The Strategist

Asian banking and legal industries are shifting to Internet

05/15/2020 - 02:56

Since many companies continue to operate under the quarantine and remote work conditions, some professional tools that previously required personal presence and paper documents become digital. This is particularly noticeable in Asia - now companies receive loans, open accounts and go to court via the Internet.

During the pandemic, not only Zoom and other services for video conferencing and remote work grew in popularity, but special tools and technologies became widespread. They are developed by various organizations, and this activity is on the rise in China and Singapore, writes the Financial Times. The combination of travel restrictions, remote work and the need to continue to work at high speeds resulted in an outbreak of digitalization in the banking and legal sectors.

During the pandemic, the Chinese banking regulator also eased a number of requirements, for example, canceled the need to sign documents offline when opening a bank account. The ability to sign documents remotely - for example, signing by e-mail, sending a photo of a signature or using a platform that verifies electronic signatures - has been available in many countries of Asia for more than ten years. However, some procedures and transactions still require offline signing of documents. In Singapore, online signatures are very common - among other things, they can be used on documents in cooperation with local authorities. Changes are taking place in Japan, too. With the onset of the pandemic, authorities canceled the offline signature requirement for a number of legal documents.

Courts are also moving to online hearings. According to the calculations of the Supreme People’s Court of China, from February 3 to March 20, Chinese courts opened about 550 thousand cases online and conducted more than 110 thousand online hearings.

The Chinese authorities are considering the possibility of concluding transactions on the Internet without paper originals and conducting an online approval process. According to Henry Shi, a partner at Chinese law firm JunHe, this will, among other things, “simplify the investment environment if we can maintain this simpler and more flexible way of working.”