Hong Kong aims to foster fintech ecosystem

Chief Executive of the HK Monetary Authority Eddie Yue said that fintech development in HK has gathered remarkable momentum ever since the first FinTech Week three years ago.

Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority Eddie Yue said here on Wednesday that fintech development in Hong Kong has gathered remarkable momentum ever since the first FinTech Week three years ago.

Yue made the remarks in his speech at the Hong Kong FinTech Week 2019, a five-day event that has attracted thousands of attendees across the globe.

The HKMA also took the chance to highlight a series of initiatives aimed to foster the fintech ecosystem in Hong Kong.

The subsidiaries of Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited and Institute of Digital Currency of the People's Bank of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday to connect the digital trade finance platforms of Hong Kong and the mainland.

The HKMA said, "Once the connection has successfully been established, it will provide firms in both places with more convenient trade finance services and enable banks in Hong Kong to expedite the expansion of their trade finance business."

Additionally, the HKMA said, as a follow-up to the MoU signed between the HKMA and the Bank of Thailand in May 2019, the two authorities are conducting a joint research project named Project LionRock-Inthanon to study the application of central bank digital currency to cross-border payments.

The first Innovation Hub of Bank of International Settlements commenced its operation in Hong Kong in November 2019, which the HKMA said is a testimony that Hong Kong stands at the forefront of fintech innovation.

The HKMA said it believes that the Innovation Hub Hong Kong Center will serve as a focal point for regional fintech collaboration and bring the application of innovative technologies among central banks to a new level.

Initially, the HKMA will explore with the Hong Kong center on the use of Distributed Ledger Technology to digitalize trade finance processes and study the impact of big tech to financial markets.

The HKMA said it is also conducting a study on the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in the banking industry.

A fact sheet released by the monetary authority on Wednesday showed that almost 90 percent of the surveyed retail banks have adopted or plan to adopt AI applications.

The survey included interviews and questionnaires conducted with banks, industry organizations, and fintech firms, with a view to understanding the current AI landscapes in the banking industry.

On Wednesday, the HKMA jointly launched the Fin+Tech Collaboration Platform with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks to support fintech development in a technology-centric approach.

Industry players can make use of the platform to organize fintech-related activities to explore innovative solutions, identify talents, and seek collaboration opportunities, according to the HKMA.

Yue said, "The HKMA's fintech initiatives have successfully created a vibrant fintech ecosystem."

"I look forward to partnering with our 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," he added.  

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