All good things must come to an end and Friday is the final day of this year’s Hong Kong Fintech Week. For the first time, the event will move across the border to Shenzhen, participants will be face to face with senior management from Tencent, WeBank and ZhongAn to learn about the latest of fintech happenings in China.
Hong Kong Fintech Week, arranged by Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), wrapped up on Friday with Shenzhen Day, a first-ever cross-border fintech event, attended by several hundred delegates for discussions and speeches before departing to visit the offices of Tencent, WeBank and ZhongAn.
Hong Kong SAR Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr. James Lau, gave welcoming remarks and mentioned that, with the recent opening of the high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and Guangzhou, as well as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, there will be increased business activity and interaction between people in the three regions.
(For the full text of Mr. Lau’s speech (only available in Chinese), click here)
Mr. Lau said that Hong Kong hopes to further improve the financial support services in the Bay Area to enable a seamless experience to people in the region when traveling, shopping and living their daily lives, adding that this extends to general banking services and financial management. To achieve this, he said, fintech has a very important role to play.
Speaking in Shenzhen, Mr. Lau continued that Hong Kong and Shenzhen are co-developing the Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, in an area occupying 87 hectares located just across from the border, with the intention of providing the first land for developing industry facilities by 2021.
“It will bring unprecedented development space and opportunities for the innovation and technology industry in Hong Kong and Shenzhen,” Mr. Lau said. It will attract top enterprises, R&D institutions and universities to come here, bring together global scientific research talent, and build the Bay Area into an international innovation and technology hub.
Calvin Choi, Chairman of AMTD, which made several announcements during the course of the week on partnerships with mainland companies, said: “As a financial center, Hong Kong will need to collaborate with cities in the Greater Bay Area. By doing that, I’m sure that the Greater Bay Area can meet the Chinese government’s ambition of becoming a world leader in AI (artificial intelligence) by 2030. This is a goal that I think is achievable.”
Simon Young, Senior Director of Tencent Financial Technology, Hong Kong, Macau & Cross-border Financial Affairs, said: “AI, big data and cloud computing and data analytics comprise a new form of infrastructure, and Tencent will use these to become a better connector and creator of ecosystems. The Greater Bay Area is a business center that we’re focusing on.”
Mr. Young mentioned that Tencent offers a platform that enables R&D to be put to practical use with real-life situations, where the talent can see their work and effort develop into tangible outcomes, including one that can go to market. He added that education, training and talent recruitment are increasingly regarded as the key factors for the businesses in the Greater Bay Area in order to go global.
Ken Lo, Founding Member of ZhongAn Technologies International, said: “We see Hong Kong as a launching pad for our business to go global, so we established an office in Cyberport in Hong Kong. I believe the most important aspect of cross-border collaboration is the synergy and mixing of culture and talent between the cities.”
As an example of how ZhongAn uses its financial technology, Mr. Lo described its use in farming. “One of our case studies relates to on-the-ground farming use where our blockchain technology to help address food safety issues,” he said. “This which creates real value to society.”
Mr. Lau, along with about a third of the attendees, visited the Tencent office during the afternoon. The other delegates visited ZhongAn and WeBank.