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Opening remarks by S for IT at "2016 FinTech Forum: The US - Hong Kong FinTech Link"

Following are the opening remarks by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, at "2016 FinTech Forum: The US - Hong Kong FinTech Link" today (September 2):

Richard (President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham), Dr Richard Vuylsteke), Steven (Financial Services Committee Chair of AmCham, Mr Steven Chan), distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning, AmCham. Good morning, everybody.

It is a great pleasure to join you here today at the FinTech Forum. The global development of FinTech is booming over the past few years. According to the latest report by Accenture, the global investment in FinTech ventures reached US$22.3 billion in 2015. This was a 75 per cent increase over 2014.

As one of the major international financial centres, Hong Kong has a vibrant local FinTech sector. In addition to our local innovators, 48 of the global top 100 FinTech companies are operating in Hong Kong.

Over the years, the Hong Kong SAR Government has been supporting and facilitating the development of FinTech in Hong Kong. For example, Cyberport has become the home of Accenture's FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific since 2014. We are the third host city for the company to set up such an Innovation Lab after New York and London. This project is a good example of international collaboration in the development of FinTech in Hong Kong.

Apart from this incubation programme, Cyberport also launched its University Partnership Programme in 2015 to cultivate FinTech talents. Last year, 18 project teams of 52 students were nominated by five local universities to join the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp with a focus on FinTech in Silicon Valley arranged by the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Another group of 56 students will attend the Boot Camp this year later this month.

In addition, Cyberport has operated a new FinTech co-working space, and is rolling out a designated programme to provide support to about 150 FinTech start-ups in the next five years. Cyberport has just also launched a HK$200 million Macro Fund for investing in its technology start-ups. This would attract probably more funding from other investors as well.

In addition, the Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI), our flagship ICT R&D centre, will continue to promote the application of FinTech in collaboration with the regulatory authorities, the industry, academia and the R&D sector. The ASTRI Security Laboratory provides services in cyber security intelligence sharing, assessment and consultancy services, training and R&D.

To further strengthen our advantages on the FinTech front, in February this year, the Steering Group on Financial Technologies chaired by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury released its report with further recommendations to develop and promote Hong Kong as a FinTech hub. In this year's Budget, the Financial Secretary has announced a number of measures for early implementation of the Steering Group's recommendations. These include the setting up of FinTech platforms under the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Securities and Futures Commission and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to enhance communication between regulators and the FinTech community.

Before the summer break, we successfully secured the funding approval of the Legislative Council Finance Committee to establish a HK$2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund. The Government will co-invest with global venture capital funds in our local start-ups on a matching basis, which means a total of HK$6 billion will be made available to support our aspiring local start-ups, including FinTech start-ups.

I am confident that with Hong Kong's competitive advantages, including a sound legal system, robust intellectual property protection and world-class ICT infrastructure and most importantly a pro-business environment with a level-playing field for all players, Hong Kong is well positioned to take advantage of the global development trend in FinTech.

Lastly, I would like to encourage more businesses, entrepreneurs and investors from the United States to come to Hong Kong. I believe our vibrant technology ecosystem offers a conducive environment for both start-ups and established businesses. As the "super-connector" between the Mainland of China and the rest of the world, Hong Kong is the ideal springboard to expand into this part of the world and the huge Mainland market. As Steven just mentioned, this will be where the action is for the next five years.

I wish the forum a great success, and look forward to exchanging views with the other speakers and the audience in the Q&A session to come up. Thank you very much.


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