HKMA co-organized, with InvestHK, the Hong Kong FinTech Week 2019, which was a five-day flagship fintech event that attracted thousands of attendees worldwide. During this event, HKMA highlighted a series of initiatives it undertook: setup of the BIS Innovation Hub, blockchain collaboration with PBC, research project on digital currencies with the Thai central bank, study on application of artificial intelligence in the banking industry, and launch of the Fin+Tech Collaboration Platform. HKMA also published a fact sheet, which is based on an industry-wide survey conducted in the third quarter of 2019, to highlight the key facts and figures that were revealed on the current and potential use of artificial intelligence in the banking industry.
The following initiatives are being undertaken by HKMA to foster the fintech ecosystem in Hong Kong:
- During the FinTech Week, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the subsidiaries of Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited and Institute of Digital Currency of the PBC to conduct a Proof-of-Concepttrial, which aims to connect eTradeConnect and the PBC Trade Finance Platform. The Proof-of-Concept is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2020. Once the connection has successfully been established, it will provide firms in both places with more convenient trade finance services and enable banks in Hong Kong to expedite the expansion of their trade finance business.
- As a follow-up to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between HKMA and BOT (the central bank of Thailand) in May 2019, the two authorities are conducting a joint research project named Project LionRock-Inthanon, to study the application of Central Bank Digital Currency to cross-border payments. The project is intended to facilitate HKD-THB payment-versus-payment (PvP) among banks in Hong Kong and Thailand. A joint report is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2020.
- The first ever Innovation Hub of BIS commenced its operation in Hong Kong in November 2019. HKMA believes that the Innovation Hub Hong Kong Center will serve as a focal point for regional fintech collaboration and bring the application of innovative technologies among central banks to a new level. Initially, HKMA will explore with the Hong Kong Center on the use of Distributed Ledger Technology to digitalize trade finance processes and study the impact of big tech on financial markets.
- HKMA is conducting a study on the application of artificial intelligence technology in the banking industry and will release a series of publications in this area in the coming months. HKMA published a fact sheet to highlight the key facts and figures revealed in an industry-wide survey conducted in the third quarter of 2019. One of the key findings shows almost 90% of the surveyed retail banks have adopted, or plan to adopt, artificial intelligence applications. The survey included interviews and questionnaires conducted with banks, industry organizations, and fintech firms, with a view to understanding the artificial intelligence landscape in the banking industry.
- HKMA jointly launched the Fin+Tech Collaboration Platform with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks to support fintech development in a technology-centric approach. Industry players can make use of the platform to organize fintech-related activities such as accelerators and hackathons, to explore innovative solutions, identify talent, and seek collaboration opportunities. HKMA will also make use of the hardware and software facilities of the platform for some of its fintech projects (including Project LionRock-Inthanon).
Keywords: Asia Pacific, Hong Kong, Banking, Fintech, Regtech, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Fintech Week 2019, PBC, BOT, BIS, HKMA
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