As a senior machine Intelligence expert, Jintong oversees the company’s AI program, called ‘ET Brain’. The adaptive technology platform for practical applications spans across a host of topics, such as city, environment, financial, medical and Industrial Brain. He has developed a range of projects including Macau Smart City, Beijing Capital International Airport Aviation Brain and Trinasolar Industry Brain.

Featured Interview: Jintong Zhu, Director of Big Data International Business, Alibaba Cloud Alibaba is highly customer centric. What are the elements of processes that Alibaba has harnessed to ensure the company is driving a quality customer service experience?

One of our products – Alipay – is trying to resolve the payment issues for our 400 million online customers. With this, the aim is to create a faster and simpler payment method for our customers in China. From another perspective, we found the merchants were having difficulties setting up online stores, as they have to provide a lot of personal information to get a loan from the bank. So, we wanted to see how we could help them with financial assistance and how we could control the risk. This then led to the creation of our own credit assistance which enables us to offer microloans within the space of three minutes. This is very customer centric and is aimed at helping small businesses.

Do you believe traditional banks will be able to compete with your innovative solutions?

I think the banks are also trying to create their own online payment methods. The key to competing with these online payment companies is the customer experience. For example, if there is a three or four step process to finish an online payment, people will select an easier way. With Alipay, you only need to show your barcode to the merchants, and they then just scan the barcode and the whole payment is finished. I believe that’s the key. If the banks can shorten the payment process and the payment steps, then I think they can compete with these payment companies.

There is a growing demand for reliable, scalable cloud services among businesses of all shapes and sizes. To meet that demand, Alibaba Cloud aims to build an Internet of Things (IoT) network with 10 billion connected devices within the next five years. Can you talk about this in more detail?

Alibaba Cloud itself is focusing on the IoT platforms and the IoT industrial standards. From a technical perspective, there are lots of IoT networks we can choose from. Alibaba Cloud is focusing on building ecosystems – and the end-to-end ecosystem – from the device, to the network, to the cloud platform and to the IoT applications. We are focused on the IoT platforms and cooperating with our partners to provide the IoT sensors, devices and the IoT networks. Our partners take care of that and we take care of the platforms.

These insights are drawn from the TAS Banking Industry Report 2018. Read the full report here.