FinTech Power Plays in Asia: Collaborate or Die
Collaboration may just be a manifestation of competition: Coverage of the Hong Kong FinTech Breakfast Briefing and The Economist #FinanceDisrupted conference (theme “Collaborate or Die”)
In April the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore announced that Singapore’s inaugural FinTech Festival, a week long global event, would be held in his country this November. He made that announcement in New York City.
Finovate, which holds a series of some of the largest FinTech conferences in the world debuts Finovate Asia in Hong Kong November 8, only days before Singapore’s FinTech Festival. Between the two events many global companies already have their airplane tickets booked, so..
Invest Hong Kong announced on September 21st that it would be holding its first “FinTech Week.” The week will kick off with Finovate and end a couple days before the Singapore event. Although both Singapore and Hong Kong may say that the current atmosphere is collaborative, the FinTech event race shows evidence of the countries’ history of competition.
As an example leaders at the Invest Hong Kong Breakfast Briefing pointed out that Hong Kong did not need to provide large subsidies to encourage companies to innovate in the country whereas Singapore “has to.”
The sense of Asia competition thickened only the next day watching the Oxford style debate “the house believes that China will win the FinTech revolution” at The Economist’s Finance Disrupted event. The theme of the day long conference, “collaborate or die” attracted a few hundred attendees willing to pay for tickets at $2200 a pop. It was clear that if China can mobilize its peoples with technology and other professional skills the country could dominate. At this point the country is still separated from global financial power players. This was evident via a key point brought up in the debate: although the largest banks are in China the most powerful citizens don’t trust these banks. Instead they go to American banks such as Goldman Sachs.
Other interesting points brought up that day? The Economist used to be banned in Singapore but now it is allowed. The government has relaxed its regulatory measures too. Global leaders such as Vikram Pandit, former CEO Citigroup Inc. pointed this out as reasoning for his faith in Singapore FinTech.