HK FinTech Week Reviews Year, Looks Ahead
HK Financial Services, the Treasury Bureau and Invest HK hosted Hong Kong FinTech Week 2021, the first hybrid event, held November 1-5 at both HKCEC and online. As one of Asia’s most influential FinTech conferences, the event drew nearly 17,000 participants onsite and online, including executives, investors, regulators, entrepreneurs from more than 60 economies, 400 exhibitors and more than 25 delegations all over the world.
The conference this year covers insights and business opportunities across Hong Kong, Greater Bay Area, Southeast Asian and international markets. Topics ranged from wealth management and VCs & Investing to AI & Big Data, Digital banking, ESG, Payments, Open banking, blockchain and CBDC.
The 3-day conference sessions covered the global stage, Hongkong stage and future stage. While the discussions were held physically in the Hong Kong convention and exhibition center, organizers also live-streamed most of the physical sessions, using the same comprehensive online meeting platform as last year, including the mobile app version to facilitate introductions among participants, who could network and book one-on-one meetings.
Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of Hong Kong SAR (Special Administration Region) presented opening remarks and agenda highlights.
Scaling the FinTech future together is the theme of this year
According to the latest global financial centers index published in September 2021, Hong Kong has ranked number three globally right after New York and London. HK, which is Asia’s top financial center, will continuously support companies in their global expansion and collaborative efforts.
Hong Kong monetary authority has signed a new cooperation memo with People’s Bank of China (PBC), to allow financial institutions, tech companies and innovators from mainland and Hong Kong to test cross-border financial applications with a one-stop sandbox. This will enable more timely feedback from both the market and regulators, expediting the launch of FinTech products while lowering costs.
Ongoing collaboration between Hong Kong Monetary authority and PBC has created convenient means to test digital RMB for cross-border payments for Hong Kong and mainland residents. In the meanwhile, Hong Kong Monetary Authority is studying and will issue its own central bank digital currencies for retail in Hong Kong, with more applications planned in the coming months.
Faster payment system
Known as FPS in short, has been rapidly developing since its launch in 2018, it now supports person-to-person and merchant payments, as well as account pop-ups and payments of government bills and fees using QR codes. The QR code initiative reached more than 9 million registrations by the end of September 2021.
A commercial data exchange
This initiative is designed to connect government and service providers. Using shared data, banks will conduct more accurate and objective credit assessments, enhancing trade finance efficiency and making it easier for SMEs to obtain trade finance. The system is expected to go live sometime next year.
FinTech proof of concept subsidy scheme
Designed to encourage collaboration among financial institutions and FinTech companies, this initiative will help to drive development of innovative financial products and services. A total of 93 projects have been funded and approved, covering a wide range of growth areas, including RegTech and cross-border payments.
Electronic consumption voucher program,
This program is intended to accelerate economic recovery. It gives people aged 18 and above some $640 USD to spend, which has boosted domestic consumption and promoted the use of e-payment by both consumers and merchants. Around 80,000 merchants have been acquired so far and was expected to reach around 6 million consumers by the end of September 2021, with vouchers totaling about $3.5 billion USD.
Attract talent all over the world
HK has doubled efforts to attract talented individuals, with high-profile speakers from major industries encouraging up to 4,000 people to apply. It is hoped that these talented individuals will help digitalize operations in numerous business sectors, according to Joe Tsai, co-founder of Alibaba Group.
Now it is time for all industries to use technologies to leverage data for valuable insights on clients, customers and business opportunities, according to David Liao, Co-Chief Executive, Asia – Pacific of HSBC
From VC and investor perspectives, Neil Shen, Founding Managing Partner from Sequoia Capital China, shared his views on current trends, highlighting the following three areas: After achieving success with one product or market, companies should consider expanding globally. Second, cross-border opportunities are rising. Third, blockchain and AI have become global technology trends.
Partner at LYSTAR GROUP
Tracy Lai provides strategic and business development solutions to executives, and entrepreneur. Her professional experience includes work at Fortune 500 companies including Intel and RBS, and startups. Her expertise covers business development, risk management, project management and investor relations, in Financial Services, FinTech, Innovation, Technology and Education. As management consultant and FinTech advisor, she holds multiple senior roles with focus on cross border and cross industry collaboration, including projects in US, Asia and Europe.