-19. Since the growth of online businesses and spike in transactions, Tencent was able to leverage on the growing demand for their services and sustain their business volume sufficiently.

Impact of COVID-19

During the conversation with Forest Lin, he shared that Tencent was similarly affected, with China being the epicenter of the outbreak, hence they had to shift their operations online with all employees working remotely from home. Their payment volumes still took a hit by 75% in Q1 2020, but subsequently recovered within a few months. Forest was a strong advocate of prioritising commercial and social responsibility, above making profits and generating sales.

Qualities of Resilience

It was no secret that Tencent’s ability to maintain such resilience during the crisis was a result of years of long term accumulation. From the onset, they have been developing a reliable and trustworthy infrastructure which will be able to sustain large volumes of online payments, and improving their technical capabilities that can be fully sustained online.

Tencent has a clear business model, which is to connect their users seamlessly with financial institutions, such as banks and asset managers. This was pivotal in ensuring that during the pandemic, the blow on the market would be diversified and the impact would hence be dampened. A flexible and nimble company culture also greatly contributed to their resilience, as they were able to adapt to the unique market conditions and respond quickly to the demands of the masses.

Challenges Involving Trust

The increasing trend of dependence on financial technologies have also led to the increased concern over the protection of data security and personal privacy. Forest shared his company’s vision of being user-centric and doing “tech-for-good”, reaching out to the community and ensuring that users are not bearing the risks while businesses reap the profits. The long-term vision of Tencent is ultimately to prioritise risk management and compliance before profits.

For the Chinese tech giant, it all boils down to 3 fundamental goals: being user-centric, ensuring user protection, as well as control and compliance. Being user-centric translates to making decisions not based on short term profits for the company, but rather long term value enjoyed by users. Ensuring user protection involves elaborate implementations of privacy compliance programmes, data protection officers across multiple platforms, etc. Control and compliance focuses on keeping things clean across all levels, having strict regulations for anti-money laundering and other illegal activities, so as to preserve the trusted relationship between users and service providers.

If you would like to know more on how CFTE is working with organisations to engage their employees in digital transformation, reach out to us here .


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