Three local Chinese commercial banks have joined Swift’s global payments innovation initiative (gpi), bringing the number of Chinese banks involved to 16, the most in the world, according to Xinhua.

The new trio are Yinzhou Bank and Bank of Ningbo in eastern China’s Zhejiang province; and the Bank of Jiangsu, in the eastern Jiangsu province (and just south of Zhejiang).

Daphne Huang, head of Swift in China, says: “All the three banks are important regional commercial banks in China. The expanding presence of Chinese banks taking part will facilitate Chinese companies to ‘go global’ and in ‘Belt and Road’ building,”

Belt and Road refers to China’s strategy to get more connectivity and co-operation between Eurasian countries.

As Banking Technology reported in February, a range of major global transaction banks went live with gpi. Swift said at the time the new scheme promises to deliver greater speed, transparency and end to end tracking in international payments. It was first announced by Swift at its annual Sibos conference in 2015.

Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) are some of the names that have already joined the initiative. According to Xinhua, together they represent an estimated 80% of Chinese cross-border payments.

Swift’s gpi has over 110 banks signed up, including almost all Belt and Road countries.

In May, Swift unveiled the “industry’s first ever cross-border payments tracker” and more than 20 transaction banks are using or implementing the gpi service, with another 50 in the implementation pipeline.

Romance of the three kingdoms

Away from Swift, there are plenty more stories on China’s fintech scene.

In June, the Chinese government set out its bold vision to become a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) by 2030.

A month before that, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set up a fintech committee, aimed at strengthening financial research, planning and co-ordination.

While in April, Temenos said it was looking to conquer the core banking software markets of China and Japan. In China, the target segment is city commercial banks, said Martin Frick, head of APAC at Temenos.

Banking Technology Awards 2017 are now open for entry!

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Deadline for submitting the nominations is 25 August 2017.