China's tech capabilities are evident in a number of areas, particularly e-commerce. Brian Caplen looks at what the county needs to do to demonstrate its technological might on a global scale.

China's breakneck development was achieved using 'borrowed technology'. Now the country is at a point where it needs to have its own technology to move forward. Can it supply this?

While some think that it is US firms doing all the running on the tech frontier, Piyush Gupta, CEO of Singapore's DBS Group, said in a keynote speech at Sibos that many Chinese companies were now leading the tech race. "[JPMorgan chairman] Jamie Dimon said in his annual report that Silicon Valley is coming. I can tell you the Chinese are here," he said.

Mr Gupta illustrated the point with several telling references to fast-growing Chinese companies in the e- commerce and finance space such as Alibaba, Alipay and WeBank. Alibaba, for example, started a Singles Day to push sales that transact $9.4bn of business – way more than the equivalent Cyber Monday in the US. In just eight months Alipay, the payment network that supports Alibaba, grew Yu'ebao to be the fourth largest money market fund in the world. WeBank is making big strides in using voice and facial recognition to identify customers.

According to the World Payments Report 2015, transaction volumes of mobile payments in China grew by 170% in 2014 to reach 4.5 billion, and on Alipay mobile payments accounted for 54% of transactions in the first 10 months of 2014.

As with other forms of infrastructure, China is able to leapfrog older systems and introduce the latest and the best technology. This gives it a huge leg up in economic development terms. But it arguably still needs an original breakthrough of the magnitude of an Amazon, Apple or Google to really demonstrate that a new development era has arrived.

Brian Caplen is the editor of The Banker.

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