Hong Kong’s rise as a FinTech Hub

How the government and WHub can support your FinTech motivations

With Hong Kong’s background and foundation as an international financial hub, transforming into FinTech is a natural next evolution to keep Hong Kong globally competitive.

Last week, Hong Kong celebrated its FinTech Week 2018 from 29 October to 2 November (with 31 October and 1 November being the Main Conference) in both Hong Kong and Shenzhen, marking the first cross-border FinTech event in the world. Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, has been putting an emphasis on Hong Kong’s FinTech metamorphosis and is increasingly allocating budget and resources to mature this sector — this event showcasing Hong Kong’s FinTech development was a testimonial to both the government’s stress on advancement and dedication to innovate.

Supporting the Startups in FinTech

WHub was proud to support the event — as a partner of the new Fast Track Program, which helps startups establish and leverage Hong Kong’s perks, as a sponsor of the Fast Track Demo Show Pitch Competition, and as speaker and moderator across various stages.

Moreover, to honor and showcase our local milestones and exponential growth in FinTech, WHub also provided a preview of our exciting 2nd edition of the Hong Kong FinTech Ecosystem White Paper, which will be made available in November.

In this article, we will feature the highlights and key takeaways from the events featuring WHub, as well as major announcements made by the government that week.

29 Oct (Mon) — Pre-Launch of AngelHub

Simultaneous with the commencement of the Hong Kong FinTech Week 2018, there was the exhilarating pre-launch of AngelHub at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Connect Hall. It was a momentous occasion for WHub, Hong Kong’s startups and all key stakeholders of the startup ecosystem as Hong Kong’s first regulated highly vetted startup investment platform will democratise startup investments and revolutionising the way investors and startups interact. Read the recap and highlights of the event or read “Democratizing Startup Investment” by Karen Contet Farzam, Co-Founder & CEO of AngelHub to learn more about this new platform.

30 Oct (Tues) — Preview of Hong Kong FinTech Whitepaper

Karena Belin, Co-Founder & CEO of WHub

The Preview of the Hong Kong FinTech Whitepaper was the first glimpse and introduction to the most updated statistics of Hong Kong and Asia’s FinTech startup progression and triumphs, and the new FinTech initiatives from the government. It was specifically held at Campfire Causeway Bay at V Point, the signature FinTech co-working venue in the area.

Preview highlights:

  • In APAC, the FinTech Investments of the first half of 2018 amounted to US$16.8 Billion across 162 deals
  • 88% of global banks are increasingly concerned that they will lose revenue to FinTech businesses, and 82% of financial services firms intend to collaborate with FinTech companies in the coming 3–5 years.
  • Over the last year, the Hong Kong Government has been pushing to make Hong Kong breeding grounds for FinTech with initiatives such as Virtual Banking, Faster Payment System and Technology Talent Scheme. There has also been an increase in accelerators such as HKAI Labs and Infiniti Labs.

30 Oct (Tues) –Announcement — eTradeConnect, Hong Kong’s new Blockchain-based banking platform

Charles Li, CEO of HKEx

During a keynote speech by Charles Li, CEO, HKEx, it was announced that the eTradeConnect, one of the 7 initiatives proposed by the HKMA in September 2017 to launch Hong Kong into a new era of Smart Banking, would be launched in collaboration with Digital Asset Holding, a distributed ledger technology company. The platform was launched on Wednesday.

Here are some significant aspects of the new platform:

  • Links up the services of 12 leading local and global financial institutions, such as HSBC and BNP Paribas, to encourage cross-border trade
  • Links up with blockchain platform — “we.trade”, with a network of 14 European banks, such as UBS to promote digitalized trade within the Eurasian continent
  • Aims to create a cheaper, more efficient and effective bank experience, and to promote Hong Kong’s transformation into a smart banking city

31 Oct (Wed) — Main Conference — Karen’s Interview

Being Interviewed: Karen Contet Farzam, Co-Founder & CEO of AngelHub

As a sponsor of the Fast Track Program, WHub had a booth at the Fast Track Village, it was a pleasure meeting all the international startup stakeholders at our booth and discussing the best means to establish a presence and succeed in Hong Kong.

Karen Contet Farzam, was interviewed by FinTech Week about her background in investment banking and engineering, the passion behind her startups and future trends of FinTech in Hong Kong. Not only is Karen Co-Founder & Chief Hustler of WHub, she is also Founding Board Member of the FinTech Association of Hong Kong, and Co-Founder & CEO of the freshly pre-launched AngelHub, Hong Kong’s first regulated highly vetted startup investment platform.

You can watch the 5-minute interview here:

31 Oct (Wed) — Main Conference — Insights on Investments & Funding

Karen Contet Farzam, Co-Founder & CEO of AngelHub

AngelHub was founded with a passion to democratize crowdfunding, and Karen Contet Farzam shared her conviction to help startups and investors make quality matches by speaking and moderating on various panels.

FinTech Funding — Hong Kong Stage

Karen Contet Farzam, Co-Founder & CEO, AngelHub; Co-Founder & Chief Hustler, WHub
Mikaa Abdulla, Co-Founder & CEO, 8 Securities
William Chu, Managing Partner, SparkLabs FinTech

Syed Musheer Ahmed, General Manager, FinTech Association of Hong Kong

Key Takeaways:

  • Three years ago, there were barely any well-funded FinTech startups in Hong Kong. Today, there are many companies looking for funding but there isn’t much more capital in circulation.
  • There are FinTech investments in Hong Kong startups — 8 Securities has raised US$60 million — but most of it came from outside Hong Kong, from China, the US, and Japan.
  • Venture Capitals look for how scalable a business is. Not necessarily how original ideas are, but how they are better than products and services that already exist.
  • In Hong Kong, there are seed investors and safe capital from Private Investors. Hong Kong is missing everything in between — risk-taking venture capitals.
  • Funding is tough: it takes up 80% of entrepreneur’s time which should be focused on building the business and it’s a waste of time and energy to pitch to “crocodiles”; that’s why AngelHub was set up — to give startups access professional investors without having to pitch 100 times.

1 Nov (Thurs) — Announcement — SFC announces virtual assets framework

Ashley Alder, CEO of SFC

During a Keynote Speech by Ashley Alder, CEO, SFC, the new regulatory approach for digital assets and cryptocurrencies was announced. According to Alder, the SFC will set out new rules under which all funds, which involves investments of more than 10 percent of a mixed portfolio in crypto assets, will have to comply with, whether or not those crypto assets are securities.

Below, we’ve included links to the summaries by Henri Arslanian, Chairman, FinTech Association of Hong Kong.

Learn about the 10 things you need to know about:

The New Regulatory Framework for Crypto Funds in Hong Kong
 — The New Regulatory Framework for Crypto Exchanges in Hong Kong

1 Nov (Thurs) — Main Conference — Fast Track Demo Show

Winners of the Fast Track Demo Show

The first Fast Track Demo Show attracted quality startups from all over the world, such as Switzerland, Korea, the UK, the US and Singapore. There were 19 startups pitching to compete on a much bigger stage in Shenzhen, with of course, attractive prizes, including Soft Landing services from WHub. The animated pitches moved the judges and audiences with the introduction innovative ideas and improved solutions.

5 Finalists:

  • 1st Place: AIZEN
    A Korean startup that provides AI business applications specialised in Banking and Insurance. It is the first licensed company to conduct core AI banking services in Korea.
  • 2nd Place: SOCASH App
    A Singaporean startup with a mobile app / cash circulation platform which provides virtual ATMs for digital banks.
  • 3rd Place: BlueFire.AI
    A Hong Kong intelligence engine for capital markets which has developed a world-class AI program with the National University of Singapore (NUS).
  • 1st Runner Up (4th Place): Aaaccell
    A Swiss startup that specialises in asset- and risk management which stands for Academic excellence, Artificial intelligence, and Algorithmic power.
  • 2nd Runner Up (5th Place): Beam & Go
    A Singaporean digital payment & e-commerce platform that empowers migrant workers to manage the spending of remittance sent back home.

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