FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

All you need to know about the newly launched FinTech Association of Hong Kong

It is led by 12 committees, each dedicated to a particular branch of FinTech.

The FinTech Association of Hong Kong (FTAHK) was officially launched on June 27 in an event that was attended by over 300 guests from across the local FinTech community and other industries.

The Association is organised and led by the community for the community through a series of committees which will initially focus on the following areas of FinTech: Artificial Intelligence, InsurTech, Big Data, Payments, Blockchain, Policy/Advocacy, Design & Experience, RegTech, Digital Banking,Talent & Diversity, Financial Literacy & Inclusion, WealthTech.

In an exclusive interview with Asian Banking and Finance, Amanda Tung, board member of the FinTech Association of Hong Kong, and ANX International’s marketing manager, reveals more details about the Association. She also talks about how the Association’s independent structure and collaborative approach create a catalyst for sustained future innovation in Hong Kong.

What is the FTAHK and who are the people behind it?
The FinTech Association of Hong Kong is a new association that intends to champion the cause of FinTech in Hong Kong by encouraging an open, inclusive and diverse FinTech community. It’s independent, not-for-profit and member-driven, meaning it will be truly representative of the local FinTech industry.

The Association has the support of the Hong Kong Government, but is being run by the community for the community. Our members are drawn from across the FinTech and wider financial industry, both in Hong Kong and abroad – anyone with a passion for FinTech in Hong Kong, in fact. These are the people who have come together to create the Association.

What spurred the launch of the FTAHK? Why now?
Hong Kong has a diverse and growing FinTech community with a number of organisations focused on different sectors, but it’s been lacking an overall structure to coordinate activity and direct interest in the local FinTech scene.

Over the last few years, many of us in the Hong Kong FinTech community had started creating our own informal networks to do this, and we gradually realised there was a need to formalise them.

For example, at the 2016 FinTech Finals over half the 800 attendees were from outside Hong Kong so we could see there was huge interest in getting more information about the Hong Kong FinTech ecosystem, but no obvious way to capitalise on that interest. So earlier this year a group of us got together and started brainstorming the concept that became the Association.

How does the Association’s independent structure and collaborative approach create a catalyst for sustained future innovation in Hong Kong?
Because it’s independent the Association is in a unique position to truly represent the entire Hong Kong FinTech ecosystem. That means we can collaborate with existing organisations to amplify their activities, as well as provide a platform to promote new initiatives that bring Hong Kong FinTech to a wider audience.

Collaboration and partnership will be at the heart of what we do: we’re a member-driven organisation which means we direct our work wherever our members see the most need.

What projects/initiatives does the Association plan to launch?
We have three initial aims:

  • Advocate – to create the unified voice for the Hong Kong FinTech ecosystem,
  • Collaborate – to bring together the diverse parts of the community,
  • Educate – to learn from existing leaders and nurture the next generation of talent.

The Association’s work will be geared towards achieving these aims, and led by a series of twelve committees, each dedicated to a particular branch of FinTech (such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Talent & Diversity).

The committees are consulting members right now to decide on the projects and activities that are of most importance, and coming up with a programme for the next six months. This will include the areas where we should be lobbying the government on our members’ behalf, as well as research reports and surveys to find new areas of insight into Hong Kong FinTech.

What are the current trends in Hong Kong's fintech sector? What are the opportunities for future regional development?
Hong Kong’s proximity to mainland China and its connectivity to the rest of Asia and the world mean it’s ideally placed to be a leading actor in future regional development. More and more FinTech firms are realising this and choosing to set up business here.

FinTech is a key growth area for both China and Hong Kong, and we’re seeing a lot of growth in the Greater Bay Area: in Qianhai and Shenzhen as well as Hong Kong. New high speed rail links and hardware linking Hong Kong with China will also spur greater development.

To really make the most of this trend, technology capabilities need to be developed further and talent needs to be nurtured more with access widened to FinTech as a career in Hong Kong. Those are two of the areas where we see the Association making a difference.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers at ABF about the FTAHK?
We’d like to encourage readers to join! Membership details are available at http://hkfintech.org/. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in FinTech in Hong Kong, whoever they are and wherever they are based.

We see ourselves as part of a wider FinTech community, and want to take a central role in fostering greater collaboration between all the different industry participants.

Board members of the FinTech Association of Hong Kong


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