According to a recent press release, Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) announced a significant expansion of its annual Hong Kong Fintech Week. Now in its fourth year, the event will run from 4 to 8 November 2019.
The event will be moving to a bigger venue to accommodate a greater variety of programme, business events, exhibitors and attendees, after the success of the 2018 edition.
Hong Kong Fintech Week 2019 will be held near the Hong Kong International Airport in order to enable participants from across the world to locate it more easily and to grow the attending audience.
The Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion at InvestHK stated that the new location reflects the dramatic growth of Hong Kong Fintech Week. Last year’s Hong Kong Fintech Week saw more than 8,000 attendees and had a much bigger room to grow to accommodate the increasing number of activities and exhibitors.
The expansion couldn’t come at a better time! With the recent announcement by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) regarding the virtual banking licences awarded to three companies in the region, the new virtual banks are expected to take 6-9 months to launch their initial banking services.
This means that the Hong Kong FinTech Week will be perfectly timed for the firms to showcase their services. By then, it is also likely that the HKMA will have issued more such licenses given that it said it’s processing five more applications.
In addition, the Open Application Programming Interface (API) Framework for the Hong Kong banking sector has taken effect this year. The Open APIs involve around 130 sets of information covering all financial data and important information.
Together with over 650 new datasets which will be released in 2019 by other government bureaux and departments, these encourage more parties to provide innovative and integrated solutions.
The new developments this year follow last year’s launch of the Faster Payment System, the Hong Kong Common QR Code and trade finance blockchain, all of which contribute towards Hong Kong’s appeal as a launchpad for fintech companies in Asia.
InvestHK’s recent study found that there are over 550 fintech companies in Hong Kong, with 52% having founders from overseas – the remainder is from Hong Kong or Mainland China. The companies see Hong Kong as a regional base for business expansion, both globally (61%) and in Greater China (28%).
Business in Hong Kong is market-driven. The vibrant ecosystem grows organically and the region is welcoming of overseas FinTech companies. Moreover, Hong Kong’s FinTech ecosystem continues to mature; over half (51%) of the FinTech companies in the study are 3-4 years old at least.
More broadly, Hong Kong will continue to attract and retain leading overseas and Mainland companies, as well as entrepreneurs, from around the globe.
According to the latest joint survey conducted by InvestHK and the Census and Statistics Department, the number of overseas and Mainland companies setting up business in Hong Kong in 2018 rose 6.4% year-on-year to 8,754. The number of overseas and Mainland companies using Hong Kong as their regional headquarters rose by 8.3% to 1,530, which is also noteworthy.
These moves and decisions made by the government and leaders in the region help to explain the appeal of Hong Kong FinTech Week, which has been historically effective at connecting the East and the West.
In 2018, it had a record number of attendees from more than 50 economies. Over 260 speakers shared their vision, including top executives from major e-commerce firms, telecommunication companies, software firms, virtual banks, app designers, insurance firms, and payment companies and so many more.
The 2018 FinTech Week had over 100 exhibitors, 60 start-ups and 1,000-plus business matching meetings, plus the innovation lab tours and the involvement of universities. Regulators and companies also shared breaking announcements which facilitate the fintech development.
Moreover, last year’s cross-border event to Shenzhen looked closely at the collaboration between Hong Kong and the other cities in the Greater Bay Area.
With the 2019 event expected to be even bigger, there is no limit to what can be achieved via the connections that will be established as a result.