Interaction with Innovations — Hong Kong FinTech and Beyond

Interaction with Innovations — Hong Kong FinTech and Beyond

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) believes that the future of banking relies on a deep and continued understanding of the customers, coupled with the emergence of new technologies at the intersection of social and economic progress.

CBA believes these tech trends will change the way we communicate, absorb information, purchase products and, ultimately, engage with brands both as employees and customers. It also believes that change will inevitably continue, and there is the need to identity these trends and understand their impacts and the opportunities they bring. Based on this thinking, the bank established its first Innovation Lab in its home base of Sydney in August 2014, which was followed by Hong Kong and, most recently, London.

“Hong Kong is an important market for CBA’s global innovation strategy,” Liam Gilligan, Head of the Hong Kong Innovation Lab, explained the reason for choosing this city as the Lab’s first location outside of Australia.

“We are seeing an explosion of innovation from Mainland China, not just in FinTech, but also in Internet of Things, robotics and artificial intelligence, so our Hong Kong Lab team are well placed to stay tapped into these developments.” He added that Hong Kong is known as a gateway to Mainland China, and its emerging FinTech leadership and well-developed financial services sector underpins substantial growth opportunities for CBA, its customers and the global FinTech community.

“We are starting to see the FinTech and startup community in Hong Kong gaining some real traction. There is an increasing focus from startups on the opportunities presented by having so many of the world’s largest banks in the area and, as a result, seeing some really innovative B2B-focused startup businesses emerge,” he said.

“Along with this, we are seeing growth in the volume of accelerator programmes, incubators and co-working spaces in Hong Kong which are helping to foster this growth.”

CBA’s Innovation Lab in Hong Kong is located in the heart of the financial district, making it easy for CBA’s clients, partners and startups to come together and work alongside the bank in a collaborative environment.

The staff of the Hong Kong Lab are part of a 20-strong team across CBA’s Innovation Labs and they collaborate across the various locations to work on specific projects.  “We think one of the greatest attributes of our lab team is the varied perspectives, experiences and expertise that sit across the collective group globally,” Gilligan enthused.

“If there is a common thread across our innovation team it’s a mindset of challenging status quo, questioning what is possible and ensuring we keep the customer at the centre of everything we do.”

Gilligan relocated from Sydney for this role six months ago, and has been enjoying his experience.

“The first thing that struck me was how vibrant and buzzing a city Hong Kong is. There is an incredibly warm and open population here and I feel like I have been here for years already,” he said.

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)

  • First Innovation Lab founded in Sydney in August 2014, followed by Hong Kong and London
  • The Hong Kong Lab was the first outside of Australia, located in the financial district for accessibility
  • Twenty staff across the three Labs collaborate across locations on projects

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