Hong Kong has a well-established reputation as a major global financial center in Asia. According to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the region’s financial regulator, Hong Kong has the highest concentration of banking institutions in the world, with 70 of the world’s largest 100 banks having operations there.
On the entrepreneurial side, up until a few years ago, Hong Kong had very few startups. However, the numbers have been sharply rising. In 2015, the number of startups grew by 46 percent year-over-year from 1,065 to 1,558, and the number of entrepreneurs rose 71 percent year-over-year from 1,115 to 1,192.
Out of nearly 1,600 startups, only 86 were involved in financial technology (fintech), making up less than six percent of the total number. Despite having such a well-established financial services industry, why has fintech had so little traction in Hong Kong so far? This could be explained in large part to the fact that the culture in Hong Kong is typically very averse to risk, making fintech an unappealing option.
In recognition of the great potential of fintech and the challenges faced in growing the local industry, the Hong Kong government is taking decisive action. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah made a bold announcement in his February 2016 budget speech, declaring that the government would commit to investing in Hong Kong’s emerging fintech sector and to laying the groundwork for a RegTech platform to allow the industry to stay connected with regulators. Part of that commitment involves providing dedicated space within the government-owned Cyberport digital cluster along with financial support for 150 fintech startups over the next five years.
To help position Hong Kong as a powerful fintech hub, FINNOVASIA, Asia’s leading fintech innovation event on May 30, 2016, will bring together fintech entrepreneurs, investors, banks, and governments to encourage greater collaboration. The 2016 edition of the event has more than doubled in size compared with the previous FINNOVASIA held in December 2015, with over 500 attendees and 45 speakers from 18 countries.
The one-day event includes keynotes and interactive discussions on topics including the future of fintech in Asia, regulation versus innovation, building a sustainable fintech ecosystem, and why RegTech is the next big thing.
Does Hong Kong have what it takes to be a strong fintech contender? Watch this video produced by FINNOVASIA and FinTech Hong Kong that presents a strong argument for why Hong Kong is positioned to become a fintech hub.