Hong Kong FinTech Week 2021 celebrates global hub's scale-up opportunities (with photos)

     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:

Website: www.fintechweek.hk
LinkedIn: Hong Kong Fintech Week  
YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/HongKongFinTechWeek
About InvestHK
     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.

Ends/Monday, November 22, 2021
Issued at HKT 19:05