New World Collaborates with ASTRI to Create Hong Kong’s First Property-Purchase Blockchain Platform With BOCHK as First Participating Bank Saving Time and Resources in a PropTech Smart City with Property-Purchase 2.0

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New World Collaborates with ASTRI to Create Hong Kong’s First Property-Purchase Blockchain Platform With BOCHK as First Participating Bank Saving Time and Resources in a PropTech Smart City with Property-Purchase 2.0

(20 February 2019, Hong Kong) New World Development Company Limited (NWD) today announces the creation of Hong Kong’s first property-purchase blockchain platform, in collaboration with Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited (ASTRI). Bank of China (Hong Kong) (BOCHK) is the first bank to participate and apply the new platform to its services. Advanced blockchain technology allows the platform to provide an all-in-one support service to buyers, banks and related bodies. With the collaboration, PropTech (Property Technology) is the breakthrough that will fundamentally reshape Hong Kong’s real estate industry, saving time and resources in the property-buying process. First-time buyers will soon enjoy a fast and convenient user experience in the new era of Property-Purchase 2.0, coming on-stream in the second quarter of 2019.

Building on the success of FinTech in the financial sector, PropTech heralds a revolution in Hong Kong’s real estate industry. Mr. Adrian Cheng, Executive Vice-chairman and General Manager of NWD, said, “In the past 30 years, the real estate market has very rarely seen high technology introduced into the purchasing process. Traditionally, buyers, real estate developers, banks and law firms all work separately - until now, there has been no one-stop platform to connect all parties. Today, NWD and ASTRI have created the first and brand-new cross-sector platform, with BOCHK as the first participating bank. The new PropTech platform’s greatest advantage is to open up the entire real estate industry chain; it also marks the first implementation of blockchain technology into the real estate industry. This is a landmark in revolutionising the traditional model while remaining fully in sync with the government’s vision in creating a smart city and a new era of PropTech.”

Hugh Chow, Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI, said, “Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT – also known as Blockchain technology) could fundamentally change the dynamics of the property sector – making it more efficient, resilient and reliable. Blockchain is a major focus area within ASTRI’s overall R&D efforts – catering to FinTech applications and other industrial sectors. We are pleased to work with New World Development in leveraging Blockchain technology, relying on PropTech as a strong boost to the innovation-led growth of Hong Kong’s property sector. It will help to enhance the operational efficiency of developers, bring convenience and security to consumers and benefit the entire ecosystem of the property sector.”

Mrs Ann Kung, Deputy Chief Executive of BOCHK, said, “BOCHK is committed to supporting and driving the development of financial technology in order to provide convenient services for the general public. NWD has collaborated with ASTRI to introduce the first property-purchase blockchain platform in Hong Kong, which helps enhance customer experience by offering a seamless integration of mortgage services in our customers' property purchase journey. We are delighted to be the first bank in Hong Kong to use the platform. Going forward, we will continue to drive innovation and promote customer-oriented Fintech services.”

The revolutionary advantage of integrating blockchain technology into the property-buying platform is that it allows an unprecedented reduction of time and work between signing the provisional agreement and finalising the deal. The one-stop blockchain platform can save up to 8 hours on a transaction by integrating all the time-consuming intermediary steps: the filling-in of long and complex application documents, the tedious back-and-forth between banks and lawyers, and the time-consuming research into information about mortgage loans. Moreover, the one-stop platform benefits service providers and saves around 47 hours of work. The entire industry chain will save around 55 hours in total.

Six Key Advantages of Combining PropTech and Blockchain Technology

1. 24/7 Streamlined Service with no Restrictions on Time or Location

With the aid of the new high-end encrypted network, buyers, property developers, banks and related bodies will break away from traditional procedures and will benefit from the seamless integration of each element in the whole industry chain. Completely free from location restrictions, buyers will be able to enjoy a far faster and more user-friendly service with easy access to all information, also benefitting from regular status updates on mortgage applications and procedures.

2. Saving 6 Hours in Mortgage Application Procedures

First-time buyers are usually directly involved in comparing mortgage proposals from at least four banks, a process which requires repetitive, complex and extensive paper work. The blockchain platform will send the purchaser’s authorised, encrypted and digitally signed provisional agreement to the selected banks, saving buyers at least six hours of following up with the different banks, and thus dramatically shortening the time spent in the application process.

3. Instant Intelligence - Keeping Buyers on Track

First-time buyers have to sign legal documents and complete payments in a given time-frame. It is easy to miss transfer deadlines or leave out certain steps, and this can lead to unnecessary loss and delay. Buyers also need to follow up with lawyers to get updates on status, each transaction needing at least 15 phone calls on average, thus resulting in considerable inconvenience to buyers. The blockchain platform incorporates procedural notifications to remind buyers of important dates such as the settlement of deposits, key agreement dates, and final submission of formal paperwork. The new platform allows a brand-new hassle-free purchase experience for all customers, where buyers can easily access instant updates and relevant information, saving around 2 hours during the process.

4. Quick Digital Verification of Buyer’s Information

Under the old model, developers, banks and related bodies each needed to input the buyers’ information and verify it manually and separately. All information required painstaking input and verification by hand. But in the new system, buyers can authorise banks and related bodies to access their securely encrypted information through the blockchain platform. This can drastically reduce time and procedures, making the process far more efficient.

5. Environmentally Friendly and Paperless Procedures

In the past, whether for bank mortgage application, a lawyer's preparatory document, or a developer's progress report, if buyers were applying mortgages with four different banks, it was necessary to print a large number of documents involving at least 120 sheets of paper. With the introduction of the blockchain platform, all parties can reduce unnecessary document printing, and the entire process become far more environmentally friendly, while saving precious time and resources.

6. Open Up More Exciting Possibilities for the Real Estate Industry

NWD is active in reforming traditional industries. Last year, we created a brand-new online registration service for first-time buyers. We introduced initial deposit by credit card to replace cheque payment, thus eliminating wasted time for buyers forced to wait in bank queues. In these ways and more, our blockchain platform will reshape the whole real estate industry and establish a new era: Property-Purchase 2.0.

BOCHK is the first bank to participate in the property-purchase blockchain platform in Hong Kong. NWD invites other banks to join the platform so that a wider range of mortgage plans can be offered to new NWD property buyers, satisfying their diverse needs more effectively.

Safe and Reliable Blockchain Technology

Blockchain is an innovative technology. It utilises a distributed system to verify each transaction so that transfers are guaranteed to be safe and secure. Information held on a blockchain exists as a database, shared by buyers, sellers, banks and lawyers. The records are truly public, transparent and traceable so it is difficult for a transaction record to be corrupted. Information security is thereby greatly enhanced.

About New World Development

Founded in 1970, New World Development Company Limited (“The Group”, Hong Kong stock code: 00017) was publicly listed in Hong Kong in 1972 and is a constituent stock of the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index. A premium brand infused with a unique personality best defined by The Artisanal Movement, New World Group’s core business areas include property development, infrastructure and services, retail, and hotels and serviced apartments, with a total asset value of HK$481.5 billion as at 30 June 2018. The Group’s two listed companies are NWS Holdings Limited (61%), and New World Department Store China Limited (75%). New World China Land Limited is wholly owned by the Group.

About ASTRI

Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited (ASTRI) was set up by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2000 with the mission of enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness in technology-based industries through applied research. ASTRI’s core R&D competence in various areas is organised under seven Technology Divisions, namely Mixed Signal Systems IC, Advanced Digital Systems, Electronics Components, Intelligent Sensing Technology System, Intelligent Software and Systems, Security and Data Sciences, and Communications Technologies. Our R&D strategic focus covers five areas of applications: financial technologies, intelligent manufacturing, health technologies, smart city, and Application Specific Integrated Circuits through our mandate as the Hong Kong branch of the Chinese National Engineering Research Centre (CNERC). Visit www.astri.org for more information.

About Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited (“BOCHK”) is a leading commercial banking group in Hong Kong with strong market positions in all major businesses. We have the most extensive local branch network and diverse service platforms in Hong Kong, including over 190 branches, about 270 automated banking centres, efficient e-channels of over 1,000 self-service machines, as well as Internet and Mobile Banking services. We offer a comprehensive range of financial, investment and wealth management services to personal, corporate and institutional customers. To implement the overseas development strategy of BOC Group, we strive to drive our regional development by expanding our business in the Southeast Asian region. Our branches and subsidiaries have been extended to Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei, with the provision of professional and high-quality financial services to local customers. We will also expedite our development into a top-class, full-service and internationalised regional bank.

BOCHK is one of the three note-issuing banks and the sole clearing bank for Renminbi (“RMB”) business in Hong Kong. With our strong RMB franchise, we are the first choice of customers in this business. Through the deep collaboration with our parent bank, BOC, we provide a full range of high quality cross-border services to multinationals, cross-border customers, mainland enterprises going global, central banks and super-sovereign organisations.

BOC Hong Kong (Holdings) Limited, BOCHK’s holding company, is one of the largest listed companies on the main board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, with stock code “2388” and ADR OTC Symbol “BHKLY”.

Media Enquiry

Wayne Ku
Corporate Communication, New World Communication
Contact no: +852 3721 2766 / +852 9711 4667
Email: kwku@nwd.com.hk

Iris Fu
Communications, ASTRI
Contact no: +852 3406 0266
Email: irisfu@astri.org

Angel Yip
Corporate Communications, Bank of China (Hong Kong)
Contact no: +852 2826 6159
Email: corp_comm@bochk.com