Speech by S for IT at FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific Welcome Cocktail (English only) (with photos)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, at the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific Welcome Cocktail today (August 22):

     Alex (Managing Director, Financial Services, Accenture, Mr Alex Trott), Lara (Financial Services APAC Media & Analyst Relations Director, Accenture, Ms Lara Wozniak), Toa (Chief Public Mission Officer of Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, Dr Toa Charm), distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening to you all.  It feels great to be back at Cyberport once again, and to join you all today at the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific Welcome Cocktail reception.

     Since 2014, Cyberport has been working with Accenture to set up the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific in Hong Kong. We are the third host city to set up such an Innovation Lab, after New York and London. The project is pivotal and timely for the future development of the financial services and the innovation and technology sectors here in Hong Kong.

     Financial services is no doubt one of Hong Kong's pillar industries. In 2014, it accounted for over 17 per cent of the Hong Kong's GDP. We have 74 of the world's top 100 banks operating in Hong Kong today and our global competitiveness is well-recognised. The Global Financial Centre Index published this year ranked Hong Kong as the fourth most competitive global financial centre in the world.

     Apart from a strong business culture which has made what Hong Kong is today, information and communications technology or ICT has also helped our city to become a renowned international financial centre. This includes a robust telecommunication and broadband infrastructure as well as a vibrant ICT sector with talents from all over the world and more recently, an increasingly growing and active technology start-up community. Looking ahead, ICT will certainly play a bigger role in strengthening Hong Kong's position in the FinTech sector.

     According to results released last month by the Collinson Group, four in five affluent consumers in Hong Kong use finance apps to engage with their financial services providers. Another study conducted by Ernst & Young in 2015, which surveyed the percentage of digitally active consumers in the financial services sector of six economies around the world, shows that Hong Kong has the highest percentage of FinTech use at 29.1 per cent, followed by the United States at 16.5 per cent and Singapore at 14.7 per cent.

     In recent years, the Government has been taking active steps to facilitate the development of FinTech in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, the Steering Group on Financial Technologies chaired by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury released its report, setting out a package of recommendations for developing and promoting Hong Kong as a FinTech hub. In the 2016-17 Budget, the Financial Secretary has also announced a number of measures, which represent early adoption and implementation of the Steering Group's recommendations. These include the setting up of FinTech platforms under the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Securities and Futures Commission and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to enhance communication between regulators and the FinTech community, and the initiatives by Cyberport to support the FinTech start-up community, including incubation support for start-ups and a dedicated FinTech Smart Space.

     With more than a hundred FinTech companies now in its community, Cyberoport is well-positioned to become a major FinTech cluster in Hong Kong. Last month, Cyberport organised the "Blockchain Strategies for Business" Conference to help the start-up community acquire an in-depth understanding of this emerging technology and seize the opportunities to apply blockchain technology in FinTech and other new market areas. In addition, earlier this month, Cyberport launched its HK$200 million Marco Fund to provide funding from seed to Series A stage to the Cyberport entrepreneurs. This will certainly help strengthen the ecosystem for Hong Kong's start-up community, including FinTech start-ups.

     With the set-up of FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific, together with the concerted efforts and collaboration from the community and industry, I am confident that Hong Kong will find its place as one of the world's leading FinTech centres very soon.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Monday, August 22, 2016
Issued at HKT 21:09