Can you explain your research?
My primary research interests lie at the intersection of technology and finance. I focus on two main areas - financial technologies, also known as fintech, and technology financing. I’ll explain these two terms.
The rapid development of new technologies have transformed the way the society operates in many senses, particularly for the finance sector.
I’m interested in exploring the financial solutions to support the growth of technology start-ups and to foster social entrepreneurship, which I call technology financing.
I’m also interested in managing financial technologies that bring disruptive changes to the financial market and financial services, such as big data, block chain, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. Specifically, my research focuses on harnessing the technologies to advance financial inclusion, allowing a much wider community to access financial services.
What challenges is your research hoping to tackle?
The growth of fintech has a great impact on China’s economic development. On the positive side, it enables low-income families and micro-/small-sized enterprises to access financial services, driving employment growth and industry innovation. But, due to a lack of effective regulation and management, financial products and services can be overgrown and pose challenges to the economy instead. For example, the peer-to-peer lending industry was not effectively regulated in its early development stage and as a result, many firms collapsed and investors suffered losses.
In a recent paper that I co-published on the European Journal of Finance, we looked into the development, impacts and risks of China’s fintech sector, and proposed policy recommendations for financial regulations.
In the fintech sector, virtual currencies have garnered increasing attention. Focusing on the regulatory challenge associated with virtual currencies, I suggested a flexible policy proposal to the national authorities. The paper was co-published on Financial Regulation Research, a journal of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. I believe my policy advice will help formulate a more effective regulatory mechanism, while keeping virtual currencies the ability to create commercial values continuously.
Technology financing is a topic that I’ve been working on for many years now. Technological innovations can’t be achieved without financial support, however, the traditional Chinese financial system isn’t optimal in fostering disruptive innovations.
In 2017, I co-authored a book, titled Technology Financing: Innovation and Development. Based on comparative case studies and field trips to companies and financial institutions, we proposed a comprehensive financing strategy for start-up companies, and policy recommendations on establishing a technology financing system.
With the technology and trade tensions now mounting between the US and China, my research will focus more on the strategies of cultivating an environment, where technological innovations and financial innovations in China can go hand in hand to mitigate external challenges.
Can you introduce your research teams and projects?
I’m leading three research teams - Centre for Inclusive Finance (CIF), Ningbo Centre for New Structural Economics, and UNNC-NFTZ Blockchain Laboratory.
The CIF was co-established with the Ningbo Branch of People’s Bank of China (PBOC) in 2016, and was the first ever research institution in China launched as a collaboration between the PBOC and a university. By conducting research projects on financial inclusion, fintech and more, the CIF team has made policy advice to drive the development of financial inclusion in Ningbo.
The Ningbo Centre for New Structural Economics is launched as a joint collaboration among the UNNC, the Institute of New Structural Economics at Peking University and the Ningbo Development and Planning Research Institute. We’ve done projects as to how the city of Ningbo can better play its part in the integrated development at Yangtze River Delta, and how to propel the growth of micro- and small sized enterprises in Ningbo.
With the blockchain technology booming in recent years, we established the UNNC-NFTZ Blockchain Laboratory in 2018 with Ningbo Free Trade Zone, to advance the research and development of blockchain-based technologies for use in Business, Finance, Economics and other areas of potential impact. Through collaborations with companies, our lab has developed two software applications with software copyright authorised. They will be further used to strengthen financial risk management and support the growth of technology start-ups.
With support from government, industry and financial institutions, we have more research and knowledge exchange projects in the pipeline to drive the development of fintech and technology financing.
Where would you like to take your research next?
The technology and trade tensions between the US and China are expected to last for likely 10 to 20 years. The topic of how finance and technology sectors should cope with the changing landscape collaboratively is something that I’m really interested in and will be my research focus in the next few years.
My research will focus on answering the questions concerning what the finance sector should do to support the technology sector, and how they can form a cooperative relationship in this adverse environment.
I hope that my research output, whether they are policy advice, consultation for companies or academic opinion, should be of value and be able to offer guidance for future generations. This is the responsibility of our generation and the responsibility of us researchers.