China Merchants Bank (CMB)

At a Glance

  • Substantial cost reductions
  • Enhanced and accelerated decision making
  • Improved efficiency


High-Definition Video Network Aids in Global Growth of China’s First Commercial Bank

High-Definition video conference network gives a competitive edge to first Chinese commercial bank during its rapid world-wide growth.

China Merchants Bank (CMB), the first commercial bank founded by Chinese enterprises, was established in 1987 in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone as a pilot bank for the Chinese government to drive financial reform.

In a mere two decades, CMB has grown from a small bank with 1 billion RMB (~US$145 million) in capital, a single bank outlet and about 30 employees, to one of the six largest commercial banks in China and has been ranked 81 in the Financial Times “Top 100 Global Bands”. It has a net capital of 117 billion RMB (~US$17 billion), more than 700 outlets, and more than 37,000 employees in 60 cities across mainland China. It also has two wholly owned subsidiaries in Hong Kong, one branch in the United States and representative offices in New York and London. CMB was listed on the Shanghai and Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2002 and 2006 respectively.   

Gaining competitive advantage

Spurred by rapid expansion in its breadth and depth of influence across China and the world, CMB needed to evolve the way employees communicated. Banking in China is highly competitive even more so as foreign competitors enter the market and travel can be difficult and time consuming, especially in third-tier cities where infrastructure lags significantly behind developed cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

For CMB, a reduction in business-travel was a good opportunity to cut costs, but more importantly a way to significantly increase productivity in a country where gaining a competitive advantage is imperative in achieving growth. The prospect of reduced business-related travel offered many rewards. If executives could spend less time travelling between meetings, they could spend more time on business management.

Open-standards unified communications approach

To establish an effective and efficient communication platform, CMB first deployed Polycom’s standard-definition video conferencing system in 2002. A successful installation, it achieved its goal of reducing costs and improving decision-making efficiency.

The advent of high-definition (HD) voice and video coupled with greater bandwidth availability, led CMB to upgrade its telepresence solution in 2009.   

Polycom’s DNA is open-standards based, and CMB did not want to be locked into a proprietary single vendor UC solution. Polycom was again the partner of choice because it enables a multi-vendor Unified Communications (UC) approach with interoperable video, telepresence, voice, and content. Polycom protects IT investments and has allowed CMB to transition to UC at its own pace without ripping and replacing existing technology, and maintain efficient use of IT assets now and in the future.

Polycom furthermore offers end-to-end service capabilities, cost effectiveness, ease-of-use and functionality.

“Visual communication has become an important tool in how we communicate at all levels of the organisation and is an integral business tool in Unified Communications environments,” said China Merchants Bank.

“It enables our dispersed work teams to easily connect face-to-face to collaborate and make informed decisions instantly – achieving competitive advantage, whilst reducing the costs and environmental impacts of travel.”

An exceptional user experience Polycom service partner Digital China and Polycom worked closely together to custom design the high-definition video conferencing solution, adhering to stringent criteria centered on security and redundancy.

The system is built on Polycom’s HD video conferencing platform on which a scheduling, emergency backup and a manageability system are all integrated. It has scheduling features, one-touch dialing and off-hook calling, making it easy to use and navigate. This enables CMB to successfully collaborate across the branch network, enabling effective trouble-shooting and greater information sharing.

CMB’s Conference Integrated Management platform manages all the equipment and endpoints with a user-friendly interface offering greater capabilities including conference reservation.

Extensive network involving over 60 locations

The HD video conferencing platform is deployed at headquarters, the information centre, first- and second-level branches, and other remote offices using a mix of high-definition solution including Polycom RMX 1000, HDX 8000, an RSS 2000 media server with high-definition recording and IP phones.

Involving over 60 locations across China, Polycom Partner Digital China designed, tested and implemented the solution in less than a month. As the first nationwide high-definition video-conferencing backbone network in the finance industry, the successful deployment is testament to the ease-of-installation and straightforward customisation of Polycom’s solutions.

The platform delivers theatre-like sound and ultra-smooth high definition images providing broadcast-quality content delivery deemed necessary by CMB to hold corporate training and executive meetings.

The solution is totally interoperable with its existing video conferencing systems thus leveraging its return on investment and laying a solid foundation for developing more applications in the future.

Highly redundant highly secure network

Due to the nature of its business and the fact that the solution is used for many financial and commercially sensitive discussions, a highly redundant, highly secure network is vital to CMB.

CMB treats its video conferencing network with the utmost importance. So vital to its daily operations, redundancy has been built in the event of an IP failure.

With stringent emergency backup requirements, it has deployed three RMXs – Multipoint Conference Units (MCU). IP phones are deployed at headquarters, the scheduling centre and across its branch network in the event of endpoint failure. MCUs provide landline and mobile access to any conference meeting in the event of an IP failure.

“Our Polycom telepresence solution is highly advanced providing the continuity we need. Nothing has been left to chance. It is a highly secure and highly robust solution,” said China Merchants Bank.

Custom-designed conference rooms

CMB consulted with professional designers to design every conference room to fully optimise the high-definition conferencing experience. With an aesthetically pleasing and uniform design, no detail was omitted. The upgraded Polycom telepresence solution has helped CMB create a high performance work environment that is not only technologically superior, but looks good too.

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