Ex-financial chief John Tsang shifts career to mobile technology

July 30, 2018 16:35
Former financial secretary John Tsang has joined financial technology startup Benefit Vantage Limited, becoming its chairman and shareholder. The company was founded by Harry Cheung (right) in 2014. Photo: HKEJ

After his unsuccessful bid to become chief executive last year, former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has found a new career in mobile technology.

Tsang, 67, told the Hong Kong Economic Journal in an interview that he joined a financial technology startup, Benefit Vantage Limited (BVL), at the start of the year, becoming its chairman and shareholder.

BVL was founded in 2014 by Harry Cheung Lup-sun, who once served as managing director, Asia Pacific, of Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider. It mainly develops technologies on cyber security, data protection and backup, and mobile identity verification.

Asked why he chose BVL and was willing to put his own money in the company, Tsang said he aims to do things that can lead to breakthroughs, although he declined to disclose how much he has invested.

He said he is not just a chairman in name but is also involved with BVL’s daily operations, including seeking business opportunities overseas. He even attended the Mobile World Congress Shanghai in February.

Tsang said BVL is now busy forming partnerships with telecom operators and asking merchants to join his company.

He said the company is promoting IPification, an advanced mobile identification solution that can help lower the cost of doing business by making it more effective for mobile apps and websites through the simplification of the authentication and authorization processes.

Similar to the current one-time password sent via SMS text messages, IPification, which uses a SIM card as an independent ID, requires no input of a phone number by users and allows them to complete the identity verification process by just clicking on a button.

Users need only to press the button to log in or out of an online account.

IPification can save the trouble of memorizing a password for identity checks. According to Tsang, he used to own at least 10 to 20 accounts when working for the government and each of them required a change of password every three months.

Cheung revealed that BVL is now discussing the adoption of IPification in their systems with some 50 telecom operators worldwide, hoping this new mobile technology can replace the verification of the SMS identification method one day.

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