Fintech Hong Kong http://fintechnews.hk - FintechNewsHK Thu, 23 May 2019 08:44:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.1 A Snapshot of Fintech in Hong Kong in 2019 http://fintechnews.hk/9374/various/fintech-hong-kong-2019/ http://fintechnews.hk/9374/various/fintech-hong-kong-2019/#respond Thu, 23 May 2019 08:44:17 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=9374 Hong Kong is expected to see a boost in fintech activity after a relatively disappointing year in 2018 as the region saw a sharp dip in the total value of

The post A Snapshot of Fintech in Hong Kong in 2019 appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
Hong Kong is expected to see a boost in fintech activity after a relatively disappointing year in 2018 as the region saw a sharp dip in the total value of investments.

According to Accenture, this was due to new measures put in place by Hong Kong regulators, resulting in a wait and see attitude that saw investors being more cautious than usual. The consulting firm also added that it expects to see fintech making a strong comeback this year.

This contrasted to its seemingly much more successful mainland sibling, who instead saw a surge in funding last year and number of fintech unicorns.

 

Image Credit: Whub Hong Kong Fintech Report

Hong Kong startup community platform WHub recently released a report that outlined the region’s fintech landscape, which details the edge Hong Kong has compared to the rest of the region.

For years Hong Kong has been recognised as one of the top three financial hubs in the world, topping the charts in Asia. This is thanks to its robust legal framework as well as its strategic location in the region

Hong Kong’s regulators have been ramping up efforts in recent years in attempts to attract fintech investments into the region.

Government Initiatives to Drive Fintech in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has implemented seven initiatives aimed to boost fintech development. This includes the launch of the Faster Payment System, where users can make payments using just mobile phone numbers or email addresses.

Other initiatives include building the framework for open API, and strengthening the Fintech Supervisory Sandbox, both aiming to encourage innovation and provide support for implementation.

Besides the HKMA, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has established the SFC Fintech Contact Point to help businesses understand the framework and regulatory environment in Hong Kong. The SFC is also looking at developing a new regulatory framework for crypto funds and crypto exchanges in Hong Kong.

trustme blockchain regulators smart city government hkma government

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Similar to the HKMA, the SFC also launched regulatory and insurtech sandboxes to facilitate pilot trials of various fintech initiatives to help companies develop their platform and identify any potential issues.

The government also has a list of funding schemes available, including the Innovation & Technology Fund, HKSTPC Corporate Venture Fund, Innovation and Technology Venture

Fund (ITVF), as well as the Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS). All the funds aim to give universities, companies or organisations a boost to develop their fintech products.

Rise of Virtual Banking in Hong Kong

The rest Asia is paying close attention to Hong Kong’s virtual banking scene. Among its 8 licensees are big names like Ant Financial, Tencent, Xiaomi and WeLab. The jury is still out on whether or not HKMA’s virtual banking regulatory framework is too restrictive or if it has striked the perfect balance.

alipay hong kong virtual banking ant sme

Image Credit: AlipayHK

With new players entering the market simultaneously also comes the need for talent and Hong Kong is facing severe talent shortage in the realm of fintech.

In the short term, Hong Kong would need to look overseas to fill that talent gap. Which is all well considering that the region is considered one of the top 5 most appealing place to work for foreigners, thanks to its effective and expeditious immigration policies.

Hong Kong’s Geographical Advantage

One of the key aspects that make Hong Kong an appealing place for investment, is thanks to its location within the region. Being in a “One Country, Two Systems” environment, many investors see Hong Kong as the foot in the door to China.

Hong Kong is also located fairly close to other countries. This means the special administration region is accessible from many neighbouring country within a five hour plane ride, making it inherently convenient for expansion and international growth.

On top of geographical boundaries, a few of cooperative projects are also strategically places within close proximity to the Cantonese speaking region. This includes the Greater Bay Area Initiative (GBA), an initiative to link the cities of Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Huizhou, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing into an integrated economic and business hub.

Cities of the GBA, The GBA Fintech Report 2019: Hong Kong- Macau-Guangdong Greater Bay Area Fintech Analysis & Recommendations, The Fintech Association of Hong Kong, April 2019

Another cooperative is the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone (GDFTZ), that uses Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau as gateway for foreign trade and investment to access the mainland. China and Hong Kong also signed a free trade agreement, CEPA, allowing local companies’ preferential access to the Chinese market. Finally, there is also the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative that aims to develop a global economic corridor and interconnected infrastructure network.

All these cooperatives encourages investments and cross border collaboration and innovations to help boost the fintech scene in Hong Kong by providing access to international markets, and increasing company presence, while also reducing regulatory red tapes during operations.

Poised For Growth?

Despite the slowdown in investment in 2018, Hong Kong’s fintech initiatives is slowly gaining traction. It is now home to a sizeable number of innovative startups with lofty goals to shake things up in the financial services world.

Fintech Hong Kong Map

Image Credit: Whub Hong Kong Fintech Report

However, future prospects might change if Hong Kong doesn’t embrace fintech the way its mainland counterpart does. According to the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) 25 report, Hong Kong is slowly losing its position as the financial darling in the region, with Shanghai and Singapore garnering more attention for their future plans.

The post A Snapshot of Fintech in Hong Kong in 2019 appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
http://fintechnews.hk/9374/various/fintech-hong-kong-2019/feed/ 0
How Cryptocurrency Scams Work http://fintechnews.hk/9445/blockchain/how-cryptocurrency-scams-work/ http://fintechnews.hk/9445/blockchain/how-cryptocurrency-scams-work/#respond Mon, 20 May 2019 04:19:46 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=9445 Millions of cryptocurrency investors have been scammed out of massive sums of real money. In 2018, losses from cryptocurrency-related crimes amounted to US$1.7 billion. The criminals use both old-fashioned and

The post How Cryptocurrency Scams Work appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
Millions of cryptocurrency investors have been scammed out of massive sums of real money.

In 2018, losses from cryptocurrency-related crimes amounted to US$1.7 billion. The criminals use both old-fashioned and new-technology tactics to swindle their marks in schemes based on digital currencies exchanged through online databases called blockchains.

From researching blockchain, cryptocurrency and cybercrime, I can see that some cryptocurrency fraudsters rely on tried-and-true Ponzi schemes that use income from new participants to pay out returns to earlier investors.

Others use highly automatized and sophisticated processes, including automated software that interacts with Telegram, an internet-based instant-messaging system popular among people interested in cryptocurrencies. Even when a cryptocurrency plan is legitimate, fraudsters can still manipulate its price in the marketplace.

An even more basic question arises, though: How are unsuspecting investors attracted to cryptocurrency frauds in the first place?

Fast-talking swindlers

Some cryptocurrency fraudsters appeal to people’s greed, promising big returns. For example, an unknown group of entrepreneurs runs the scam bot iCenter, which is a Ponzi scheme for Bitcoin and Litecoin. It doesn’t provide information on investment strategies, but somehow promises investors 1.2% daily returns.

The iCenter scheme operates through a group chat on Telegram. It starts with a small group of scammers who are in on the racket. They get a referral code that they share with others, in blogs and on social media, hoping to get them to join the chat. Once there, the newcomers see encouraging and exciting messages from the original scammers. Some newcomers decide to invest, at which point they are assigned an individual bitcoin wallet, into which they can deposit bitcoins. They agree to wait some period of time – 99 or 120 days – to receive a significant return.

During that time, the newcomers often use social media to share their own referral codes with friends and contacts, bringing more people into the group chat and into the investment scheme. There’s no actual investment of the funds in any legitimate business. Instead, when new people join, the person who recruited them gets a percentage of the new funds, and the cycle continues, paying out to earlier participants from each round of newer investors.

Some members work especially hard to bring in new funds, posting tutorial videos and pictures of themselves holding large amounts of money as enticements to join the scam.

Lies and more lies

Some scammers go for straight-up deception. The founders of scam cryptocurrency OneCoin defrauded investors of $3.8 billion by convincing people their nonexistent cryptocurrency was real.

Other scams are based on impressing potential victims with jargon or claims of specialized knowledge. The Global Trading scammers claimed they took advantage of price differences on various cryptocurrency exchanges to profit from what is called arbitrage – simply buying cheaply and selling at higher prices. Really they just took investors’ money.

Global Trading used a bot on Telegram, too – investors could send a balance inquiry message and get a response with false information about how much was in their account, sometimes even seeing balances climb by 1% in an hour. With returns looking like that, who could blame people for sharing the scheme with their friends and family on social media?

Exploiting friends and family

Once a scheme has started, it stays alive – at least for a while – through social media. One person gets taken in by the promise of big returns on cryptocurrency investments and spreads the word to friends and family members.

Sometimes big names get involved. For instance, the kingpin behind GainBitcoin and other alleged scams in India convinced a number of Bollywood celebrities to promote his book, “Cryptocurrency for Beginners.” He even tried to make himself a bit of a celebrity, proclaiming himself a “cryptocurrency guru,” as he led efforts that cost investors between $769 million and $2 billion.

Not all the celebrities know they’re involved. In one blog post, iCenter featured a video that purported to be an endorsement by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, holding a sign featuring iCenter’s logo. Videos of Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken were deceptively edited so they appeared to praise iCenter, too.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson does not actually endorse this cryptocurrency scam.

Fraudulent initial coin offerings

Another popular scam technique is done via “initial coin offerings.” A potentially legitimate investment opportunity, an initial coin offering essentially is a way for a startup cryptocurrency company to raise money from its future users: In exchange for sending active cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum, customers are promised a discount on the new cryptocoins.

Many initial coin offerings have turned out to be scams, with organizers engaging in cunning plots, even renting fake offices and creating fancy-looking marketing materials. In 2017, a lot of hype and media coverage about cryptocurrencies fed a huge wave of initial coin offering fraud. In 2018, about 1,000 initial coin offering efforts collapsed, costing backers at least $100 million. Many of these projects had no original ideas – more than 15% of them had copied ideas from other cryptocurrency efforts, or even plagiarized supporting documentation.

Investors looking for returns in a new technology sector are still interested in blockchains and cryptocurrencies – but should beware that they are complex systems that are new even to those who are selling them. Newcomers and relative experts alike have fallen prey to scams.

In an environment like the current cryptocurrency market, potential investors should be very careful to research what they’re putting their money into and be sure to find out who is involved as well as what the actual plan is for making real money – without defrauding others.The Conversation

 

Author: Nir Kshetri, Professor of Management, University of North Carolina – Greensboro

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Featured image credit: Pixabay

 

Also read:

A Look Back on Major Cryptocurrency Hacks Leading up to Binance

 

 

The post How Cryptocurrency Scams Work appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
http://fintechnews.hk/9445/blockchain/how-cryptocurrency-scams-work/feed/ 0
Tencent’s Fintech & Cloud Unit Generates US$ 3.1 Billion in Q1 of 2019 http://fintechnews.hk/9434/mobilepayment/tencent-fintech-wechatpay-performance/ http://fintechnews.hk/9434/mobilepayment/tencent-fintech-wechatpay-performance/#respond Thu, 16 May 2019 03:02:54 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=9434 In their quarterly results announcement, Tencent revealed that its fintech and cloud services generated RMB21.8 billion (US$ 3.1 Billion) in the first quarter of 2019, a 44% year-on-year growth. This

The post Tencent’s Fintech & Cloud Unit Generates US$ 3.1 Billion in Q1 of 2019 appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
In their quarterly results announcement, Tencent revealed that its fintech and cloud services generated RMB21.8 billion (US$ 3.1 Billion) in the first quarter of 2019, a 44% year-on-year growth.

This quarter marks the first time the Chinese internet giant is disclosing the performance of it’s cloud and fintech business separately. The group attributed the growth this division to the rapidly emerging demand for digital payments and the synergy of their fintech services with the social element of WeChat.

Commenting on the quarterly results Mr. Ma Huateng, Chairman and CEO of Tencent said,

“Our payment, other Fintech services and cloud business, while still at an early stage of expansion, are now generating substantial revenues, and we are consequently disclosing their results in our new Fintech and Business Services segment, demonstrating our success in organically incubating services with long-term growth potential. We believe that we are building solid foundations for future growth in both the Consumer and Industrial Internet domains.”

The group further elaborated that their decade long efforts in social payments greatly contributed to the performance of their personal wealth management and micro-loan products.

Image Credit: Featured Image – Tencent’s Facebook Page, Pony Ma – Wikimedia Commons

The post Tencent’s Fintech & Cloud Unit Generates US$ 3.1 Billion in Q1 of 2019 appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
http://fintechnews.hk/9434/mobilepayment/tencent-fintech-wechatpay-performance/feed/ 0
Hong Kong and Thailand May Be Working on a Joint Central Bank-Backed Crypto Project http://fintechnews.hk/9425/blockchain/thailand-hong-kong-crypto-central-bank-cross-border-mou-cdbc/ http://fintechnews.hk/9425/blockchain/thailand-hong-kong-crypto-central-bank-cross-border-mou-cdbc/#respond Wed, 15 May 2019 05:06:32 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=9425 The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster collaboration between the two regulatory authorities in promoting financial innovation.

The post Hong Kong and Thailand May Be Working on a Joint Central Bank-Backed Crypto Project appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster collaboration between the two regulatory authorities in promoting financial innovation.

Under the agreement, HKMA and BOT agreed to work together on referral of innovative businesses, information and experience sharing, and joint innovation projects.

One potential collaboration under consideration is a joint research project on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), to which the two authorities may apply the knowledge and experience they gained from their respective CBDC research studies, namely Project LionRock by HKMA and Project Inthanon by BOT.

hong kong thailand memorandum of understanding mou

Image Credit: Bank of Thailand

Project LionRock by HKMA was a collaboration with three note-issuing banks in Hong Kong as a study to better understand whether CBDC on distributed ledger technology (DLT) is feasible for interbank payments, corporate payments, and delivery-versus-payment of debt securities settlement.

Meanwhile Thailand’s Project Inthanon was a collaboration with R3 and eight banks to create a proof-of-concept or domestic wholesale fund transfer using wholesale CBDC—in a bid to grow Thailand’s financial infrastructure.

Norman Chan, Chief Executive of the HKMA said:

Norman Chan

Norman Chan

“The HKMA and BOT are long-time partners in a number of important financial initiatives.”

“The signing of this MoU not only demonstrates our mutual interests in developing collaborative fintech initiatives, but also underlines our on-going efforts in cross-border collaboration between central banks in promoting innovation and enhancing experience sharing.”

 

 

 

Veerathai Santiprabhob, Governor of BOT said:

veerathai santiprabhob bank of thailand

Veerathai Santiprabhob

“I believe there is huge potential to enhance quality of financial services by leveraging on technological advancement, and it is our responsibilities as regulators to create an ecosystem that is conducive to innovations.”

“The BOT looks forward to working closely with the HKMA in turning great ideas into innovative practical solutions that will ultimately improve people’s lives.”

 

Featured image via Bank of Thailand

The post Hong Kong and Thailand May Be Working on a Joint Central Bank-Backed Crypto Project appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
http://fintechnews.hk/9425/blockchain/thailand-hong-kong-crypto-central-bank-cross-border-mou-cdbc/feed/ 0
Globally, Insurtechs Received over US$1 Bil in Funding Q1 of 2019 http://fintechnews.hk/9414/insurtech/globally-insurtechs-received-over-us1-bil-in-funding-q1-of-2019/ http://fintechnews.hk/9414/insurtech/globally-insurtechs-received-over-us1-bil-in-funding-q1-of-2019/#respond Tue, 14 May 2019 10:20:47 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=9414 Insurtech investment continued its momentum with 85 deals totaling US$1.42 billion recorded in Q1 2019, marking the third-straight quarter to register more than US$1 billion in funding. Over Q4 2018,

The post Globally, Insurtechs Received over US$1 Bil in Funding Q1 of 2019 appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
Insurtech investment continued its momentum with 85 deals totaling US$1.42 billion recorded in Q1 2019, marking the third-straight quarter to register more than US$1 billion in funding.

Over Q4 2018, the deal count increased by 35%, although total funding decreased by 11%, according to the new Quarterly Insurtech Briefing from Willis Towers Watson, a global advisory, broking and solutions company.

54% of the deals of Q1 2019 were outside the US, marking a continuing trend, the firm says. Deal count in the UK increased by 50%, and in the US by 44%. However, deal count in China fell by 38%. Q1 2019 witnessed the highest-ever numbers of Series B and C funding rounds at 12 and 6 respectively “as more nascent insurtechs reach adolescence” – though two-thirds of investments were in seed and Series A rounds.

Insurtech Funding

The paper, released earlier this month, put a special focus on pricing and underwriting. It notes that data have become both “a suit of armor and a powerful weapon.” These are enabling insurers to better tailor offers, pricing and underwriting to individual customers, while improving customer experience and outcomes.

The report mentions the emergence of data aggregators, which serve the industry by bringing together diverse relevant external data sources across many different aspects of the risk, including geography, customer and risk characteristics, into a “one stop shop” for insurers, and enable real-time integration with insurer pricing and underwriting systems.

Another area that has attracted a lot of interest is the Internet of Things (IoT) and its application in and to monitored insurance. Information received from monitors provides granular data on which insurers can make more sophisticated pricing and underwriting decisions.

In motor insurance, this can be information on acceleration, braking, cornering or speeding behaviors, which are correlated with risk. In marine insurance, cargo tracking and monitoring can support risk authentication in traditional coverages.

The Willis Towers Watson paper comes on the heels of the release of Bain & Company’s Making the Most of Asia-Pacific (APAC)’s Insurance Boom report, which explores the state of the region’s insurance market and points out the many opportunities that it offers.

Bain & Company notes APAC’s rapidly expanding middle class, socio-demographic shifts, rising demand for life insurance and related products, as well as deregulation push in markets including China, India and others, as some of the key factors that will fuel the industry’s growth in the region.

But the firm warns that each country in APAC has unique characteristics, meaning that “there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for insurers operating across the region.” It highlights four main markets categories: the booming giants that are China and India; the dynamic developing markets, especially in Southeast Asia; the mature markets that include Japan, South Korea and Australia; and hybrid markets that are Hong Kong and Singapore.

insurance-asia-fig01_1440x1965-with-header

In China, large insurers like Ping An, China Life, China Pacific and the People’s Insurance Company of China (PICC) are holding commanding positions, posing challenges for overseas insurers trying to enter the market. But last year, China announced the gradual lifting of restrictions on foreign insurers, allowing companies that are 100% foreign-owned to operate in the country.

The Indian insurance industry is relatively consolidated with the top five players, New India, United India, National, ICICI Lombard and Oriental, accounting for 53% of the general insurance market and government-owned LIC controlling about 70% of the life insurance market, but reforms launched in 2015 have lifted the ceiling on foreign ownership of domestic insurers from 25% to 49%, and the government has been actively promoting the microinsurance industry.

In Southeast Asia, major developing markets like Indonesia have a highly fragmented general insurance market with the top five players accounting for just 35% of direct written premiums. Though gross written life insurance premiums grew at 11% annually from 2013 to 2017, consumer awareness of the value of insurance remains low.

In mature markets like Japan, insurers are beset by an aging population, sluggish economic growth and near-zero bond yields, and must contend with slow growth or no growth. Meanwhile, the Singapore and Hong Kong markets are mature in some respects but still developing in others. Both are competitive and highly fragmented, and both have slowly growing general insurance markets.

Finally, Bain & Company urges companies looking to expand in the region to put a particular focus on digitalization and digital solutions, noting that APAC consumers are “exceedingly receptive to new ideas and new players” with more than 85% of consumers in Thailand, Indonesia, mainland China and Malaysia, being open to buying from new entrants, according to a Bain & Company survey.

 

Featured image: Health, Pixabay.

The post Globally, Insurtechs Received over US$1 Bil in Funding Q1 of 2019 appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
http://fintechnews.hk/9414/insurtech/globally-insurtechs-received-over-us1-bil-in-funding-q1-of-2019/feed/ 0
Meet Hong Kong’s 8 New Virtual Banks http://fintechnews.hk/8951/virtual-banking/hkma-virtual-bank-license-sc-digital-livi-zhongan-za/ http://fintechnews.hk/8951/virtual-banking/hkma-virtual-bank-license-sc-digital-livi-zhongan-za/#respond Fri, 10 May 2019 06:40:32 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=8951 Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has announced a grand total of eight virtual banking license recipients, in three separate announcements so far. Despite the rumoured 29 hopefuls vying for the

The post Meet Hong Kong’s 8 New Virtual Banks appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has announced a grand total of eight virtual banking license recipients, in three separate announcements so far.

Despite the rumoured 29 hopefuls vying for the license, it’s likely that HKMA will only be granting licenses to at most, 8 applicants, which quota has been fulfilled as of yesterday.

With the intention of launching their Hong Kong offering within 6 to 9 months, those selected to pass the reportedly high benchmarks set by HKMA for its virtual banking license are:

Ant SME

alipay hong kong virtual banking ant sme

Image Credit: AlipayHK

Owned By:

ant financial virtual bank

According to Yicai Global, Ant SME Services was indirectly registered in Hong Kong last year by Alipay (Hong Kong) Holdings, a unit fully owned by Ant Financial.

Not much information is known about the virtual bank, but the name does imply that its offerings will gear towards SMEs. In a tweet celebrating the license, Ant Financial indicated that they will be borking on promoting the development of inclusive finance.

Insight Fintech

insight fintech xiaomi amtd

Image Credit: AMTD

Joint Venture Between:

xiaomi virtual bank amtd virtual bank

Insight Fintech is a JV between Xiaomi and AMTD Group, where Xiaomi own 90% of the joint company.

AMTD Group is a non-bank financial institution which provides provides capital markets and advisory, asset management, insurance brokerage, and strategic investment services.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi is primarily known as a smartphone brand, but it also has made stakes into fintech. One example is the launch of a micro-loan platform in India named CreditBee, in collaboration with one of its investees, KrazyBee.

According to an AMTD press release, Insight fintech aims to help people enjoy the fun of financial technology, particularly since tranditional financial services are often difficult to reach.

Therefore, their goal is to create unique virtual banking services, capitalising on Xiaomi’s relatively strong positioning into IoT. The goal is to release the service in 6 months. Insight Virtual Bank claims that they will focus on converging fintech and traditional bankign services, particularly utilising automation-related technology like artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain.

Infinium

infinium tencent virtual bank

Image Credit: Chris Yunker on Flickr

Joint Venture Between:
tencent virtual bankingicbc virtual bankhillhouse capital virtual bank

Infinium is a joint venture between Tencent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, a unit of Chinese banking giant ICBC, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX), the operator of the Hong Kong stock exchange, Hillhouse Capital, and investment from Adrian Cheng, via Perfect Ridge Limited.

Tencent has been operating WeChat Pay in Hong Kong. ICBC plays an adivsory role regarding banking operations and management, while HKEX will ofer its guidance in operating a financial market. Hiilhouse Capital will apparently offer long-term a more long term perspective born from its role as a investment management firm, and lastly Adrian Cheng backs the project with social resource and financial experience.

Infinium looks to offer a full-service virtual banking experience, particularly highlighting small-value deposit services to those who don’t have access to a conventional banking system. Infinium will also not require any minimum account balance, or low-balance fees for bot the public and SMEs.

Livi VB

livi vb bank of china hong kong hkma virtual banking license jd digital

Joint Venture Between:
bank of china virtual bank hong kongjardines virtual bank hong kongjd digits virtual bank hong kong

You’ve probably noticed a pattern by now, as Livi VB is also a joint venture between Bank of China (Hong Kong), JD Digits, and Jardines—who also announced their joint forces the day they confirmed their license with HKMA. The resulting company is currently worth HK$2. billion.

JD Digits, formerly JD Finance, is a known digital tech company focused on the financial sector, while Jardines is one of Asia’s largest conglomerates, with a varied portfolio containing 7-11, Hongkong Land, Mannings, and many others.

Livi VB will be launched using trendy technologies like AI, blockchain, big data and smart risk modeling in a bid to create a seamless digital ecosystem. The name of the game for Livi is flexible solutions, which seems to translate to the usual virtual bank offering: the ability to sign up anywhere and everywhere online.

However, Livi has also indicated that their virtual bank would complement lifestyle offerings like clothing, food, accommodations, and other forms of shopping and leisure so it’s likely that they would move towards their own little ecosystem similar to how SC Digital might do it.

SC Digital

sc digital standard chartered ctrip HKT telco hkma hong kong virtual banking license

Image Credit: SC Digital

Joint Venture Between:

ctrip virtual bank hong kong hkt telco virtual bank standard chartered pccw limited virtual bank

Standard Chartered with PCCW Limited, HKT and Ctrip Hong Kong announced their joint venture, SC Digital, which received the coveted virtual banking license.

As Hong Kongers would know, PCCW is the notable owner of HKT, one of the dominant telcos in the region. Meanwhile, Ctrip is a Chinese travel services provider.

With the license, SC Digital seeks to deliver a standalone retail bank in Hong Kong, a more straightforward iteration compared to ZA International’s, it seems.

As a virtual bank, SC Digital will offer the ability to open accounts and apply for financial services on-the-go, but beyond that SC Digital expressed intentions towards a suite of retail financial services and products. With HKT and Ctrip in tow, that probably translates to telecom-related offerings, and travel services in the mix.

For SC Digital’s strategy, it seems like they intend to create an ecosystem around its virtual bank to encourage stickiness amongst virtual bank customers. The lifestyle offering here is obvious, but it will of course remain to be seen if Hong Kongers are swayed.

PingAn One Connect

ping an oneconnect launch singapore

Image Credit: Ping An Group

Owned By:
ping an oneconnect

Ping An One Connect is a unit of Mainland China’s insurance giant PingAn. OneConnect in particular is a fintech SaaS provider of solutions geared towards SME financial institutions. The solutions are based on technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud platforms and biometrics identification—which will likely be incorporated into the upcoming virtual banking offering.

Earlier this year, Ping An announced that it was gearing up for an initial public offering of its OneConnect spinoff by listing in Hong Kong as soon as the second half of this year. The move towards getting a virtual banking license seems tied to the IPO. It’s said to have partnered with more than 460 banks and 1.800 other financial services firms.

WeLab

WeLab Hong Virtual Banking License HKMA

Owned By:

welab virtual bank

WeLab is a later addition to the list of approved virtual banks, it is the only one on the list that is a home grown fintech.

Started in 2013, WeLab operates WeLend in Hong Kong, Wolaidai (我来贷) in Mainland China and Maucash in Indonesia.

Having qualified for HKMA’s stringent requirements, it should come as no surprise that WeLab is very well funded, to date it has raised $US 425 Million in funds. It is backed by big names like Sequoia, Alibaba, ING Bank and IFC.

The company has since gone on to earn various accolades including, being recognised by us as the top 20 Fintechs In Hong Kong and by CB Insights as the top 250 fintechs in the world.

 

Zhong An Virtual Finance

za international zhongan hkma virtual banking license

Owned By:

zhong an virtual bank za international

The China insurtech giant has received the virtual banking license via its subsidiary, ZhongAn Virtual Finance Limited. Since the announcement, the company has not done much more than announce its website for ZA International, which for now, seems to only function as a newsletter recruitment drive.

ZhongAn is an online-only insurtech giant in China, and thus, it will be interesting to see if their virtual bank offering in Hong Kong will skew towards insurtech, or if they will be launching something more typically related to the term virtual bank.

Despite Hong Kong’s proximity to the mainland, ZhongAn seems to appreciate that market sentiments in both are a world away, and is using the website to seek opinions about their product development and design process. It’s an interesting gimmick, which allows them to collect feedback and also court customer engagement ahead of their launch into the region.

ZA International was founded in Hong Kong in 2017 as a base to bring the ZhongAn brand to an international scope. It is a subsidiary of ZA International that received the virtual bank license.

 

 

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on 27th March 2019 and has been updated on 10th May 2019 to reflect the new licenses granted for virtual banking in Hong Kong. 

 

 

The post Meet Hong Kong’s 8 New Virtual Banks appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
http://fintechnews.hk/8951/virtual-banking/hkma-virtual-bank-license-sc-digital-livi-zhongan-za/feed/ 0
Ant Financial, Tencent, and Xiaomi Are Among HK’s New 4 Virtual Banking Licensees http://fintechnews.hk/9363/virtual-banking/hong-kong-virtual-banking-license-ant-sme-infinium-insight-ping-an-oneconnect/ http://fintechnews.hk/9363/virtual-banking/hong-kong-virtual-banking-license-ant-sme-infinium-insight-ping-an-oneconnect/#respond Thu, 09 May 2019 10:40:29 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=9363 The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) issued virtual banking rights to 4 more companies: Ant SME Services (Hong Kong) , Infinium, Insight Fintech HK, and Ping An OneConnect. According to

The post Ant Financial, Tencent, and Xiaomi Are Among HK’s New 4 Virtual Banking Licensees appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) issued virtual banking rights to 4 more companies: Ant SME Services (Hong Kong) , Infinium, Insight Fintech HK, and Ping An OneConnect.

According to their business plans, these four newly licenced virtual banks intend to launch their services in around 6 to 9 months.

 

Many of these new licensees come with strong backing, below is a quick look at the the companies behind the new licensees. 5 were predicted earlier to be among the companies who will be granted virtual banking licenses.

 

Norman Chan Chief Executive of the HKMA, said:

Norman Chan

Norman Chan

“We are pleased to grant four more virtual banking licences today. The HKMA is now working closely with the 8 virtual bank licensees to prepare for the launch of their business operations in accordance with their plans.”

The HKMA will closely monitor the operations of virtual banks after they have commenced business, including customers’ reactions to the new modes of delivery of financial services as well as the impact, if any, of these virtual banks on the banking sector in general.

The HKMA expects to be able to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the situation about one year after the first virtual bank has launched its service.After the granting of the above banking licences, the number of licensed banks in Hong Kong increases to 160.

So far, it seems like companies backed by established corporations are still primary recipients of Hong Kong’s virtual banking license, with the exception of WeLab. Besides Tencent and Ping An, previous recipients include subsidiaries of Bank of China, JD Digits, Standard Chartered, ZhongAn and Jardines.

HKMA has now granted virtual banking licenses to 8 companies total. With several of the earlier licensees struggling to find talent, this will likely intensify the war for talent.

The post Ant Financial, Tencent, and Xiaomi Are Among HK’s New 4 Virtual Banking Licensees appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
http://fintechnews.hk/9363/virtual-banking/hong-kong-virtual-banking-license-ant-sme-infinium-insight-ping-an-oneconnect/feed/ 0
Hong Kong Insurtech OneDegree Closes Over US$ 30 Million in Extended Series A http://fintechnews.hk/9342/insurtech/one-degree-series-a-extended-round/ http://fintechnews.hk/9342/insurtech/one-degree-series-a-extended-round/#respond Thu, 09 May 2019 06:38:28 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=9342 OneDegree, a Hong Kong-based insurance technology start-up under Cyberport Incubation Programme, extends its Series A round to above US$30 million, subject to regulator’s approval. The extended round is led by

The post Hong Kong Insurtech OneDegree Closes Over US$ 30 Million in Extended Series A appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
OneDegree, a Hong Kong-based insurance technology start-up under Cyberport Incubation Programme, extends its Series A round to above US$30 million, subject to regulator’s approval.

The extended round is led by BitRock Capital and it sees participation from Cyberport Macro Fund, Cathay Venture, and previous investors from its Series A.

OneDegree intends to use the funds to accelerate efforts to scale its end-to-end digital insurance platform, launch new product offerings in Hong Kong, and explore growth opportunities including the “Greater Bay Area” initiative. It’s co-founder Alex Leung added that it is an opportune time for Hong Kong to secure their leadership in the Greater Bay Area.

The insurtech startup claims that its proprietary platform provides a seamless and intuitive interface for the modern-day consumer to manage their insurance policies.

Cyberport’s chairman emphasized in a statement to the media that this is investment into OneDegree reaffirms their commitment to developing Hong Kong as Asia’s leading fintech hub.

Previously OneDegree announced a close of over HKD 100 Million (US$12.7 Million) in September 2018.

The post Hong Kong Insurtech OneDegree Closes Over US$ 30 Million in Extended Series A appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
http://fintechnews.hk/9342/insurtech/one-degree-series-a-extended-round/feed/ 0
WeChat Pay Will Start Terminating Accounts Caught Dealing with Crypto http://fintechnews.hk/9340/blockchain/wechat-crypto-bitcoin-ban-liquidity/ http://fintechnews.hk/9340/blockchain/wechat-crypto-bitcoin-ban-liquidity/#respond Thu, 09 May 2019 04:40:30 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=9340 WeChat Pay, one of China’s most popular e-wallet providers, has just updated its payment policy to ban cryptocurrency transactions. The move was first noticed by founding partner of crypto investment

The post WeChat Pay Will Start Terminating Accounts Caught Dealing with Crypto appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
WeChat Pay, one of China’s most popular e-wallet providers, has just updated its payment policy to ban cryptocurrency transactions. The move was first noticed by founding partner of crypto investment firm Primitive, Dovey Wan in a tweet.

According to the tweet, merchants that serve any token issuance or fund raising of crypto trading activities will risk account termination. Since most over-the-counter transactions locally occur on WeChat, Dovey expressed concern that the move would impact liquidity to some extent.

The updated rules will come into force on the 31st of May, stopping merchants from using its platform to engage in “illegal transactions” like virtual currency.

The tweet contained a screenshot of the policy changes, which intimates that users who engage in cryptocurrency trading will have their accounts terminated.

China has long stood as a powerful region for the crypto space, but in recent years, its regulators have been looking to crack down on the nascent scene.

For one thing, China has long been one of the biggest contributors to Bitocin mining, thanks to the numbers of computer hardware specifically designed for mining hailing from the region.

Previously, mining falls under a regulatory grey area, but the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in April that it was seeking public opiion on a revised list of industries that it may encourage, restrict or eliminate. A revised draft of the list added cryptocurrency mining as an activity that should be phased out.

WeChat’s move to crack down on cryptocurrencies could be the marker  of increasing governmental pressure on the decentralised coins. The country generally keeps a tight leash on cashflow in and out of its borders, and cryptocurrency threatens to undermine capital controls. Of course, there’s also the concern that cryptocurrencies can be used to circumvent laws to buy goods and services against Chinese law.

CEO of Binance Changpeng Zhao (CZ) responded to Dovey’s tweets echoing these sentiments.

He also said that “this is a classic example of short term pain, long term gain”. To CZ, in the long term, similar types of restrictions on freedom will push people to use cryptocurrency.

He concluded that it’s not a bad thing.

Featured image via WeChat Pay

The post WeChat Pay Will Start Terminating Accounts Caught Dealing with Crypto appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
http://fintechnews.hk/9340/blockchain/wechat-crypto-bitcoin-ban-liquidity/feed/ 0
Top 10 Fintech Startups In Japan http://fintechnews.hk/9243/fintechjapan/top-10-fintech-startups-in-japan/ http://fintechnews.hk/9243/fintechjapan/top-10-fintech-startups-in-japan/#respond Mon, 06 May 2019 09:57:52 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=9243 In 2018 and early 2019, the Japanese fintech market witnessed significant developments. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) published a report in December 2018 which proposed new regulatory requirements for virtual

The post Top 10 Fintech Startups In Japan appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
In 2018 and early 2019, the Japanese fintech market witnessed significant developments. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) published a report in December 2018 which proposed new regulatory requirements for virtual currency exchange service providers and a new regulatory framework for initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The FSA has also announced its intention to ease restrictions on the types of activities in which banks can engage and launched in June 2018 a new regulatory sandbox regime to allow fintechs and financial companies to test innovative products.

As the Japanese fintech industry continues to grow, we look today at ten of the country’s top fintech startups.

BitFlyer

BitFlyer is a Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange. The company claims to be the largest bitcoin exchange in the world by volume, transacting US$250 billion year-to-date. It also offers an API allowing clients to access and control their accounts, in addition to e-commerce payment services. Since it was founded in 2014, BitFlyer has grown to more than 2 million users and expanded into the US and Europe.

Folio

Founded in 2015, Folio offers an online security brokerage service in Japan, specializing in thematic investing. With the mission to make investing barrier-free, Folio has built a securities brokerage platform that enables users to compile a diversified portfolio, managing their assets through a robo-advisor, but also by choosing themes depending on what they are interested in or want to support. Folio was named one of 2018’s top 100 fintech innovators by KPMG and H2 Ventures.

Freee

Freee, formerly CFO K.K., offers cloud-based accounting and HR software and claims to have over one million business accounts. The technology syncs with bank accounts and automatically categorizes entries to create financial reports. The company has over 5,000 certified accountant advisors who help it reach new customers and also use it for their own work, and says that over 3,500 apps and services, including mainly financial products, are integrated with its software. Freee is the most well-funded fintech startup in Japan.

LinePay

linepay top japan fintech startups

LinePay is Japan’s answer to WeChat Pay, a social messaging app-turned e-wallet solution in the predominantly cash-based Japan. Earlier this year, it injected US$182 million into its payments unit Line Pay Corp, following posted losses for the company. Line’s betting on building an ecosystem to drive users, which includes gaming, e-commerce, manga and job services. The Line chap app has an estimated 50 million registered users.

Moneytree

Founded in 2012, Moneytree KK develops and offers personal finance management applications on iPhone, iPad, and Apple watch. Moneytree LINK, its proprietary data aggregation platform, has almost twenty enterprise clients, including Japan’s two largest accounting software vendors, Mizuho Bank, SMBC (Mitsui Sumitomo) and multiple regional banks in Japan. The company has a strategic partnership with IBM and claims more than 1.3 million users.

Money Design

Founded in 2013, Money Design provides automated investment management and online advisory services. Its main product, called Theo, uses algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) previously only available to professional investors. With Theo, people can invest in dozens of world currencies and thousands of different stocks from more than 60 countries. The application automatically balances customers’ account based on their investing goals.

One Tap BUY

One Tap BUY, formerly known as My banker, specializes in finance related application services. The company develops asset management applications. In particular, it provides a mobile app that allows users to easily choose then buy US-listed stocks and Japanese exchange traded funds rather than using conventional trading platforms. One Tap BUY is backed by SoftBank and Mizuho, among others.

Origami

Founded in 2012, Origami operates the Origami Pay service accepted at about 20,000 locations across Japan. The service lets users pay with their mobile phones by scanning QR codes at participating vendors. Money is deducted from registered bank accounts or credit cards. Origami has been building a presence in greater Asia including ChinaTaiwan and Southeast Asia. In 2018, the company was named one of the top 250 fintech startups by CB Insights.

Quoine

Founded in 2014, Quoine is a fintech company that provides trading, exchange, and next-generation financial services powered by blockchain technology. With offices in Singapore, Japan and Vietnam, Quoine operates the Liquid crypto platform which the company claims “is the world’s largest crypto-fiat platform by transaction volume, regulated in Japan.” It raised its Series C funding round earlier this month.

WealthNavi

Founded in 2015, WealthNavi develops and delivers an online asset management and risk management platform. Its cloud-based platform provides robo-advisory services that enable users to locate diversified investments internationally. As of April 2019, approximately two years and eight months after its official launch, WealthNavi exceeded 140 billion yen of assets under management.

 

Other resources you might be interested in:

Top Fintech Startups Asia

Curious about what are the top fintech startups are in other Asian countries? Here’s a handy guide looking at the top fintech startups in Asia by country

The post Top 10 Fintech Startups In Japan appeared first on Fintech Hong Kong.

]]>
http://fintechnews.hk/9243/fintechjapan/top-10-fintech-startups-in-japan/feed/ 0