Hong Kong remains favourably positioned to develop e-commerce and to serve as the region’s e-commerce hub, the city’s Finance Minister state.
The region is equipped with world-class information and communications technology infrastructure and a household broadband penetration rate of about 93%. In addition, Hong Kong’s mobile penetration rate has reached a remarkable 280%.
The HKSAR government is committed to helping Hong Kong business, particularly SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), take full advantage of the digital transformation sweeping the world.
For example, Hong Kong’s Technology Voucher Programme helps SMEs procure technological services and solutions to improve their productivity, transform their practices and enhance their online business while upgrading cybersecurity measures.
The region is also dedicated to making money in faster and more efficient ways. Last year, the Monetary Authority launched the Faster Payment System, enabling individuals and businesses to transfer funds instantly, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
The system has now recorded more than 3.6 million registrations. Transaction volume has also jumped by nearly 10% every month, with the average number of daily transactions exceeding 150,000 with a total amount of around $2.2 billion a day.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government now accepts payments of taxes, rates and water charges through the Faster Payment System.
At the same time, the government established a common QR code. This standard is to help promote mobile retail payments while providing a consistent user experience for merchants and consumers.
The city is also working to create a smart city, focusing on the more than 70 measures recommended in the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong. Together with its pro-innovation government procurement policy, this should expand opportunities for local SMEs and startups.
OpenGov Asia recently reported that fintech development in Hong Kong has gathered remarkable momentum ever since the first FinTech Week three years ago.
HKMA’s fintech initiatives have successfully created a vibrant fintech ecosystem. The government and its various agencies and bodies are looking forward to partnering with various partners including financial institutions, end-users, start-up firms, technology service providers, investors and regulators to walk towards the shared purposes of driving innovation, enhancing customer experience and facilitating financial inclusion.
OpenGov Asia also reported that Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world that attracts FinTech companies from both East and West.
The city has had a longstanding reputation for being welcoming of business and talent. This is reflected in it being named the world’s freest economy for the 25th consecutive year in January 2019.
Moreover, Hong Kong is the world’s third-largest and Asia’s biggest financial centre. It is also second in the world for insurance and number one in Asia for asset management.
The city also provides companies from overseas a combination of location, infrastructure, financial hub, legal system and local talent that simply cannot be matched elsewhere.
Hong Kong is home to more than 550 fintech companies and start-ups, covering services in areas of payment, AI, wealthtech, blockchain and insurtech, and has so far nurtured fintech unicorns with a total valuation of approximately US$8.5 billion.
Fintech companies in Hong Kong have raised approximately US$1.1 billion over the past five years. And there is a growing number of fintech innovation labs, associations and special interest groups led by the fintech community and accelerator programmes in Hong Kong, as well as corporate start-up engagement.
The Hong Kong government supports the sector and has strengthened cooperation with regulators in other jurisdictions to encourage cross-border fintech development.