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The Commonwealth Bank has launched a new innovation lab in Hong Kong

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Australia’s largest bank has launched a new innovation lab in Hong Kong.

The Commonwealth Bank’s Hong Kong facilities opened with the aim of encouraging collaboration and experimentation with “incubation garage spaces” for project teams to foster ideas. It also includes “usability rooms” where clients are exposed to a live testing facility to play with eye-tracking technology.

In addition, there is a wall dedicated to data analytics to crunch the numbers on consumer spending habits and blockchain interactive facilities.

According to Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, group executive at CBA, Hong Kong was chosen for its “highly developed financial sector, strong entrepreneurial culture and proximity to China” as well as being home to thriving fintech communities making it a prime starting point in Asia.

The opening of the innovation lab builds upon the successes of the huge innovation lab that was launched in 2014 in their Sydney headquarters in the Darling Quarter. The 690 square metre incubator was designed to reflect agility, a common trait among startups. It features areas to experiment with robotics, collaborative “garages” as well as Oculus Rift zones to play with virtual reality.

“In just one year, the Sydney Innovation Lab hosted over 40,000 guests, successfully built a live blockchain and collaborated with major Australian corporates, government organisations and universities to experiment with future technology. This innovation space has strengthened our culture of innovation and we look forward to continuing this success on a global scale,” said Rosmarin.

Over the past years, CBA has been working hard to establish itself at the forefront of innovation with the launch of point-of-sale devices such as the Albert tablet, as well as being the first bank in Australia to make “Tap and Pay” available to Android users.

These tech developments by CBA have been part of a broader move to work with fintechs and move away from outdated banking platforms prone to disruption.

CBA is planning to open up another innovation lab in London later this year.

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