Blockchain technology is already being used in a wide range of industries, from financial services to retail and logistics. The first wave of commercial Blockchain applications are expected to be widely available in China in the next year or two. However, companies will still need to earn trust when adopting Blockchain technologies and so will rely on the support of professional assurance and consulting services.
To this end, and to meet the ever-changing needs of clients, PwC China has formed a strategic alliance with BitSE – a Shanghai-based Blockchain start-up. The alliance will combine Blockchain technology and top class professional services to deliver one-stop solutions to financial services firms, government organisations and industry clients.
Blockchain first came to prominence as the underlying technology in virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. Blockchain’s ‘distributed ledger’ technology enables secure transactions between two parties without the need for an intermediary, such as a bank.
Several large corporations in China are keen to use Blockchain technology to improve their global logistics networks, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and oversight of supply chains. The benefits that Blockchain can bring include enhanced efficiency and better protection of key data and Intellectual Property, ultimately delivering higher value to customers worldwide.
“Blockchain is a disruptive technology,” says Andrew Watkins, Chief Technology and Disruption Officer, PwC China and Hong Kong. “Just as the Internet has had a revolutionary impact on culture and commerce since it first emerged for wide-scale use in the mid-1990s, Blockchain is going to be similarly transformative, and will change the way business is conducted across many industries. We are therefore very excited about this alliance with BitSE.”
“In the new world of digital disruption, our clients expect PwC to provide greater trust and confidence around their business model innovation,” says Jim Woods, PwC’s Risk & Regulatory Services Leader for Asia Pacific. “Our alliance with BitSE will ensure that we supplement PwC's market leadership position with a deep technical capability to help our clients design and implement innovative Blockchain solutions.”
With growing demand from businesses for such solutions, PwC expects the first wave of Blockchain applications in China to be available in one to two years, with the market beginning to mature in five years. Due to the more complex regulatory environment around financial services, PwC predicts that other industry sectors may take the lead in the application of Blockchain technology in China – demonstrating its broader potential.
PwC believes that building trust among business partners, customers, regulators, and even board directors, will be critical for the successful adoption of Blockchain technology. Companies should consider conducting cyber-security tests and other risk assessments to help achieve this.
“Blockchain technology has a wide range of potential applications,” says BitSE CEO Qian Dejun. “We expect more and more clients will focus on Blockchain and start to use it in their industries in the near future. PwC has extensive expertise and advisory experience, which will help us to promote these new solutions in the market.”