Partner Sites

Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

Here’s Why You Should Be Paying Attention To Blockchain In China

The Chinese government is investing more in blockchain technology—we spoke to an associate professor at CUHK Business School to find out how MBAs can seize this opportunity


Wed Nov 14 2018

Blockchain is blowing open the tech field in China.

From the illicit (Chinese citizens have started using blockchain to share information the government doesn’t want to be made public) to the lucrative (a large Chinese bank recently used blockchain to loan $300,000), the manifold applications of this new technology are making it a site of rapid innovation.


According to Dr Seen-Meng Chew, an associate professor of practice in finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School, students need to wake up to the opportunities that China offers for tech-ready MBAs.

“China has recently hosted many blockchain, FinTech, and AI-related conferences, for example the International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang, and the Chinese government has identified blockchain as a key economic driver in its 13th five-year plan,” he says.

“The Chinese government is supportive of investing in it—I would think that China could potentially be a global leader in blockchain technology.”

Despite these huge leaps forward, Dr Chew doesn’t think that enough MBA students are aware of the opportunities that are out there for them in the FinTech landscape in China.

“I think business school students today are  more aware of blockchain, and they’re keen to learn more about it,” he says, “but the majority of them still prefer to begin their career in traditional sectors like investment banking or management consulting, because they’re unsure of how to apply blockchain in their career.”

The finance and technology sectors are merging

This kind of caution isn’t necessary with the right MBA, as there are more opportunities in this area than many may realize.

To begin with, blockchain’s manifold applications mean that it has far-reaching potential even outside of the financial sector, and Dr Chew argues that this adaptability is what is helping to expand the boundaries of modern financial services.

“The difference between the tech sector and the financial sector is becoming more vague,” he says. “If you look at the three tech giants in China—Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent—they’re all developing capabilities in financial services using mobile technology.”

He cites Alibaba’s DAMO Academy as an example, which has a laboratory dedicated specifically to financial technology and blockchain innovation.

“These tech firms are so powerful now that they’re establishing their own research institutes in high-tech business areas, and I strongly believe that this will help to generate more interesting jobs for the economy in the future,” says Dr Chew.

A business-centric approach

MBAs at CUHK Business School will be well-prepared for these changes. The MBA offers a dedicated finance and technology concentration, which takes students through everything from the application of AI and machine learning in finance, to FinTech analytics, to capital markets.

It’s a complex area, but there is much to be energized about for those looking for a career in technology and finance.

“The challenge of teaching blockchain is that it’s an abstract concept,” Dr Chew admits. “It’s an intangible infrastructure—you can’t see it, you can’t touch it, you have to imagine it. It’s difficult to explain how it works in real life and make people fully appreciate this technology as it doesn’t really have a physical structure that we can see..

“I try to use a lot of case studies on blockchain, FinTech, and AI, to explain to students how new technologies are being applied in business today.”

Hong Kong FinTech Week

This business-centric approach is complemented by CUHK’s location as a gateway to mainland China, less than an hour’s journey from tech hub Shenzhen.

For example, just this month Dr Chew was involved in Hong Kong FinTech Week, where he sat on a panel of industry experts from companies including Google, SenseTime, FinFabrik, and Hong Kong Express to discuss career opportunities in the digital economy.


The panel took place at CUHK Business School itself, and Dr Chew believes that this, and events like it, help to broaden the horizons of MBAs who might be interested in technology but don’t consider themselves to be specialists.

“We’re encouraging students to look beyond traditional industries,” he says. “There are a lot of new jobs in the technology sector as a result of technological advancement.”

Indeed, many believe that blockchain’s effect on business will reach, or is already reaching, far beyond Bitcoin and FinTech applications. Author and business school lecturer Rachel Botsman argued in a recent TED Talk that blockchain is contributing to a shift in public trust: away from centralized agencies and toward de-centralized collectives.

With these kinds of big-picture changes in mind, an understanding of blockchain won’t only prepare you for the future of tech, but the future of business as a whole.

Student Reviews






One of a kind

I studied Bioinformatics at CUHK last year. It was the only Master's degree in Hong Kong in this field. This program developed my analytical skills and equipped me to be a Bioinformatician in a very practical way. I enjoyed my year here and met classmates from different parts of the world. If you are thinking to enhance your profile, this degree program would be a good option.




On Campus

general education courses, unique college system, large campus

The university facilitates multi-dimension and interdisciplinary learning. In social science faculty, we need to choose courses as our faculty package from other departments (architecture, psychology, sociology, etc.) to learn more than our major required courses. We are also required to finish general education courses, which aid our critical thinking and humanistic sensibilities. I do recommend the social science broad-based program, and the professors I met so far are all responsible and erudite.





The faculty of law is relatively new. You do not need to have a LLB to pursue a LLM, which is special. The taught programme is great for mature students who want to obtain legal knowledge. CUHK has good teaching staff too.




Amazing Campus and Great Educational Environment

Not only is CUHK's main campus breathtaking, it provides for a good educational environment for students. The university is well-equipped with modern and up-to-date facilities to help students with their study. We have 8 libraries in total around the campus; one for media, one for architectural studies, the medical library and the law library. The Professors are always helpful and are happy to talk to students when needed. Moreover, the college system within the university brings forth the uniqueness of CUHK. Each student belongs to a different college, and in that students are able to meet different peoples from different countries and students from different faculties. I think CUHK provides for a well-rounded university life for all students.





One of the most down to earth places in HK. A great opportunity to learn and embody the local culture. Also had one the most beautiful campus in Hong Kong up on the hillside. Glad to have graduated here.




Innovative and Supportive

My university provided me with all the support I needed, and encouraged me to be up to date with all the new developments in the world. They also provided me with the incentive to excel at what I do, and they take much pride in my achievements. I have had a very rewarding university experience.




Small, New But Friendly Law School

To being with, I think the campus of CUHK is the best and the biggest in Hong Kong, with fresh air and trees everywhere. I am an undergraduate Law student at CUHK and I think the teaching here is great, with very friendly and nice professors and the new Lee Shau Kee Building. In terms of the courses offered by CUHK, as one of the largest universities in Hong Kong, CUHK is an all-rounded university, offering a wide range of courses to students. Students may take the introductory courses of discipline other than their own major, or even declare a minor. For law electives, due to the small amount of intake, the variety of law electives are not that huge. However, the Faculty is offering some international programmes, which can be treated as law electives, but at the same time, provide us with an opportunity to travel and know more about the legal system of another country. The career support from the Faculty of Law is also amazing. The Faculty will organise CV Sessions and talks on how to get an internship from law firms or mini-pupillage from barrister's chambers. Each student will also have a Distinguished Professional Mentor, which is a current legal profession, providing us with practical advices and updates of the legal field. Finally, from my personal experience, I think the students in CUHK are friendly and genuine. As Law students, competition is inevitable for grades, GPAs, vacation schemes and training contract. However, I think the competition in CUHK Law School is a positive one, in a sense that help us grow together, instead of fighting with each other no matter what. That is the biggest reason why I am having a very good time here in CUHK Law School.




A place to explore your interests

As a law graduate from CUHK (both undergrad and post-grad), I realise that I had many opportunities to explore my areas of interests (legal and non-legal both). The faculty/university requires us to take a certain number of non-law electives, and offers a plethora of courses to choose from. Personally, I took 3 modules in Korean --I can't say it's made me highly proficient, but it's definitely given me a good foundation (I can walk into a Korean restaurant and confidently order food, at the very least). The fact that language courses are offered also provides students who are more financially constrained an opportunity to learn a language without having to shell out a premium for a decent language course. On top of that, we have a range of law electives as well. I know of classmates who have developed lasting interest in different areas of law because of the electives they took in school. The two electives that I would say have changed me is (i) mooting and (ii) family law. I think my experience in an international commercial arbitration moot competition has helped tremendously in formulating legal arguments and legal writing. On the other hand, taking a family law elective has made me very interested in the family law practice, especially in terms of child rights. For these experiences which I have gained, I'm grateful for the opportunities provided by the school. One main issue most students I know have is with the way our GPA is calculated and the lack of transparency in terms of how the honours system works. As our GPA is marked on a curve. it's highly unrepresentative of what we have achieved as individuals. Given that our GPA is the only criteria that is looked at when we apply for the compulsory post-graduate law course (mandatory should we want to practise law and/or be trainees in Hong Kong), it will put our own students at a distinct disadvantage when we compete for limited spaces with students from schools where GPA is not on a bell curve.




On Campus

Valuable time in CUHK

I like the learning environment and people at CUHK. Surrounded by hills and Tolo Harbour, CUHK provides a balance between nature and hustle. You can always escape from the busy study life and meet your friend around the big campus for different activities.