Hong Kong’s fintech scene gets budget boost
The financial services and fintech sectors in Hong Kong have got a handy boost of HKD 500 million ($63.9 million) over the next five years.
In the nation’s 2018-2019 budget speech, Paul Chan, the financial secretary of Hong Kong, outlined how the cash will be used in the sector. The amount is not just limited to fintech in its purest form, as there will be help for green finance. There also aren’t a lot of details about our sector as the budget covers a lot of ground.
However, Chan says: “Information and technology is undoubtedly an economic driver in the new era. To shine in the fierce I&T race amidst keen competition, Hong Kong must optimise its resources by focusing on developing its areas of strength, namely biotechnology, artificial intelligence (AI), smart city and financial technologies.”
On a more general note, Chan says over HKD 50 billion ($6.4 billion) will be used for innovation, and this will comprise a start-up fund and investments in sectors such as fintech.
As we have mentioned before, Hong Kong is looking to compete with Singapore and Shenzhen on mainland China. In the mists of time, aka January 2017, FinTech Futures was invited to a tour of Hong Kong, where the local companies explained their ambitions and discussed the competition.
Also, back in May 2017, Hong Kong’s government came under fire for perceived failings in the further development of fintech in the region. Now we’re seeing some action and investment.
Returning to the budget, digital community Cyberport, who we also met on the 2017 tour, will get HKD 200 million ($25.5 million) to fuel its start-up assistance plans, according to The Standard.
The Standard says Cyberport will unveil an “easy landing” programme to attract multinational companies (including overseas and mainland leading internet enterprises and fintech companies) to set up offices and research and development units in Hong Kong.
In addition, Cyberport will launch a new support scheme, offering financial assistance up to HKD $200,000 ($25,500) for each eligible start-up to conduct market research and promotion, as well as participate in business missions, trade fairs and exhibitions, outside Hong Kong.
In terms of Hong Kong’s entire economy, Chan says this grew 3.4% in Q4 compared to the previous year. Full-year 2017 GDP grew 3.8% year-on-year – the fastest since 2011.