10 Key Highlights from Day 1 of Hong Kong Fintech Weekby Fintech News Hong Kong November 1, 2022
Hong Kong Fintech Week (HKFTW) is back for its seventh edition from 31 October to 4 November 2022 as a hybrid event, hosting physical and virtual conferences and events.
The event offers an unrivalled opportunity to learn from some of the most influential figures in the industry, network with fellow fintech professionals, and get a taste of the latest technology and trends driving the sector forward.
This year’s event did not disappoint, with a slew of interesting activities, announcements, and insightful conversations.
Here are some of the key highlights from the first day of the main event:
Hong Kong is transforming into Virtual Assets hub
In his keynote address, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan signalled that Hong Kong is open and inclusive towards the global community of innovators engaging in virtual asset businesses.
He added that the government, in conjunction with the financial regulators, is working towards providing a facilitating environment for promoting sustainable and responsible development of the virtual asset sector in Hong Kong.
Policy Statement on the Development of Virtual Assets in Hong Kong
The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (“FSTB”) issued a statement describing the government’s policy stance and approach towards developing a vibrant sector and ecosystem for VA in Hong Kong.
The government is open to future reviews on property rights for tokenised assets and the legality of smart contracts to facilitate their development in Hong Kong.
The government’s pilot projects include NFT issuance for Hong Kong Fintech Week 2022, Green bond tokenisation, and e-HKD.
Evolution of retail payment, data infrastructures, and cross-border platforms in Hong Kong
Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Mr. Eddie Yu, shared that there is a need to be radically open to new ideas and try things that could improve the financial system.
He mentioned this radicalism has spurred Hong Kong to develop its popular Faster Payment System (FPS), establish eight virtual banks, and support more advanced data infrastructures in the financial system.
Business Potential: NFTs and Web3
The panel discussion was moderated by Christopher Hui, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Hong Kong SAR.
Mr. Yat Siu, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of Animoca Brands, said that Web3 changes the relationship from being a customer/consumer to a customer/owner who shares in the business’s potential.”
He added that Speed is one of Hong Kong’s special sauces, and technology adoption is rapid. Four years ago, most people in Hong Kong didn’t even know what NFTs were; now, we have the Hong Kong Government issuing NFTs. It shows a real love for this new type of stuff and the potential to drive the region.”
Privacy in the eCNY (China’s CBDC, or Central Bank Digital Currency)
Mr. Yi Gang, Governor of the People’s Bank of China, said that eCNY is China’s Central Bank Digital Currency and intended to meet domestic payment needs, enable the development of inclusive finance, and improve the efficiency of the currency and payment system.
He added the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) restricts eCNY to authorised operators, who collect only the information necessary for their exchange and circulation services. Personal information security is assured through advanced technology and strict management, in full adherence to consumer privacy protection laws and regulations.
However, The PBoC is working with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and other monetary authorities on CBDC to serve global and domestic investors better and enhance Hong Kong’s role as an international financial centre.
Financial innovation opportunities for tech-rich Hong Kong
Executive Chairman and CEO of Ant Group, Mr. Eric Jing, believes that advanced technology can also unleash new growth opportunities for Hong Kong, which is rich in technology and innovation.
“According to research, the government’s decision to replace traditional stimulus measures during COVID-19 with digital consumption vouchers was at least three times more effective than areas using traditional methods,” he said during day one of Hong Kong Fintech Week.
He added that new technologies and related solutions could significantly reduce ‘trust costs’ and friction.
How central banks can work better to provide the future financial infrastructure
Howard Lee, Deputy Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, moderated a fire chat session about Central Banks and Innovation.
The Head of BIS Innovation Hub, Bank for International Settlements, Cecilia Skingsley, noted that central banks and local governments have a tight relationship because domestic systems in different countries might be very diverse.
She said it is also important for central banks to understand what technology is and how it can or cannot be used.
Sustainability and ESG in the Greater Bay Area (GBA)
Ms.Josephine Kwan, a Partner at Price Water Coopers, moderated a panel discussion with leaders of major banks and financial services companies on integrating Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) into their financial decisions.
Many panellists agreed that ESG is no longer just a concept or a slogan for companies to talk about, and it is now turning into concrete business strategies.
CEO of Standard Chartered Hong Kong, Ms. Mary Huen, said, “Hong Kong’s great strength is in its role as a funder and advisor for companies everywhere—in China, the GBA, and internationally. In both capacities, we have the opportunity to direct our clients toward more sustainable options.”
APAC’s $1 trillion Metaverse opportunity
Vice President of Meta APAC, Meta Mr. Dan Neary, said that Meta sees the Metaverse as the next evolution of the internet in social connection.
Mr. Neary mentioned that the Metaverse will feel different in three dimensions – presence, persistence, and interoperability.
According to a recent study, Metaverse could contribute US$3 trillion to the global economy and US$1 trillion in Asian Pacific alone by 2031. There is early usage of the Metaverse across different industries, some banks have launched VR apps, and some are using cryptocurrencies.
Top fintech investment trends
There are many opportunities for fintech companies to fill consumers’ little needs, mentioned Mr. Alex Rampell, General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz.
“Just as Airbnb was created for users who wanted to borrow a home, and Uber was created for users who wanted to rideshare, fintech could fill many of the little gaps and needs in the life of the average financial customer,” he said.
Global leaders predict the future of financial services and banking
Financial services and the structure across the banking sector were discussed during one of Hong Kong Fintech Week’s panel moderation by Bloomberg’s Ms. Yvonne Man.
President & COO of JPMorgan Chase, Mr. Daniel Pinto, suggested that banks adapt to technological developments, but there were still challenges for them, mainly with investments.
As for data, Mr. Pinto said that banks could use data to segment clients and provide services or offerings for specific clients.
On the other hand, Standard Chartered’s Group Chief Executive Bill Winters said banks could not win in the game because many companies focused on data analyses. The market is constantly growing, and he suggested banks teach their employees about the importance of data. It could be a key to winning in the banking sector if they know how to use data wisely.