20 September 2019
To foster FinTech development, the HKMA will step up collaboration efforts with entities like the Hong Kong Science Park. Photo: HKSTP
To foster FinTech development, the HKMA will step up collaboration efforts with entities like the Hong Kong Science Park. Photo: HKSTP

How HK aims to catch up in FinTech development

Hong Kong has been lagging far behind in technology development. This has prompted authorities to unveil various measures to help the territory catch up. Among the raft of initiatives are seven measures from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) to drive FinTech development.

Let’s now go into detail on the goals outlined by the city’s de facto central bank:

1. Full connectivity of digital retail payments through the Faster Payment System

This retail payment system will achieve payment or fund transfer of HKD or RMB real time. Users can access the system by registering their mobile phone numbers or email addresses. The city will be a world pioneer in adopting the Faster Payment System when it is officially launched in September 2018, according to Norman Chan, chief executive of HKMA.

2. Upgrading of the existing FinTech Supervisory Sandbox 1.0 to Version 2.0

Tech firms may have direct access to the Sandbox and test out their innovation by seeking feedback from the FinTech Supervisory Chatroom. Also, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Insurance Authority (IA) will shortly be launching their own sandboxes. The HKMA, SFC and IA have agreed to link up the three sandboxes through a common interface.

3. Facilitating the introduction of virtual banking in Hong Kong

The HKMA will soon consult the industry and the fintech community on how the Guide to Authorization of Virtual Banks promulgated in 2000 should be amended.

4. A new ‘Banking Made Easy’ initiative to reduce regulatory frictions and improve customer experience

The HKMA will set up a new task force and work with the banking industry to identify and modify or streamline those regulatory requirements or processes.

5. Development of an Open API framework

6. Stepping up cross-border cooperation in FinTech; and

7. Enhancing research and talent development.

The HKMA will step up collaboration in research and talent development with its anchor partners, Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, Science Park and Cyberport.

I sincerely believe all these initiatives will help boost technology development in the city, even though they may be coming in a bit late.

By studying the specifics of the local market as well as learning from other countries, Hong Kong should be able to regain its competitiveness in the tech arena.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 9

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Information Technology Federation honorary chairman