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2018 California-Shanghai Innovation Dialogues

From Fintech to Insurtech in China and the US: Consumer-Facing Financial Innovation and Economic Change
September 28-29

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

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Seating is limited, registration is required. If online registration is to capacity you may register on-site based upon space availability.
hosted by the School of Social Sciences, UC Irvine at the
The Beckman Center of the National Academies of Science and Engineering
100 Academy Way | Irvine, California
sponsored by
Kay Family Foundation · Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China · School of Social Sciences, UC Irvine · Long US-China Institute, UC Irvine · 21st Century China Center, UC San Diego · Fudan Development Institute, Fudan University · Financial Research Center, Fudan University

What is the future of fintech in China and the U.S., as products on either side of the Pacific Ocean serve as inspiration for each other or reach into new markets, despite the rumblings of a trade war? How will new payment and personal financial technologies, new methods of evaluating and distributing risk, and changes in the overall economic situation of workers in each country affect the development of new products like insurtech, agtech, robo-advising, and blockchain, shaking up legacy players in the process? This year's California-Shanghai Innovation Dialogues will bring together scholars, policymakers, and industry professionals to consider how China's rising middle class, on the one hand, and shifts in the US labor market from stable to "gig" employment, on the other, intersect with emerging technologies to provide consumer-facing financial products and services, from insurance to consumer loans.



8:30 a.m.
Check-in and Registration

9:00 a.m.
Welcome and Introductions

9:30-11:00 a.m.
Session 1: Digital Money and (Social) Credit
Discussant: Erin Lockwood (UC Irvine)

  • "'Nurturing credit': Logics and practices of digital money borrowing among Chinese migrant factory workers" by Tom McDonald (University of Hong Kong)
  • "Not just another shadow bank: Chinese authoritarian capitalism and the 'developmental' promise of digital financial innovation" by Julian Gruin (University of Amsterdam, University of Warwick), Peter Knaack (University of Oxford)
  • "The Active Construction of Passive Investors: Roboadvisors and Rational Outcomes" by Adam Hayes (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • "Money in the making of society: A pragmatist anthropology of money to approach Wechat Pay and Alipay" by Horacio Ortiz (East China Normal University, Shanghai, China and Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL University)
11:00-11:30 a.m.

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Session 2: Regulation
Discussant: David Min (UC Irvine Law School)
  • "From Fin-Techs to Reg-Techs: Digital Technologies and China's Financial Reform" by Jing Wang (Tulane University)
  • "Fintech and the Future of Global Financial Regulation" by Peter Knaack (University of Oxford), Julian Gruin (University of Amsterdam, University of Warwick)
  • "Construction of Global STI Center: Evidence and Experience from Shanghai" Ling Li (Center for Think Tank Study (CTTS) at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences)
1:00-2:30 p.m.
Lunch Break (local food options available for publicly registered attendees)

2:30-4:00 p.m.
Session 3: Philanthrotech
Discussant: Erica Bornstein (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
  • "Digital Payment Compared: Kenya and China" by Sibel Kusimba (American University), Muchen Zhou (American University), Boyang Ma (Duke University)
  • "Thinking Mauss in the Age of WeChat" by Yimin Lai (UC Irvine)
  • "Rocking the Earth: Natural Disasters and the Roots of Philanthrotech in China" by Rebecca Richart (UC Irvine)
4:00-4:30 p.m.

4:30-5:30 p.m.
Keynote Day #1 - Mara Hvistendahl, National Fellow, New America



8:30 a.m.
Check-in and Registration

9:00-10:00 a.m.
Keynote Day #2 - Amrit Pal, Senior Product Manager, Square

10:00-10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Session 4: Blockchain
Discussant: Kristin Breanne Cornelius Way (UCLA)

  • Cryptocurrencies and Central Bank" by Lijian Sun (Financial Research Center, Fudan Development Institute)
  • Emerging Technologies and (De)Centralized Governance: Blockchain with Chinese Characteristics" by Silvia Cortés Cascante (University of Costa Rica's International Politics Observatory)
  • "Blockchain Beyond Borders: Non-Monetary Experiments in Chinese Crypto" by Bill Maurer (UC Irvine)
12:00-1:30 p.m.
Lunch Break (local food options available for publicly registered attendees)

1:30-3:00 p.m.
Session 5: Insurtech
Discussant: Lei Guang, 21st Century China Center, GPS (UCSD and Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China)
  • "Trust in Points: Vitality-Shared-Value-Insurance?" by Liz McFall (University of Edinburgh) and Hugo Jeanningros (Gemass, Sorbonne Université)
  • "Artificial Intelligence and Insurance: Application, Roadmap and Implications" by Xian Xu (Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China, China InsurTech Lab, Fudan Development Institute)
  • "Growth Waves in Insurtech: U.S. and China" by Robert Collins (Hult International Business School, Crossbordr)
3:00-3:30 p.m.

3:30-4:30 p.m.
Closing remarks and Discussion

For inquiries, please contact Jenny Fan, 949.824.2284 or

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact if you are interested in co-sponsoring this event.