Fintech Hong Kong http://fintechnews.hk - FintechNewsHK Fri, 21 Sep 2018 08:10:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Crushed By China’s P2P Crackdowns, Lufax’s Global Strategy Is Now Robo-Advisors http://fintechnews.hk/6944/roboadvisor/lufax-lu-international-robo-advisor/ http://fintechnews.hk/6944/roboadvisor/lufax-lu-international-robo-advisor/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 05:45:12 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=6944 Just in March, Lufax had big aspirations towards launching an IPO that they hoped would raise its valuation to USD60 billion, a huge jump from when the company last valued

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Just in March, Lufax had big aspirations towards launching an IPO that they hoped would raise its valuation to USD60 billion, a huge jump from when the company last valued at US$ 18.5 billion in 2016. Unfortunately, a rampant slew of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) scams spurred Beijing a crackdown that is slowly tanking the industry.

Lufax was set up in 2011 by Ping An Insurance Group, a diversified holdings company mainly dealing in insurance, banking and financial services.

Until recently, China was considered the largest P2P market in the world which helped companies like Lufax to rise, partly due to China’s lax rules in the area.

A report by ECNS revealed that a number of P2P lending platforms have been collapsing following the change. Names such as lianbijr and txlicai were investigated by the Chinese authorities, while lenders like Yilongcaifu collapsed under police investigation.

Due to these crackdowns, experts have warned investors against illegal financial activities that offer lucrative rewards.

Admist an uncertain market, Lufax postponed its IPO bid, but began seeking more investments to instead pivot into online wealth management—an interesting move since some of the companies that have shuttered their doors were also involved in online wealth management.

The pivot reportedly drew the interest of a sovereign fund, Qatar Investment Authority for its online wealth management side of the business though it seems negotiations are still underway.

So Lufax Has Its Eyes Set on the International Market

After setting up base in Singapore end of last year, Lu International, a global subsidiary of Lufax launches their first product—a wealth management platform.

The company had already obtained an operating license from the Singapore authorities in 2017, so it when its China business was in danger and its IPO a no-go, it was a strategic move for them to finally put real effort into getting their international presence off the ground.

While the Lufax is known for its Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending business, Lu Global’s focus today is characterised as premium wealth management products, some which accept values lower than USD1,000. With varying entry barriers, the 15 products offered are said to cater to high net worth individuals who would like to make investments online.

According to Lu Global, they are attempting to capitalise on the high number of high net worth individuals holding offshore wealth in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan), due to concerns about economic markets and political risks—in both emerging markets and mature markets in the region. Hong Kong was characterised as one of the most active of these in the report.

At present, there are 15 products on the platform, comprising a mixture of open-ended and closed-ended funds. Users are able to access Lu Global’s services via mobile app, and according to its website, any cash invested is held with DBS Bank Singapore.

Kit Wong, CEO at Lu International said:

lu global wealth management robo advisor kit wong lufax lu international ping an

“Our mission is to make investing intuitive, accessible and self-directed. Investors will experience this as they register themselves on Lu Global. From onboarding to selecting their investment portfolio, investors will be equipped with financial information sufficient to make sound investment decisions.”

“We are thrilled to launch Lu Global in Singapore. We’ve received overwhelming interest from potential investors, fund houses and distributor networks since we first announced our plans for Singapore.”

Its core business in China remains in P2P lending, but it seems like the company is playing it safe by venturing into wealth management, and seem to see more potential in their newer offering for their global entity. The company may be playing it safe in this region, due to the high number of Indonesian P2P lending firms that have been established and ready to expand in a market they are more familiar with.

Featured image via Lu Global

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QTUM Celebrates First Year with New Update http://fintechnews.hk/6945/blockchain/qtum-celebrates-first-year-with-new-update/ http://fintechnews.hk/6945/blockchain/qtum-celebrates-first-year-with-new-update/#respond Thu, 20 Sep 2018 16:10:08 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=6945 After the first full year of operation, blockchain protocol QTUM has plenty to celebrate, both for its future and its already illustrious past. In its short time on the market QTUM

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After the first full year of operation, blockchain protocol QTUM has plenty to celebrate, both for its future and its already illustrious past. In its short time on the market QTUM has achieved several transformative successes and is aiming for much grander things with new initiatives and a new roadmap for 2019 and beyond.

Among the most significant milestones during QTUM’s year one was the launch of its main net and essential advances in the research and community development front. This includes funding several key areas of study at academic institutions such as The University of California-Berkley in the United States, Xi’an Jiaotong University and Xidian University in China, and the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.

The team has also taken great steps to improve its outreach, holding a variety of meetups, conferences, and face-to-face community events. Additionally,QTUM started to build a Community Ambassadors program which will help connect with grassroots initiatives and projects within the sector.

qtum

Patrick Dai, QTUM CEO

Looking to the Future

With the QTUM blockchain successfully operational and active, the Foundation has now set their eyes on the horizon and has big plans for 2019. Currently, Qtum is building a new footing for the platform’s 0.16 update, with the goal of improving scalability and performance, as well as achieving 50,000 transactions per second.

The new QTUM chain will have Segwit technology enabled by default and will also include several key upgrades. These include an efficiency improvement for SHA256 hashing and lower CPU usage, which will enhance performance and reduce resource inputs. It will also feature faster synchronization of nodes.

QTUM is developing its x86 virtual machine, which will improve smart contract functionality regarding security, ease of use, as well as auditibility. The company will also implement a new database tool, DeltaDB, which will align more closely with its UTXO model.

The Foundation’s plans to increase the utility of its platform through the development of QTUM-X, an enterprise level blockchain ecosystem which utilizes Proof of Authority for a more stable, safer consensus model. Primarily, the goal is to create a more user-friendly environment for enterprise management.

QTUM’s new roadmap includes several key highlights:

  • The first public release version of QTUM-X in Q1 2019
  • Launching the first public testnet for x86 smart contracts in Q2 2019
  • Launching the second public testnet for x86VM in Q3 2019
  • Integrating x86VM into the QTUM main network by Q4 2019

QTUM is a Singapore-based blockchain technology that bridges Ethereum’s smart contracts on top of Bitcoin’s stable blockchain while using proof of stake for verification. By doing so, QTUM hopes to increase the range and interoperability of smart contract applications, especially for business and institutional purposes. In addition, QTUM will implement tools, templates, and other plug-and-play smart contract options to make it easier for businesses to build and execute smart contracts.

 

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Hong Kong is Wild Card for Tech Startups, Meanwhile Shenzhen and Beijing Tops the List http://fintechnews.hk/6914/china/shenzhen-bangalore-and-singapore-best-locations-for-tech-enterprises-in-asia/ http://fintechnews.hk/6914/china/shenzhen-bangalore-and-singapore-best-locations-for-tech-enterprises-in-asia/#respond Wed, 19 Sep 2018 07:00:18 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=6914 Colliers released its latest research report Top Locations in Asia’s Technology sector. The report, based on a comprehensive study of 16 cities in developed and emerging markets across Asia, examines nearly 50

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Colliers released its latest research report Top Locations in Asia’s Technology sector.

The report, based on a comprehensive study of 16 cities in developed and emerging markets across Asia, examines nearly 50 criteria across a spectrum of socio-economic, property and human factors to determine the viability of these cities as tech hubs as a workability index for the tech sector.

Overall score- three cities on 61% or higher

Andrew Haskins, Colliers’ Asia Head of Research, commented:

Andrew Haskins

Andrew Haskins

“Launched this year to support the rapidly growing tech sector in Asia, this new study builds on Colliers’ earlier “Tech Trends in Asia” research by recommending the best urban locations for technology firms. Bangalore, Singapore and Shenzhen stand out as top choices for starting or expanding technology operations in Asia.

Modest long-run growth prospects hold down developed cities like Tokyo and Taipei for the sector. While emerging cities offer high growth potential and low operating costs, they tend to score lower on employment criteria and human aspirational metrics.”

Tricia Song, Head of Research for Singapore, said:

Tricia Song

Tricia Song

“The Singapore Government launched the Smart Nation initiative in late-2014 to spur the pervasive adoption of digital and smart technologies across the country. Nearly four years on, the move has gained traction not just among Singapore’s population, but also large and small businesses as well as within the public sector.

As Singapore continues to transform into an innovation-led, high-tech economy, it will remain a compelling business destination for global technology firms. We believe it presents lots of upside potential for the real estate sector, particularly the office space and high-specification industrial space, such as data centres.”

Tech Trends in Asia

“Acquiring talent is a key challenge for tech firms in Asia. Talent is concentrated in specific markets, notably Chindia (China and India), which also offer high growth. To retain talent, tech firms need to move toward the CBD or CBD fringe. Additionally, artificial intelligence (AI) threatens demand for workforce space, but drives productivity growth and returns. These conclusions led us to weigh growth and availability of talent highly in our “Top Locations” scoring,”

Mr. Haskins explained.

Top Locations for Tech Firms

Top Locations for Tech Firms

Bangalore’s (Score: 68%; Position: #1) greatest strengths are socio-economic, set to be the fastest-growing city in Asia over the next five to 10 years, and benefits from a wide and deep talent pool. Bangalore also boasts the largest stock of Grade A office space in Asia after Tokyo, low staff costs and office rents, and low cost of living. However, the city scores less well on quality of office accommodation and quality of infrastructure.

Singapore (Score: 63%; Position: #2) comes in second place as it scores highly on the socio-economic index, due largely to its strong talent pool, and on aspirational measures including personal tax rate, safety and living quality. Singapore is expected to continue to benefit from its position as a well-connected financial and communications hub for South East Asia and APAC operations.

Shenzhen’s (Score: 61%; Position: #3) high ranking comes as no surprise as it currently reigns as China’s technology capital. Heavy investment in R&D has broadened the city’s tech base far beyond hardware manufacturing. Shenzhen scores highly on property factors due to moderate staff costs, ample office stock, flexible workspace, and planned new supply. Shenzhen has also surpassed Hong Kong by GDP and is expected to benefit further from closer integration of the Greater Bay Area hubs.

shenzen

Alternative Tech Locations

Beijing (Score: 60%; Position: #4) scores highly on economic scale and growth potential and is known for its abundance in talent. Staff costs are moderate despite CBD rents being the highest in China. The city is well-placed to strengthen its position as a leading centre of Artificial Intelligence.

Hyderabad (Score: 59%; Position: #7) ranks highly on growth potential like all Indian cities, but lower on other socio-economic factors and does not match Bangalore as a source of talent. However, tax rates and cost of living are low and the city scores better than many other Indian cities on human factors.

Wild Card Tech Location

Hong Kong (Score: 59%; Position: #8) is not typically viewed as an innovation hub for tech occupiers; however, Hong Kong is becoming more appealing for several reasons which include connectivity with Shenzhen and South China, recent expansion in Hong Kong by big tech firms such as Facebook and Alibaba, and accelerating investment in Fintech in the city.

Singapore: Second best location in Asia for tech firms

According to Colliers’ study, Singapore’s leading position on socio-economic factors (35.6%) has helped to mitigate its relatively average score on the property (13.6%) metric, which was held back by the limited total prime grade office stock.

The city-state came out top in Asia as a source of talent, reflecting the strength of the country’s educational and research facilities and their perceived international outlook. In addition, it also ranked first overall on employment considerations: political stability, ease of doing business, corporate tax rate, city infrastructure and English language capability.

You can download the full ranking here

 

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11 Accelerators and Incubators in Hong Kong, Fintech Startups Should Know http://fintechnews.hk/6899/various/11-accelerators-and-incubators-in-hong-kong-fintech-startups-should-know/ http://fintechnews.hk/6899/various/11-accelerators-and-incubators-in-hong-kong-fintech-startups-should-know/#respond Wed, 19 Sep 2018 05:23:05 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=6899 Hong Kong, a global financial hub, has seen strong growth of its fintech industry. The city now hosts 48 of the top-100 fintech companies in the world, according to IDC

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Hong Kong, a global financial hub, has seen strong growth of its fintech industry. The city now hosts 48 of the top-100 fintech companies in the world, according to IDC Financial Insight 2015.

Hong Kong has also seen a vast increase in incubation and acceleration programs over the six years, growing from three in 2010 to over 40 in 2015. The followings are some of the city’s top accelerators and incubators in Hong Kong available for fintech startups:

 

Fintech Innovation Lab

Fintech Innovation Lab Asia PacificFintech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is a 12-week mentoring accelerator and incubator program sponsored and managed by Accenture. The program brings together leading financial services institutions, angel investors and venture capital firms across Asia to provide startups with the opportunity to work with future customers, perfect propositions, gain insights to the banking industry and build strong relationships.

Fintech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific aims to nurture early-stage companies from around the world that are developing new technologies for the financial services sector with a particular focus on the region. The Hong Kong program is supported by Cyberport, which provides workspace for the selected teams and entrepreneurs.

 

DBS Accelerator

DBS AcceleratorDBS Accelerator is an startup acceleration program provided in partnership with Hong Kong VC firm Nest. The program is targeted at fintech-focused startups at seed through Series B stages that address one of the following areas of focus: digital channel experience, compliance monitoring, credit digitalization, customer engagement and cybersecurity.

Startups receive mentorship from carefully selected business leaders working in various business units to help them develop their solution and guide them towards a potential pilot. They also get to be introduced to quality global investors with proven track records and a chance to pitch at Demo Day.

 

SuperCharger Fintech Accelerator

supercharger-fintech-accelerator-hong-kongSuperCharger is 12-week fintech acceleration program designed for early-stage startups and established scale-up companies. SuperCharger does not take any equity and gives selected startups access to go-to-market resources, mentorship, as well as technology and expert advice in areas such as market entry, regulatory obligations, and joint-venture opportunities.

SuperCharger started in Hong Kong where it sought to leverage on Hong Kong’s traditional strength as Asia’s finance and technology gateway. It began its expansion into ASEAN in late-2017, with Malaysia as the first country of entry.

SuperCharger is backed by prominent partners from the financial services industry including Standard Chartered Bank, and Fidelity International.

 

Moment Accelerator

Moment AcceleratorMoment Accelerator claims to be Asia’s first regtech-focused accelerator, enabling startups and financial institutions to come together with the goal of accelerating industry transformation within the regtech and fintech space.

Moment Accelerator focuses on growth-stage companies that are looking to validate, grow and scale their businesses in Asia. The program does not take any equity and provides brand and product exposure. Selected startups get to connect with leading financial institutions and have their products and services validated through proofs-of-concept with financial partners.

 

Cyberport Incubation Programme

Cyberport Incubation ProgramThe Cyberport Incubation Programme is targeted at companies in the areas of fintech, AI/big data, e-commerce, edtech, IoT and wearables, e-sport, and ICT-related segments.

The program aims to support the development of the Hong Kong ICT industry by providing incubated companies with access to advanced facilities and resources, support in business development, financing and hiring of graduate interns, as well as entrepreneurship and technology training.

Eligible companies must be registered in Hong Kong or plan on forming one soon, have sufficient funds, or have plans or potential to raise sufficient funds to operate for at least one year, and have developed a new project/product in ICT sectors.

Selected companies receive a maximum grant of HK$330,000, and Hong Kong registered startups with office at Cyberport get a 24-month rent free office space at hub.

 

Incu-App Programme

The Incu-App Programme, by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), is targeted at tech startups developing web based applications, smartphone based apps, PC or Internet or smartphone console games, and related products. The program aims to provide support to companies working on web technologies during their inception stages.

Eligible companies must be Hong Kong registered technology startup companies established for no more than two years before the date of application. Founding team members must hold more than 50% of the company at the time of application submission.

Selected startups receive technical and management assistance, office space and facilities, promotion and development assistance, business support and financial aid package.

 

Sprinter

Jointly launched by the HKSTP, HSBC, and the Hong Kong Business Angel Network (HKBAN), Sprinter is a two-year program aiming to energize the Hong Kong innovation and technology ecosystem.

Sprinter is divided into two tracks:

Entrepreneur Track: A track with two cohorts that will equip at least 120 technology companies with the knowhow through a series of structured training provided by professionals including academia, bankers, VCs, accountants and lawyers from Hong Kong and overseas. Ten selected companies from each cohort will enter the second stage, which focuses on supporting companies for business expansion and fundraising over a seven-month period.

Business Angel Track: A track that aims to enhance the capabilities and practical knowledge of angel investors and individuals who aspire to become angel investors through knowledge exchange activities including seminars and meetings. After completion of this track, participants will become more familiar with the venture investment in Hong Kong so as to energize the business angel ecosystem.

 

Founder Institute

The Founder Institute is a startup pre-seed accelerator program for tech-enabled businesses. It is based in Silicon Valley with chapters across 60 countries and locations including Hong Kong.

The Founder Institute’s mission is to “globalize Silicon Valley” and build sustainable startup ecosystems worldwide. The program provides early-stage and aspiring entrepreneurs with the structure, training, mentor support, and global network needed to start an enduring company.

So far, the Founder Institute has helped over 3,300 companies raise more than US$700 million and build some of the world’s fastest growing companies. Alumni of the program include French cryptocurrency exchange platform Paymium and Filipino online platform for receivables discounting Acudeen.

 

LimeHK

LimeHK offers tailored incubation and acceleration programs for early to middle stage startups. It provides in-depth mentorship, business shaping, growth hacking and investment engineered for local startups.

LimeHK strives to help its startups become self sustaining, scale-up and get early investments. The personalized program accelerates startups within 3 to 6 months.

To early stage startups, LimeHK provides services valued over US$100,000 and tailor-made mentorship to put them onto the right track. To mature startups, it offers funding up to US$130,000 and lines up partnership to help them scale up globally.

 

Scalabl

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Scalabl is a global startup ecosystem with a presence in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Scalabl works with top-notch professionals, prospective entrepreneurs or experienced ones to build great companies by creating scalable, repeatable, profitable and sustainable business models. It also works with corporations on intrapreneurship and governments around the world on innovation and entrepreneurship policy advising.

Scalabl operates the so-called Scalabl Academy, which allows prospective or high potential entrepreneurs to turn an idea into a company, or an existing venture into a scalable one in a one-month program with a very hands-on and practical approach.

The program has over 350 graduates and has helped create or scale more than 100 companies in this program since September 2016.

 

Betatron

BetatronBetatron invests in promising startups, refines their business models and fast-tracks them to grow and scale over an intensive four-month period.

Betatron is vertical and industry agnostic. The objectives are to optimize startups’ business model, position them to scale, and then help them raise their first institutional investment round.

Each startup is assigned a lead mentor from one of Betatron’s partners. Based on the needs of each startup, mentors from different industry segments and specialties are plugged into each startup to help optimize the business.

Each startup receives US$30,000 funding via a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) note. Selected startups also get free co-working space at the Betatron Lab.

 

Featured image by Ruslan Bardash on Unsplash

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UnionPay Expands its Mobile Payments App into Hong Kong and Macau http://fintechnews.hk/6866/china/unionpay-app-launch-expand-macau-hong-kong/ http://fintechnews.hk/6866/china/unionpay-app-launch-expand-macau-hong-kong/#respond Fri, 14 Sep 2018 10:30:07 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=6866 UnionPay announced that it has started to offer its mobile services to customers in Hong Kong and Macau, in a move that is said to meet increasing payment needs brought

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UnionPay announced that it has started to offer its mobile services to customers in Hong Kong and Macau, in a move that is said to meet increasing payment needs brought by the exchanges between Hong Kong/Macau and the Chinese mainland.

Today, consumers in Hong Kong and Macau can bind their locally issued UnionPay cards to the UnionPay app to use mobile payment service both in and outside the Greater Bay Area.

As the mobile payment portal is jointly developed, operated and maintained by UnionPay and various commercial banks, it allows its Greater Bay Area users to bind UnionPay cards issued by Bank of China (Hong Kong) and other 5 local institutions. The company expects the app to eventually support binding with a majority of local banks in the area within this year.

unionpay app

The move is also an attempt to meet demands for cross-border transport, cross-border utility payments, and other daily consumption scenarios. As such, UnionPay mobile complements its more traditional bank cards, which would help with retailer adoption. UnionPay will also be interoperable across mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau to reduce difficulties in payments during travel between the two areas.

Cai Jianbo said, in answer to the advance of technologies and the change of customers’ payment habits:

unionpay greater bay area hong kong macau expand

“UnionPay is making a great effort in promoting technical and product innovation to migrate our business to mobile internet channels. UnionPay extends its experience in developing and promoting the UnionPay app from mainland China to Hong Kong and Macau.”

UnionPay is accepted at most ATM and POS terminals across Hong Kong and Macau, and has issued 19 million cards across the aforementioned areas. The company also offers mobile payments for debit card holders, via Apple Pay.

In addition to their usual operations, UnionPay has made a push into transportation in the region as well. For example, UnionPay contactless payment is accepted at the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Intercity Harmony Train, the city subway in Guangzhou and Dongguan, some taxis in Hong Kong and multiple ramps, most parking lots and all the bus lines in Macau.

UnionPay can also be used to buy cross-border ferry tickets between the Greater Bay Area and mainland China.

 

Featured Image via UnionPay

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6 Blockchain Projects That Gives a Snapshot of Shanghai’s Booming Blockchain Scene http://fintechnews.hk/6729/blockchain/blockchain-shanghai-china/ http://fintechnews.hk/6729/blockchain/blockchain-shanghai-china/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 05:43:02 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=6729 Despite the crackdown on cryptocurrency by the Chinese Government the blockchain scene is thriving in China. Over the past 3 months the government of China has invested over US $

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Despite the crackdown on cryptocurrency by the Chinese Government the blockchain scene is thriving in China. Over the past 3 months the government of China has invested over US $ 3 billion in blockchain focused funds.

It is reported that there are over 3,000 companies in China registered with the word blockchain in their in the last 6 months alone.

At the centre of this blockchain boom is Shanghai, a whitepaper published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology dubbed Shanghai as one of the top cities for blockchain in country. The city accounts of 21% of blockchain companies in China.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the projects that represent the blockchain scene in Shanghai

Blockchain Shanghai Projects

NEO 

Blockchain Shangai - NEO

 

 

NEO (formerly Antshares) was founded in 2014 by Da Hong-Fei. It is often touted as the Ethereum of China, similar to its western counterpart NEO allows for smart contracts to be ran on its platform. It has seen relative success with number of ICOs being raised on its platform

However it is also worth noting there has been some criticism about NEO being very centralised and the unreliability of the platform

VeChain

Blockchain Shanghai - VeChain

VeChain is an enterprise level blockchain solution provider with offices across France, Singapore and Hong Kong, and of course – Shanghai.

The company recently entered into a partnership with one of China’s largest insurers, People’s Insurance Company of China with the aim of improving fraud prevention, KYC compliance and more notably they are reported to be working towards “instant compensation”.

Ontology

 

Blockchain Shanghai - Ontology

 

Launched by Chinese company Onchain in 2017, Ontology is a public platform for projects of all shapes and sizes. Its call to fame is that it allows for businesses without in-depth knowledge of blockchain to integrate the technology into their business.

It is also worth noting that Onchain’s CEO is also the co-founder of NEO, Da Hong Fei.

Red Pulse

200 × 200

 

Red Pulse is a market intelligence platform covering China’s financial and capital markets, the company’s platform Phoenix, incentivises research producers for their work and gives access to consumers to relevant research

The incentive system will be powered by their token PHX.

Zeepin

Blockchain Shanghai Zeepin_Logo_SP

 

Built on the blockchain Zeepin is platform created to address issues face by writers, designers and the creative industry as a whole. It allows for creators to copyright, authorise, insure, connect, crowdfund and launch exciting projects using ZPT tokens for transactions.

Shanghai Stock Exchange

 

 

The Shanghai Stock Exchange is the world’s 4 largest stock exchange, it has recently announced that it is eyeing to use blockchain for their securities transaction citing that blockhain could be deployed to more effectively manage the settlements of their post-trading transactions

However reports seem to indicate that there are still some regulatory hurdles before this project can become a reality

 

Featured image via Pixabay

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North Korea is Exploring Fintech and Blockchain http://fintechnews.hk/6847/fintechkorea/north-korea-fintech-blockchain/ http://fintechnews.hk/6847/fintechkorea/north-korea-fintech-blockchain/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 05:22:46 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=6847 North Korea is exploring the possibility of introducing fintech services to its population with an initial focus on improved payments and mobile technology. Fintech has been growing rapidly around the

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North Korea is exploring the possibility of introducing fintech services to its population with an initial focus on improved payments and mobile technology.

north korea kim jong-un supreme leader

North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, Pixabay

Fintech has been growing rapidly around the world and yet there’s still no appreciable fintech services available in North Korea. North Korea has a poorly developed financial sector and only since recently has it been possible to make financial transactions. But changes in North Korea can take place surprisingly quickly.

In recent months, North Korea has hinted desire to use mobile network as a means to provide financial services, modernize its financial services, and ensure the speed, security, stability, convenience, and transparency of financial transactions.

Sources told Daily NK that, last year, North Korean authorities ordered the central bank to introduce electronic financial services.

It was also recently reported that North Korea’ Science Encyclopedia publisher ran an article in the second edition of this year’s journal titled “Economic Research titled Exploring the Issue of Increasing the Use of Citizen Financial Services Using Mobile Communication Networks.” The article discussed current attempts by North Korea to introduce modern information technology in the fields of currency distribution and electronic payment. According to the report, Kim Jong Un, stated:

“We must raise the standard of our financial information and ensure that financial transactions are quick, accurate, transparent, and convenient.”

Increased usage of smartphones and mobile communication networks in North Korea will be key to fintech development in the country. The report underscores efforts by Pyongyang to develop information technology in parallel with other social, financial, and currency-related progress.

 

First blockchain, crypto conference

Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang Fintech North Korea

Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, Uri Tours, Flickr

Most recently, news broke that North Korea was preparing to host its first ever international blockchain and cryptocurrency conference to take place in the capital city.

According to the Strait Times, the event will stretch for two days beginning October 1 and is scheduled to conclude with a meet-and-greet with the business leaders of North Korea.

The conference is expected to attract blockchain and cryptocurrency experts from all over the world.

A security expert told Radio Free Asia (RFA) on condition of anonymity that the goal behind hosting the conference was to show off North Korea’s capabilities regarding such technologies.

According to a report by Korea Development Bank, a state-run financial institution in South Korea, a small-scale cryptocurrency mining operation was run by the North Korean regime between May and June 2017. The initiative was terminated for unknown reasons.

These recent moves give a different view on North Korea’s involvement in cryptocurrency. The country is infamously known for being advanced cryptocurrency hackers. According to South Korean intelligence officials, North Korean state-sponsored hackers stole billions of won in cryptocurrency in 2017 by hacking exchanges.

Economic sanctions approved by the UN Security Council in September 2017 curb inbound oil supplies, tighten inspections of cargo ships from North Korea and ban imports from a chief North Korean industry, textiles. Those measures answered North Korea’s suspected H-bomb test and have effectively limited the North Korean government’s access to common foreign currency used in world trade.

Cryptocurrencies allow North Korea to bypass financial sanctions and provide alternative ways for North Korean officials to finance the regime of the ruling family.

 

Featured image: Spectators for North Korea military parade, September 2013, Wikimedia.

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NEXT Future Transportation Unveils Its Autonomous Parcel Delivery Solution: China Market Entry http://fintechnews.hk/6874/iot/next-future-transportation-unveils-its-autonomous-parcel-delivery-solution-china-market-entry/ http://fintechnews.hk/6874/iot/next-future-transportation-unveils-its-autonomous-parcel-delivery-solution-china-market-entry/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 00:34:55 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=6874 NEXT Future Transportation, the world’s only modular electric vehicle solutions provider, announced a groundbreaking automated logistics solution for Smart and Connected Cities: NEXT is proud to announce the introduction of

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NEXT Future Transportation, the world’s only modular electric vehicle solutions provider, announced a groundbreaking automated logistics solution for Smart and Connected Cities:

NEXT is proud to announce the introduction of its fully automated multiservice ‘online-to-offline’ (O2O) platform, including a modular vehicle solution and the supporting operating system required to bring an ecosystem of logistics services to market at scale.

Emmanuele Spera“To date, NEXT has entirely focused on creating innovative solutions for the municipal mass transportation market. Today NEXT enters the global USD $2.3 trillion e-commerce market, which is driving a rapid transformation of the traditional retail supply chain,”

said Emmanuele Spera, CEO of NEXT.

Built on NEXT’s patented modular transportation platform, the logistics solution is an automated electric vehicle system that is designed to be customizable and scalable for a wide range of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) applications. A fully integrated logistics solution, NEXT compliments warehouse optimization strategies, and workflow environments of Third Party Logistics (3PL), Retailers and Manufacturers. The unique modular platform seamlessly integrates with mixed fleets of autonomous mobile robots existing operating systems.

Upon completion of the automated warehouse loading process, individual vehicles autonomously connect to form a fleet, thus allowing the joint internal space to be utilized. While in route, parcels may autonomously shift amongst vehicles to ensure optimal final delivery.

Tommaso Gecchelin

Tommaso Gecchelin

“NEXT’s approach fundamentally differs from all current Autonomous Ground Vehicles or e-Shuttles in that our vehicle’s open interior design layout can flexibly adapt to accommodate specific needs. Furthermore, NEXT’s fleets may be operated by a human driver, a remote human operator, or autonomously. Therefore we plan to operate on public roadways in the near term,”

said Tommaso Gecchelin, CTO of NEXT.

To meet the growing global market demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications, NEXT is introducing the world’s first Modular Mobile Parcel Locker.

“Our unique locker solution will provide retailers with more control, while reducing the overall costs of delivery. The public will benefit from superior flexibility and ease of use as delivery locations are determined by customer proximity,”

said Sven Hackmann, EVP of NEXT.

NEXT believes that the future of innovation is defined by co-innovation and co-ownership. Consequently, it is collaborating with several partners on various developments on a wide range of applications. With offices in Europe and the United States, NEXT has identified China and the Gulf region as its primary growth markets.

“We are encouraged by the lifting of restrictions on the business scope of foreign startups, which is a path to ensure fair competition in China. From 2008 to 2015, China’s same-city delivery was the fastest growing sector among various logistics businesses, with a 44% annual growth rate, according to China’s State Post Bureau. It is expected the market will reach over RMB200 billion (USD$29 billion) in 2020, and we are excited to participate,”

said Spera.

NEXT is preparing to announce its formal China market entry.

 

This article first appeared on iotnews.asia

iot news asia

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Is Hong Kong Ready to Go Cashless? http://fintechnews.hk/6603/mobilepayment/cashless-hong-kong/ http://fintechnews.hk/6603/mobilepayment/cashless-hong-kong/#respond Tue, 11 Sep 2018 16:19:33 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=6603 Seeing the popularity of WeChat Pay and Alipay in China, it is easy for some to assume that these mobile payment apps are equally popular in Hong Kong. Unlike China,

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Seeing the popularity of WeChat Pay and Alipay in China, it is easy for some to assume that these mobile payment apps are equally popular in Hong Kong.

Unlike China, Hong Kong is still largely a very cash dominant society. When it comes going cashless Hong Kongers lean towards credit cards and the ever reliable Octopus Card.

Octopus Card Remains a Popular Option for Hong Kongers

Next to cash, Octopus Card is among the most popular method to pay in Hong Kong. Introduced in 1997, it has since issued more than 35 million Octopus Cards, with an impressive record of having 99% of its citizens aged from 16 to 65 using its card.

Since its introduction Octopus Card, it has quickly become a vital part of a Hong Konger’s life, it has made payments for public transportation, tolls, parking and retailers far more convenient. 

Beyond that, the card has recently expanded its payments option to be made available to some taxis in Hong Kong via the Octopus Card’s O!ePay business app or WeTaxi app.

A victim of its own success, the popularity of Octopus was cited by some as a reason why Hong Kong was slow to explore other payment options.

As the city wakes up to the technological development and ambitious entrepreneurs attempt to tap into this gap, mobile payments are slowly on the rise in Hong Kong.

Mobile Payments Players are Attempting to Change the Game

Cashless Hong Kong TNG

With many players entering the game, Hong Kongers are spoilt for choice when it comes to mobile payments. The apps are generally categorised by whether it stores money or not.

Mobile payments apps that store money, otherwise known as SVF (stored value facilities) are regulated by HKMA, which includes player like TNG Wallet, PayMe, Alipay HK, WeChat Pay , Tap N Go. 

Whereas other mobile payment apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay do not store values, hence they do not require a license to operate in Hong Kong.

Linking a credit card is the easiest way to start using any mobile payment apps. Some digital wallets allow top-ups from bank transfer, but it is often limited to a few banks. For example, Alipay HK only accepts bank transfer from Standard Chartered Bank. The other option is to top up by cash at convenience stores.

Living the Cashless Life in Hong Kong

While there’s a concerted push from the fintech entrepreneurs and regulators for Hong Kong to go cashless, the growth of SVF accounts from 2016-2017 has only shown a 15.4% growth signalling a need for a stronger push to make a cashless Hong Kong a reality.

Interestingly but unsurprisingly, an area where mobile payments really thrive in Hong Kong is in P2P fund transfers where it has seen a staggering growth of over 900%.

Though Hong Kong is seen to be a laggard in comparison to mainland China, hope is not lost, a recent survey by HKIRC indicated a generally positive outlook towards the use of mobile payments.

Cashless Hong Kong

The introduction of the virtual banking license will also likely accelerate the general public’s comfort level with utilising digital technologies to manage their money, which in turn will likely drive up the adoption of mobile payments in Hong Kong.

All in all the future of a cashless Hong Kong seems bright if both the regulator and fintech players play their cards right.

 

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Former Credit Suisse Managing Director Joins Block.one as Global Chief Communicator http://fintechnews.hk/6819/blockchain/former-credit-suisse-managing-director-joins-block-one-as-global-chief-communications-officer/ http://fintechnews.hk/6819/blockchain/former-credit-suisse-managing-director-joins-block-one-as-global-chief-communications-officer/#respond Tue, 11 Sep 2018 08:41:20 +0000 http://fintechnews.hk/?p=6819 Block.one, publisher of the EOSIO blockchain software protocol and seller of the EOS Token, a top-five cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of US$4.5 billion, announced today that former Credit Suisse Managing Director

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Block.one, publisher of the EOSIO blockchain software protocol and seller of the EOS Token, a top-five cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of US$4.5 billion, announced today that former Credit Suisse Managing Director and Head of Corporate Communications, Asia-Pacific Sheel Kohli will join the company as Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer in the coming weeks.

Based in Hong Kong, Kohli will serve as a member of the company’s Executive Committee and report to Block.one Group President Rob Jesudason. In his role, he will oversee the company’s global communications and marketing activities.

Sheel Kohli

Sheel Kohli

“I’m delighted we could attract an executive of Sheel’s capability and depth of experience to our team,”

said Jesudason.

“His extensive track record of success working for some of the most prestigious financial services institutions in the world will be a great benefit to Block.one as we continue to build our brand and global market presence.”

Kohli joins Block.one after 13 years with Credit Suisse, where he had been responsible for all of the institution’s corporate communications across the Asia-Pacific region, covering investment banking, private banking and asset management. He was also heavily involved in the bank’s flagship annual spring Asian Investment Conference.

“I’m very excited to be joining Block.one at a crucial moment in its journey,”

said Kohli.

“Blockchain has the potential of revolutionizing business processes and creating enhanced efficiencies at ever greater speeds across a wide range of commerce and communications. I look forward to working with Block.one to shape understanding of blockchain globally, and specifically the unique capabilities we are offering to entrepreneurs, innovators and companies who are ready to embrace this new technology.”

Prior to Credit Suisse, Kohli led corporate communications for Asia-Pacific at ING for five years and also worked as a Europe-based business correspondent for the South China Morning Post for just under a decade.

His hire follows a number of executive appointments by Block.one in recent months, including: President Rob Jesudason from Commonwealth Bank of Australia; Chief People Officer James Mendes from Citibank; EOS VC CEO Mike Alexander from Jefferies; and Chief Legal Officer Alex Erasmus from Clifford Chance.

 

Featured image via Flickr

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