Hong Kong FinTech Week 2021 Celebrates Global Hub's Scale-up Opportunities
Hong Kong FinTech Week (HKFW) 2021 ended on November 5, closing a global conference exploring an array of business opportunities for the fintech industry in Hong Kong and across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). The Week, which featured renowned speakers from around the world, revealed several key policy announcements and put a spotlight on Hong Kong as the destination for fintech start-ups and scale-ups to expand business in Asia.
The five-day event championed "Scaling FinTech Future Together", a celebration of Hong Kong as an attractive hub for start-ups and scale-ups in the region, and a showcase of exciting fintech collaboration. HKFW attracted over 20 000 attendees. The conference was host to over 300 speakers, more than 400 exhibitors, and 39 international delegations and representatives. Twenty-seven satellite events and thousands of business meetings were arranged through the event and via the online platforms. This was the first HKFW in a hybrid format, drawing more than four million online views and providing a seamless experience to worldwide audiences from 87 economies to learn more about the city's fast-growing fintech ecosystem.
This Asian global fintech event was led by the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau and Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK). It was co-organised by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), and the Insurance Authority (IA).
The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, said, "Despite COVID-19 and numerous other challenges, Hong Kong remains a prime international financial centre. The National 14th Five-Year Plan supports Hong Kong's continuing efforts to reinforce the city's status as a global financial centre and offerings, and backs the development of Hong Kong as an international innovation and technology hub. Thanks to our 'one country, two systems' institutional strength, Hong Kong remains the destination of choice for fintech companies looking to operate or expand, locally, regionally and globally."
New Policy Measures and Proposals
Notable policy measures and proposals were announced by the Government and regulators to set the global fintech agenda and secure Hong Kong's future as the most attractive international centre for the research and development of fintech products and services.
The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, announced a three-pronged strategy to foster fintech development. The three areas were: opening-up government data and introducing a shared platform; establishing and chairing the "Coordination Group on Implementation of Fintech Initiatives"; and launching again the "Financial Practitioners Fintech Training Programme".
Mr Hui also shared the Bureau's plans to grow the fintech ecosystem through cross-boundary co-ordination and nurturing fintech talent.
The HKMA launched a green bond tokenisation and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Regtech Lab to support fintech 2025 strategy. The HKMA announced the launch of the AML Regtech Lab in collaboration with Cyberport to encourage regtech adoption. It will also study the feasibility of piloting the issuance of tokenised green bonds under the Government Green Bond Programme.
The SFC is reviewing the regulatory regime for virtual assets and is in close contact with the HKMA with a view to issuing a joint circular on the outcome after the review.
The IA widened its support for insurtech. The IA is examining the possibility of allowing more users to access the existing Insurtech Sandbox to test innovative ways of doing business, and enabling an Open API Framework for the insurance sector in 2022.
Industry Initiatives and Insights
Many industry initiatives were announced at the event, showcasing Hong Kong's vibrant cross-boundary ecosystem with the GBA and beyond.
The People's Bank of China signaled stronger regulatory framework for data protection. The Governor for the People's Bank of China, Mr Yi Gang, committed to stronger oversight for personal data protection in the financial services industry with a "sound legal and regulatory framework".
The Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr Eddie Yue, moderated a panel discussion on digital transformation challenges faced by traditional financial firms featuring Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group Mr Joe Tsai; the Steward of Sequoia Capital, and the Founding and Managing Partner of Sequoia Capital China, Mr Neil Shen; and Group Executive of the HSBC Group and Co-Chief Executive of HSBC Asia-Pacific, Mr David Liao.
The Head of the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Hong Kong, Ms Bénédicte Nolens, and senior central bankers discussed the vision for the mBridge cross-border central bank digital currency platform, a collaboration among the HKMA, the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Hong Kong, the Bank of Thailand, the Digital Currency Institute of the People's Bank of China and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates.
The Hong Kong and the GBA as a Digital Finance Hub panel featured the Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Joseph Chan; the Chairman of AMTD Group, Dr Calvin Choi; the CEO and Founding Partner for BitRock Capital, Mr Alfred Shang; and the Vice President of Tencent Holdings and Chairman of Fusion Bank, Mr Jim Lai.
The Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion for InvestHK, Mr Charles Ng, presented the opportunities for fintech firms to fast track growth and expansion in Hong Kong at the session FintechHK - Fast-track Your Next Success.
Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) unveiled the FinTech Virtual Lab (first open federated learning network to go live in Hong Kong). Operating under the HKSTP's flagship STP Platform and supported by the HKMA, the lab enables banks, financial institutions and fintech companies to build and test their latest innovations.
Global Fast Track 2021 Programme Winners
The five-day conference showed the range of comprehensive scale-up opportunities and support available in Hong Kong for companies to fast-track their success from the Asia's global fintech hub.
Now in its second year, the Global Fast Track programme is a special programme led by InvestHK to promote fintech business opportunities and adoption in Hong Kong, and brings together several of Hong Kong's soft-landing support programmes into a single scale-up offering.
The programme received over 300 fintech company applications from 49 economies and enabled one-on-one meetings with more than 90 local and regional corporates and investors. The most promising fintech companies were invited to enter a pitch competition adjudicated by a judging panel formed by the corporate and investor champions.
Fano Labs, one of the leading artificial intelligence companies in Greater China which helps enterprises with customer services, compliance and other lines of businesses, is the winner this year.
The Head of Fintech at InvestHK, Mr King Leung, said, "This Week has shown the best of what Hong Kong has to offer as an unrivalled fintech ecosystem with an established tradition of launching scale-ups internationally. It is evident that collaboration and the public and private sectors' supportive efforts are ramping up at every level of our ecosystem. We are encouraged by the business opportunities that have opened up for the fintech industry at the conference this year."
High-resolution versions of photo highlights from the event can be downloaded from the link. Replay of other highlighted sessions of the event can be watched in the following channels:
LinkedIn: Hong Kong Fintech Week
InvestHK is the department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government responsible for attracting foreign direct investment. It has set up a dedicated fintech team in Hong Kong since 2016 to attract the world's top innovative fintech enterprises, start-up entrepreneurs, investors and other stakeholders to set up their businesses in Hong Kong or scale their business via Hong Kong into Mainland China, Asia and beyond.
Photo shows the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, speaking at the opening ceremony on November 3.
Photo shows the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Mr Eddie Yue (first left), moderating a panel discussion on November 3 about digital transformation challenges faced by traditional financial firms. He was joined by Group Executive of the HSBC Group and Co-Chief Executive of HSBC Asia-Pacific, Mr David Liao (second left); Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group Mr Joe Tsai (second right); and the Steward of Sequoia Capital, and the Founding and Managing Partner of Sequoia Capital China, Mr Neil Shen (first right).
Photo shows the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui (left), joining the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hillhouse Group, Mr Zhang Lei (right), for a fireside chat on the future development of Hong Kong's fintech ecosystem on November 3.
Photo shows the Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Joseph Chan (second left), sharing his perspectives on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as a digital finance hub with fellow panellists on November 3. Also pictured are the Vice President of Tencent Holdings and Chairman of Fusion Bank, Mr Jim Lai (centre); the Chairman of AMTD Group, Dr Calvin Choi (second right); and the Chief Executive Officer and Founding Partner of BitRock Capital, Mr Alfred Shang (first right).
Speaking on November 3, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Intermediaries of the Securities and Futures Commission, Ms Julia Leung, pledged that the Commission would review the regulation of virtual assets in Hong Kong with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
Photo shows the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui (first left), moderating a panel session on November 3 under the theme "Fintech Innovations for Cross-Border Banking and Insurance Services in the Greater Bay Area" with representatives of financial institutions and fintech companies that participated in the Fintech Proof-of-Concept Subsidy Scheme.
In his welcome remarks on November 4, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, pointed to the fast development of fintech innovation in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Photo shows the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Alfred Sit (first right), touring the exhibition on November 4.
Speaking on November 4, the Chief Executive Officer of the Insurance Authority, Mr Clement Cheung, announced further support for insurtech in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Photo shows the Head of the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Hong Kong, Ms Bénédicte Nolens (first left), moderating a deep dive into the mBridge central bank digital currencies platform, a collaboration among the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Hong Kong, the Bank of Thailand, the Digital Currency Institute of the People's Bank of China and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on November 4. The Executive Director (Financial Infrastructure) of the HKMA, Mr Colin Pou (second left); the Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank of the UAE, Mr Li Shu-pui (centre); the Director-General of the Digital Currency Institute at the People's Bank of China, Mr Mu Changchun (second right); and the Deputy Governor, Corporate Development at the Bank of Thailand, Ms Vachira Arromdee (first right), shared their vision for the mBridge project.
Speaking on November 4, the Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, Mr Nicolas Aguzin (left), said that China's capital value will increase to US$100 trillion by 2030, equivalent to the total market capitalisation of listed company in the world's developed economies. He spoke with the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PAG, Mr Weijian Shan (right), on the next mega trends in fintech investment in Asia.
Photo shows the official launch of the Hong Kong Youth Fintech Association (HKYFA) at the Fintech Week on November 4 to raise awareness of and interest in fintech among young people. The HKYFA is together led by the Association's lead promoter and Founding Chairman, the Chairman of the AMTD Group, Dr Calvin Choi, and AMTD Digital. The joint promoters include the Hong Kong Youth Association, the Greater Bay Area Young Entrepreneurs Association, Deloitte China, 36Kr, Zebras, Shared Value Initiative Hong Kong, FinStep Asia and the Regional Banks + Strategic Cooperation Alliance.
Photo shows Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion of Invest Hong Kong Mr Charles Ng (left) announcing Fano Labs as the winner of the Global Fast Track 2021 programme on November 3.
The physical and virtual Hong Kong Fintech Week was held from November 1 to 5, attracting over 20 000 attendees and more than four million online views.