Bank Four Zeros Crucial for Banking Resilience, says Huawei

Jason Cao, CEO of Huawei Digital Finance, speaking at Mobile World Congress (MWC)
Jason Cao, CEO of Huawei Digital Finance, speaking at Mobile World Congress (MWC)
Jason Cao, CEO of Digital Finance at Huawei, explains how zero downtime zero touch, zero trust, and zero wait are essential for the future of banking

Banking is transforming as we step into a digital world, and digital financial services are booming. However, any transformation brings challenges, and financial services are no exception.

Huawei has served more than 3,300 financial customers worldwide, helping them to build resilient infrastructure to accelerate application modernisation, enhance data-driven decisions, and enable business scenario innovation. 

This is essential to accelerating the digital and intelligent transformation journey outlined in Brett King’s award-winning book Bank 4.0: Banking Everywhere, Never at a Bank – that paints a fascinating picture of the future of finance in the next 30 years.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Jason Cao, CEO of Huawei Digital Finance, took Bank 4.0 as inspiration to deliver his own view on how Huawei can work with partners and customers to shape smarter and greener finance through full connectivity and intelligence.

“I suggest Bank Four Zeros as a way to redefine resilience,” Cao told a packed audience at the event.

“We must ensure zero downtime and high availability of financial services, achieve zero-touch operation, ensure zero-trust service and data security, and deliver a zero-wait user experience.

“Bank Four Zeros are crucial for building comprehensive resilience in the digital era. They are paving the way for Non-Stop Banking.”

Speaking exclusively to FinTech magazine, Cao said that while all four Zero scenarios are critical, Zero Downtime is essential, as it is the foundation of the business.

“In recent years, because banking has developed so fast to satisfy customer requirements, I think the capability of this redundancy has not matched customer demand and expectation,” said Cao. 

“That’s why they have problems. No matter if you’re a big bank or small bank, or in a developed country or developing country, all banks are facing this problem and zero downtime right now is a common and critical problem for them all.”

How GaussDB database can deliver zero downtime

Huawei GaussDB – the next-generation distributed database – is an ideal choice for the financial industry to move towards zero downtime.

The result of more than 20 years of research and development by Huawei, it has already proven its superior performance in top banks in China over the past decade.

Bearing in mind the database has been around for 20 years, why is GaussDB only now being promoted to the overseas market?

Cao explains that it was developed and used internally by Huawei in different departments before being actively used by banks in China. Over the years, GaussDB has become more mature and performance has been enhanced.

“What happened in China can provide a very good model to other countries,” he says. “In China, you see the changes there, it’s in a leading position. As transaction numbers grew sharply in the last 10 years, that put extra requirements on the existing architecture and GaussDB enabled the switch to a new architecture.

“We are now seeing this in other countries, and that’s why we feel this new architecture can help banks in those countries.”

Cao talks about King’s Bank 4.0 book, how he has discussed its themes with the influential author, and how that has influenced Huawei’s digital finance strategy and the concept of Banking Everywhere. 

Cao says Banking Everywhere is happening, but it cannot happen overnight.

“In China, it is becoming a reality. The bank is changing from being transaction-based to being engagement-based. This brings big changes to the business model, to the applications and, for sure, to the infrastructure, to the technologies,” says Cao.

“Banking Everywhere means that, from a technology point of view, we have to make sure that any transactions should 100% not result in any problems or risks. It’s not easy. For example, on the Tube in London, how do you deliver 5G to enable transactions? Banking Everywhere is easy to say, but hard to do.”

Cao highlights the high availability and easy migration of GaussDB. He says after GaussDB was deployed in one of the biggest banks in China, the recovery time objective (RTO) was slashed to 120 seconds – a world-leading level. He says Huawei is working on reducing this to just 30 seconds.

At the same time, GaussDB makes migration easier. With a one-stop migration tool, the application development workload can be reduced by 90% during migration from Oracle to GaussDB.

Storage is another core component for achieving high availability, and Huawei storage is growing rapidly – becoming one of the world's top two storage providers in 2023.

Cao cites examples of leading banks from Saudi Arabia to Singapore, and Turkey to Thailand, leveraging Huawei technology to deliver the Four Zeros.

So much has changed in the last five years for the finance industry, so where does Cao predict we will be in another five?

“Some banks say we are in the AI era, some say the intelligent era, some say the open banking era, but a lot of banks still struggle working with a traditional model. So today it is like a multi-generational industry,” he says. 

“On the one hand, exciting things are coming, like Gen AI, and we have to be prepared. We have to be realistic to see what challenges we face today. If a bank is not resilient enough, it’s very hard to embrace Gen AI, or any intelligent opportunities.

“A digital world is coming, but we're also facing a world of uncertainty, so it's important to reshape resilience, whether you're a big bank or a small bank,” says Cao.

“We hope to work together with our customers to meet this challenge, build Four Zeros through our technology, reshape our resilience, and eventually achieve non-stop banking.

“We have learned how to build resilience through five years of struggle, and we are confident that we can create a more resilient world with our customers.”

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