Fintech to Hong Kong
Trends and opportunities
Hong Kong’s Government has been actively promoting and allocating
significant resources to the Fintech industry in Hong Kong to encourage
banks, financial institutions and insurance companies to embrace and adopt
financial technologies in their products and services to provide safer,
faster and more convenient experiences and interfaces with their customers.
These financial technologies covers a wide range of categories including
artificial intelligence (AI), big data, blockchain, cyber security,
insurtech, wealthtech, lending (crowdfunding), payment and billing systems,
Cyberport is the key force spearheading and shaping Hong Kong's Fintech
development. Backed by the Hong Kong Government, Cyberport is the digital
technology flagship in town committed to inspiring innovation, nurturing
entrepreneurs, and attracting global talent, partners and companies to Hong
Kong for collaborations and business opportunities. Cyberport Smart-Space
provides comprehensive supporting programmes such as Creative Micro Fund
and Incubation programme to accelerate business growth (Source:
Hong Kong Cyberport).
Enterprises developing Fintech products and solutions can benefit from new
and existing funding schemes, including the Innovation and Technology Fund
(ITF), as well as the Innovation and Technology Venture Fund and the
Cyberport Macro Fund.
HK$200 million (approx. A$40 million) will be allocated to Cyberport to
enhance the support for start-ups and promote the development of digital
technology ecosystem. Cyberport is going to launch an "easy landing"
programme to attract multinational companies (including overseas and
Mainland leading internet enterprises and Fintech companies) to set up
offices and R&D units in Hong Kong. It will also roll out a new support
scheme, offering financial assistance up to HK$200,000 (approx. A$40,000)
for each eligible start-up to conduct market research and promotion, as
well as participate in business missions, trade fairs and exhibitions, etc.
outside Hong Kong. The financial assistance offered under Cyberport's
incubation programme to individual start-ups will also increase by 50 per
cent to HK$500,000 (approx. A$100,000). (Source:
Hong Kong Government 2018-19 Budget).
Innovation laboratories, incubation and accelerator programmes have been
set up by a number of organisiations including Supercharger Fintech
Accelerator, Blueprint, DBS Accelerator, and professional consultancy firms
such as Accenture and KPMG to assist local and international Fintech
start-ups to build up their technologies and identify potential investors.
Australian-owned start-up company Bitspark also found its home in Hong Kong
to establish and expand its remittance payment business. Australian Fintech
company Austreme sets up a regional headquarter in Hong Kong to capitalise
on the growing demand for cloud-based and big data-enabled eCommerce
monitoring services (Source:
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the Securities and Futures
Commission (SFC) and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance has set up
Fintech dedicated platforms to liaise with the industry to ensure that the
market will balance between market demand and investors' understanding and
tolerance of risk when introducing innovative financial products and
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) launched a Fintech Innovation Hub
and a Fintech Supervisory Sandbox to provide a faster approvals process for
Fintech experiments. Hong Kong investment promotion agency and Invest Hong Kong
also established a dedicated team to organise international events and
assist start-ups, investors and R&D institutions to establish their
presence in Hong Kong.
These developments and initiatives taken by the Hong Kong Government,
industries and businesses present excellent opportunities for Australian
start-ups to consider using Hong Kong as a landing pad to explore and build
up their Fintech businesses, identify potential investment opportunities
and keep abreast of the latest developments of the Fintech industry in Hong
Kong through attending major Fintech events in Hong Kong.
For Fintech companies’ first coming to Hong Kong, the opportunities to find
partnership, collaboration, investment and customers are endless. Hong Kong
has some of the world’s most largest and valuable financial industries such
as commercial banking, lending, securities exchange, wealth management,
insurance and payment processing.
While the Hong Kong’s Fintech market is highly competitive, the
collaborative nature of the sector allows for many different start-ups and
entrepreneurs to find their niche in the country’s financial ecosystem.
Many foreign companies from Fintech hubs across the globe have found
success in Hong Kong from both established and emerging Fintech markets.
Hong Kong is one of the top five markets for Australian startups looking
for potential expansion due to the established financial industries and
access to capital. (Source:
EY FinTech Australia Census 2017
Tariffs, regulations and customs
Hong Kong has business friendly immigration policies. As such, visitors
from over 170 countries/territories can enjoy visa-free entries to Hong
Kong and stay for between seven to 180 days. Short-term visitors can make
the most of Hong Kong’s light-touch visa policies and are permitted to
conduct business negotiations and sign contracts while on a visitor’s visa
or entry permit. Foreign nationals working in Hong Kong for longer periods
of time require a working visa before they can live or work in Hong Kong.
, Visa and Immigration)
While some Fintech companies inherently disrupt standards and traditional
business models found in financial industries, it is important for all new
companies to be aware of existing regulation and practices in order to
operate legally and be competitive. Hong Kong has a number of federal
regulatory bodies in financial services and markets that establish and
monitor standards, including the
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
Securities and Futures Commission
Marketing your products and services
Before bringing a new product or service to the market, it is not only
important that you adhere to regulation, but also to put your offerings
through a certain level of testing to ensure quality and avoid future
liability for losses that occurred using your products. For many
early-stage Fintech companies it can be valuable to approach potential
customers with a pilot project idea to not only develop your products
better, but to also use as a case study when pitching to other customers as
A number of Fintech-friendly incubators in Hong Kong offer partnerships
with banks and financial services incumbents that are interested in
trialing new technology in their own operations, and are willing to give
new companies limited access to data to test new ideas. The
HKMA Fintech Supervisory Sandbox,
SFC Regulatory Sandbox
, and the
IA Insurtech Sandbox
in Hong Kong are such initiatives helping many Fintech companies innovate
using real-world applications.
There are many events in the Hong Kong now focusing on Fintech that can be
invaluable to foreign companies looking to learn about the market, gauge
the competitiveness of their offerings, find like-minded companies and
individuals to collaborate with, and scope opportunities for customers and
partners for commercialisation.
Block O2O – Hong Kong Block Week
Elevator Pitch Competition
Hong Kong FinTech Week
RISE Startup Conference
Links and industry contacts
Fintech Association of Hong Kong
Guangdong-Macao-Hong Kong Greater Bay Area Plan
Hong Kong Science and Technology Park
Innovation and Technology Commission
Innovation and Technology Fund
Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
Hong Kong Fintech Directory
Hong Kong Fintech Directory highlights the key market players that comprise the Fintech eco-system in
Hong Kong. These players include the relevant government departments,
regulatory agencies, industry associations, incubators / accelerators,
corporate financial institutions that have dedicated Fintech programs as
well as research centres. This is not an exhaustive list of key players.
This directory supports Austrade’s ongoing efforts to connect the
Australian Fintech eco-system with regional and global counterparts. This
publication is intended for use by Australian businesses and a valid ABN is
required to download the directory.
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