Media Reports - 2020.04.17
DIGFIN,Published on April 14, 2020 Horizon8, an arm of Hangzhou-based technology company HengTian, plans to launch a Software-as-a-Service platform for financial institutions and other enterprises in the West. It’s an example of how Chinese technology, originally developed for the mainland market, can be packaged and exported to banks in other parts of the world…with a little help from Western backers. Patrick Horgan, managing director for Europe at Horizon8, who is based in Cork, Ireland, says the SaaS business is now in minimum-viable-product mode with some beta users in Europe and the U.S., and it will then take this to customers in Asia Pacific. But it is using many of the technologies developed by HengTian, which itself is a joint venture between Boston-based custodian bank State Street, Zhejiang University, and another Hanghzou software company, Insigma Technology. Horizon8 is the brand name that HengTian trades under in the West. Changing client demands State Street was both an investor and an early client, using its relationship with Zhejiang University to get a source of young engineering talent (a relationship State Street has copied with Ireland’s University College Cork). Then the company began landing contracts at big domestic institutions, such as Agricultural Bank of China. It opened an office in Boston in 2009 and went live in Cork last year. The move to add a SaaS component to the company’s more bespoke I.T. work for banks reflects in part the changing nature of what clients need and what Horizon8 can commercialize at a product level. A lot of its earliest work has involved reengineering banks’ I.T. departments. For example, it developed a way to shift a bank’s core systems from being written in old computer languages such as COBOL into newer, more flexible ones like Java. Initially it did so manually but has since written software to automate the transition. Now it is doing more with machine learning to help deliver anti-fraud and anti-money laundering services. “AML and KYC are not the sexiest areas in emerging technology, but it’s an enormous problem and existing solutions are costly to operate,” Horgan said. One barrier to adoption of cutting-edge artificial intelligence by banks is their preference for rules-based, tick-the-box software that their internal compliance departments can approve. This remains the case but Horgan says some banks are becoming more receptive to the use of machine learning in the process, to enable computers to adjust how they look for fraud signals as data sets change. Made in China China has been the testbed for these tools. “They have lots of transactions,” Horgan said. “Learning requires a lot of data.” China remains the source of many of the company’s innovations, partly because financial institutions there already experienced losing consumers to the likes of Ant Financial and need to move quickly to secure their corporate clients. China ZheShang Bank, also based in Hangzhou, helped pioneer a blockchain solution for supply-chain finance that HengTian helped it build on the Hyperchain protocol, where buyers and sellers of account receivables trade, which increases working capital for small businesses and gives treasurers and financial institutions a new asset class. CZB’s platform has now processed about $25 billion worth of transactions since it went live in 2017. “That’s something we can replicate in Europe, where there is an increasing volume of supply-chain financings,” he said.
Media Reports - 2020.04.01
THU 19 MAR| Author – Business & Finance Shane O’Neill and Ciaran Corkery, Principal Solutions Arhcitect and Principal Solutions Consultant Horizon8 Horizon8, an innovative technology solutions company today announces the expansion of its European Headquarters in Cork. Horizon8 has expanded its core team of experts with the recruitment of Shane O’ Neill, Principal Solutions Architect, and Ciaran Corkery, Principal Solutions Consultant. Horizon8 is the European and North American arm of technology services company HengTian which was created in 2004 as a strategic partnership between Boston based State Street, and Hangzhou based Insigma Technology and Zhejiang University. Managing Director of Horizon8 Europe, Patrick Horgan, commenting on the expansion said: “We are delighted to welcome Shane and Ciaran to our senior management team here in Cork city. With their unmatched expertise and experience, they are already proving to be incredible assets both to the company and to our clients. Being based in Cork, we are surrounded by a diverse talent pool, and I look forward to growing the team in this thriving technology and growing Financial Services hub. We also look forward to growing Horizon8’s footprint in Europe and across the globe with the further expansion of our headquarters and the growth of our team.” Shane O’ Neill, Principal Solutions Architect at Horizon8, said: “I am excited to be a part of the incredible team here at Horizon8. I will be looking after Business Development and Client Relationships for the Company. My aim is to provide high levels of client satisfaction by designing and proposing innovative solutions that deliver sustained value for their business. We are leveraging and expanding the Horizon8 suite of proprietary technologies and I am very pleased to be a driving force behind the development of these innovative solutions.” Pictured (L-R): Shane O’Neill, Patrick Horgan, and Ciaran Corkery Shane is an experienced IT and business executive in the Financial Services sector, having held a number of C-level roles during his 7 years within the Fairfax Financial Holdings group; including CIO of ffh Management Services, IT strategy director and most recently a mergers and acquisitions director focusing on the Insurance sector. Shane began his career in Technology Consulting, working for 10 years with Accenture, specializing as an Oracle solutions architect. Ciaran Corkery, Principal Solutions Consultant at Horizon8, said: “I am thrilled to be working with Horizon8’s varied client base across Europe, ensuring their needs and expectations are met by our existing solutions as well as working with them to refine our strategic product and services roadmap ensuring it meets the future needs of the market. This approach to Business Development and Client Servicing that I work in alongside Shane in is a real differentiator for us in the market. We at Horizon8 have at our disposal highly advanced technological solutions that will enhance the way in which our clients deal with compliance, digital identity, traceability and digital assets.” Ciaran has a background in IT program delivery and is a client relationship professional with more than 6 years of client-site delivery and relationship management experience working on some of the largest IT programs in the country. Prior to joining Horizon8, Ciaran worked for Accenture Technology as a delivery and client relationship manager specialized in custom payments and debt collection software as well as large scale enterprise resource planning software with a focus on financial shared services.
Media Reports - 2019.12.16
The Irish Times Chinese technology services company Horizon8 is to create up to 50 jobs with the opening of a new European headquarters in Cork. The company, formerly known as HengTian, was founded in 2004 as a partnership between US financial services giant State Street and Hangzhou-based Insigma Technology and Zhejiang University. The Cork facility marks the company’s first office in Europe. The Hangzhou-headquartered group also has a presence in Boston, as well as subsidiaries in Shanghai and Hefei in eastern China. Horizon8 provides offshore and onshore technology development, research and consulting services to clients that include Alibaba, Bosch, Nike, Toshiba, Thomson Reuters, the Agricultural Bank of China, UnionPay and Medtronic. Talent pool Speaking to The Irish Times, Patrick Horgan, managing director of Horizon8 in Europe, said the new roles would be across a number of areas, including artificial intelligence, data analytics and blockchain. He said the decision to base the new office in Cork was partly a result of its longstanding relationship with University College Cork, as well as access to “a deep talent pool”. Mr Horgan added that the new office would allow the company to better serve its growing international client base. The new investment is supported by the Government through IDA Ireland. “The addition of Horizon8 to the cluster of tech companies that are already established in Cork is very welcome and further strengthens its reputation as a vibrant tech hub in Ireland,” said Eileen Sharpe, divisional manager of growth markets at the State agency.
Media Reports - 2019.12.10
Irish Examiner A US-Chinese tech-solutions firm has officially opened its European headquarters in Cork and announced plans to create at least 50 jobs over the coming years. The arrival on Leeside of Horizon8, which has roots in China’s Silicon Valley, was hailed as a major boost for Cork’s growing reputation as a vibrant tech hub. The firm offers a range of business consulting services and technology products, and builds bespoke software solutions to help clients in the financial services, retail, healthcare and pharma sectors improve their businesses. It specialises in artificial intelligence, blockchain software solutions and in data analytics, with a new platform which processes and analyses vast quantities of data in real-time for use in anti-fraud and anti-money laundering operations. Patrick Horgan, a graduate of University College Cork (UCC) who recently relocated to Cork from London where he worked in the hedge fund industry, will head up the company’s new office. “For Horizon8, Cork offers us access to a deep talent pool, European connectivity and most importantly a location which is surrounded by best-in-class academic institutions,” he said. Horizon8, formerly called HengTian which directly translates as infinite horizons, was created in 2004 as a strategic partnership between Boston-based financial services firm, State Street, and Insigma Technology and Zhejiang University, both based in Hangzhou - the Silicon Valley of China. The firm opened its Boston office in 2009 and Mr Horgan said its growth in Europe has been mostly “organic” in recent years, through referrals from existing clients. The opening of the European headquarters in Cork marks the start of a concerted effort to target growth across the EU. Tánaiste Simon Coveney described the company’s decision to locate here as “a significant vote of confidence in the Irish market”. “All of these roles will be for high-skilled workers, including engineers, developers and business consultants,” he said. “As a Government, we have been committed to making sure that there is a strong pipeline of job opportunities outside of Dublin and today’s announcement reaffirms this.” Horizon8 chairman Robert Williams said the opening of the new office marks the next step in the evolution of their global business. “Through our presence in Ireland we are ideally placed to serve a growing international client base, building on the successful work we have carried out over the past 15 years,” he said. Eileen Sharpe, of IDA Ireland, said the addition of Horizon8 to the cluster of tech companies already established in Cork is very welcome and further strengthens the city’s reputation as a vibrant tech hub.
Media Reports - 2019.11.05
As vice president of Hengtian, a global technology company created in alliance with State Street, Insigma Technology and Zhejiang University, Wells Shi is at the forefront of change in the industry. “As new business models emerge we will need to continue to understand what challenges our clients are facing and collaborate to work through these together,” Shi says of the future of fnancial technology. “Change is constant and the speed of change seems to only get faster. I see Hengtian continuing to be a reliable partner for businesses to navigate through their transformations.” Click here to see the magazine.
Media Reports - 2019.07.31
Gartner [April, 2007]: case study What started as a small, offshore R&D facility for State Street Corp. (SSC) is now a fully fledged technology center (TC) in China that has re-engineered more than 100 of its legacy applications. The increased productivity has delivered more benefits than the labor arbitrage alone ever could. But the key to success lies in the innovative collaboration and relationships with local partners. Key Findings • Labor savings have been significant (approximately 25% of the cost for U.S.-based staff), but savings through revamped legacy applications have been even greater, avoiding expensive replacements. Re-engineering via the TC has been achieved for less than 2% of the cost of system replacement and has saved millions of dollars. • The TC has provided benefits at both the individual and the corporate levels. It has improved SSC's access to local IT talent and strengthened its overall commercial position (that is, its ability to attract new business in IT and financial services) in the region. • The first efforts should not be the last. SSC's technology center initiatives and joint ventures have constantly evolved in size, objective and nature during the past 10 years. • Supercharged applications can deliver greater productivity to specific silos. But to maintain overall end-user satisfaction, a corresponding emphasis is needed from the technology center on delivering superior quality assurance and system performance across the entire, interdependent IT infrastructure. Please contact us to get the whole PDF.
Media Reports - 2019.07.31
CIO When State Street opened a technology center at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, in December 2001, the goals were modest. But since the center opened, State Street has found a valuable foothold in an important Asian IT talent market. The financial services giant set up the center at the university to be part research and development lab, and part application outsourcing facility. The school is about a two-hour drive southeast of Shanghai and is known as a top-10 computer science school in a country that graduates nearly 500,000 engineers a year. State Street’s project started with a reference. One of the company’s senior managers who was familiar with Zhejiang talked about the university. It wasn’t long before a group of professors was spending six months at the financial giant’s Boston headquarters, working on software projects and familiarizing itself with the financial services industry in general and State Street’s development processes in particular. When the group returned to China, it started the center with 15 students. [ Beware the 9 warning signs of bad IT architecture and see why these 10 old-school IT principles still rule. | Sign up for CIO newsletters. ]Initially, the center was slated for IT pilot projects and prototypes, said John Fiore, State Street’s CIO at the time, in an interview with FinanceAsia Magazine. During the past year, the number of programmers at the technology center has grown to nearly 70, mostly graduate students and professors. The center is now entrusted with some of State Street’s most critical application development. For example, student workers recently finished an upgrade to the company’s equity trading system, which because of missing documentation had to be completely reverse-engineered. "The system is now in production with four times the previous volume," says current CIO Joseph C. Antonellis. "And it took less than six months." Antonellis insists that his company’s program is not about cost savings, but acknowledges that it is one of the advantages. The graduates are paid, he says, adding, "this is not a sweatshop." George Koo, the director of the Chinese Services Group at Deloitte & Touche, says the benefits of State Street’s program go two ways. Cost savings is an important factor: Chinese programmers in China typically make between 25 cents and 33 cents on the dollar compared with American IT workers. Second, the technology center gives State Street a presence in an area poised for growth. Koo says that an arrangement like the one that State Street has with Zhejiang can build a sense of loyalty with the Chinese population. Having workers halfway around the world has other advantages as well. "When we’re asleep, they are working," says Antonellis. "And as they sleep, we can do the quality assurance."
Media Reports - 2019.07.01
This article was published on Jiemian News For American company State Street Group, one of the world's largest institutional asset management companies and investment service providers, apart from its branch and representative office which are located in Beijing and Shanghai, its only wholly-owned subsidiary in China is not based in the “financial center” Shanghai, but in Hangzhou. According to Jerry Cristoforo, CTO of State Street Group and chairman of State Street Technology (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd., the Group chose to come to Hangzhou in 2001. At that time, it had no idea that companies like Alibaba would later be born in Hangzhou, nor did it expect this city to achieve such rapid development in financial business. In fact, the establishment of State Street Technology (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd. stemmed from the cooperation he had earlier established with Zhejiang University in the 1980s. Later on, State Street Group and Insigma jointly established Insigma Hengtian Software Ltd. to provide software technology services to global financial institutions. State Street Group was responsible for sourcing projects abroad, and Hengtian would provide technical development support. View more in Chinese.
Media Reports - 2019.07.01
This article was published on NetEase News and CZTV On the morning of May 11, crowds gathered on the cherry blossom flanked runway in the Binjiang District, known as “the most beautiful runway”. The event brimmed with enthusiasm and energy. As soon as the starting signal was given, the “Helping the Disabled - Dafu Invites You to Run for Charity” event entered its liveliest stage. Volunteers from Hengtian were among the charity runners. By joining this marathon, they hoped to spread love, and call on the public to care for people with mental disabilities. This charity run was aimed at encouraging the public to slow down the pace of life, open their hearts, get closer to nature, and care for people with autism. View more in Chinese.