July 18, 2018

HKMA published the Open Application Programming Interface (API) framework for the banking sector in Hong Kong. HKMA announced that it will also launch the Open API on its official website on July 23, 2018. The framework takes a risk-based principle and a four-phase approach to implement various Open API functions and recommends prevailing international technical standards to ensure fast adoption and security. It also lays out detailed expectations on how banks should onboard and maintain relationship with third-party service providers in a manner that ensures consumer protection.

With release of the framework, HKMA expects banks to deploy Phase I Open APIs within six months and Phase II Open APIs within 12 to 15 months. On receiving the deployment roadmaps from banks, HKMA plans to publish a summary of roadmaps of the Open API functions from the banks for reference by the market. HKMA will work closely with the industry in the next 12 months on the deployment timeline for Phase III and IV Open APIs, taking into account implementation progress of Phase I and II, and international development.

HKMA will closely monitor the Open API adoption progress and looks forward to working with the industry and market participants to develop a healthy banking Open API ecosystem. Nearly 130 sets of information covering all financial data and important information published on the website of HKMA will be made available for Open API by phases. On the day of launch, 50 sets of financial data and important information will be opened via API. These cover the information such as statistics on Hong Kong dollar exchange rates, interest rates, the banking sector and the Exchange Fund as well as press releases and Coin Cart schedule. The remaining 80 sets of information will be opened via API by phases for completion by mid-2019. 

The consultation for this API framework ran from January to March 2018. During the consultation, HKMA received 41 responses from banks, technology/fintech firms, industry associations, consulting firms, payment card scheme operators, individuals, and other interested organizations. All respondents were supportive of the policy direction in developing an Open API Framework. Some respondents have sought clarification or requested more details on the framework, particularly on the engagement with third-party service providers. HKMA has revised and published the Open API Framework, after taking into consideration the comments received.

Keywords: Asia Pacific, Hong Kong, Banking, Fintech, Open API Framework, HKMA