With financial services accounting for 16% of its GDP and employing 236,000 people, or 6% of total employment in Hong Kong, it comes with little surprise that the region has made fintech one of its top priorities.
Hong Kong, one of the world’s leading international financial centers, is looking at financial technology as the natural evolution of financial services. With digitalization, artificial intelligence, robotics, hitting all major industries, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to bring massive disruption in the banking and financial industry as well.
Governments from all over the world are gearing up for fintech disruption. In Hong Kong, the government established a Steering Group on Financial Technologies in March 2015 to advise on the development and promotion of the city as a fintech hub. This was followed by a new piece of legislation for payment services, published in November 2015, that aimed at providing a legal framework to regulate stored value facilities (SVF) and retail payment systems. The new bill brought relevant players, including loyalty cards by retailers and non-device SVFs, under purview of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).
HKMA has been very supportive of technology innovations, notably in the field of payments. The authority is known for being proactive in encouraging technologies such as e-Cheque, the e Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) system, and Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile payments.
Yesterday, HKMA announced plans to establish a regulatory regime known as a “sandbox” for fintech startups.
Alongside the open and supportive public sector, fintech entrepreneurs, investors and other participants in the ecosystem have contributed to developing the domestic fintech scene.
Today, we take a look at the entrepreneurs, authors, technologists, pioneers, who are all working towards the same mission: turn Hong Kong into a fintech leader.
Janos Barberis is the founder of FintechHK, a community of the region’s fintech startups, the founder of SuperCharger Fintech Accelerator, and the co-founder and co-editor of The FINTECH Book, a world’s first globally crowd-sourced book on fintech that compiles experts insights of over 160 authors and 40 companies.
Barberis has been recognized as one of the top 35 global fintech leaders. He sits on the fintech advisory boards of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) and the Securities & Futures Commission (SFC).
Sam Allen is the CEO of CompareAsiaGroup, a consumer finance startup backed by Goldman Sachs providing Asia’s leading comparison platforms.
Before joining CompareAsiaGroup in April 2016, Allen spent 9 years at KKR where he was a Director in KKR’s portfolio operations team and a member of the Asia Leadership Team. Sam worked with KKR’s portfolio companies across Asia, acting as an advisor and interim executive. Prior to this, Sam worked at McKinsey & Company and at AT&T Wireless.
Mikaal Abdulla is the CEO and co-founder of 8 Securities, an award-winning online and mobile investing service in Asia. 8 Securities operates Chloe, a robo-advisor service, as well as Asia’s first commission-free stock trading app.
Abdulla is a member of Asia’s Fintech 100 and had worked for 10 years at leading online financial services company E*TRADE where he served as senior vice president and head of Asia prior to launching 8 Securities.
James Lloyds is EY’s Asia-Pacific fintech leader. He is in charge for the strategy and operation of the firm’s financial technology capabilities across the region.
Lloyds leads a fully-dedicated regionally-focused team tasked with advising clients on matters relating to new financial technologies, processes, and business models.
He is also a startup mentor, seed investor, and community builder, and sits on the Fintech Advisory Group of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), the Fintech Working Group of the Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA), and the Fintech & Blockchain initiatives of the Financial Services Development Council (FSDC).
Prior to Finnovasia, Sar was the co-founder and managing director of Innovative Trips, a Hong Kong-based company specializing in creative, educational innovative trips for individuals and corporations to visit locations such as Russia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan to explore new ideas, learn from experts and meet with the local community.
Matthew Dooley is chapter leader of Next Money HK, a company focusing on educating the financial services industry on the innovation opportunities and challenges ahead through a range of activities. Next Money organizes some of the largest fintech events in the world.
Dooley is also a faculty member of the Asian Banker, a judge for BBVA’s Open Talent competition, a mentor and advisor for Startupbootcamp.
Leonhard Weese is a Bitcoin and information security expert based in Hong Kong. Weese currently serves as a mentor for the SuperCharger Fintech Accelerator program.
In 2012, Weese founded the Bitcoin Association Hong Kong (BAHK), a non-profit organization focusing on promoting and fostering Bitcoin and its technology in the region. BAHK organizes regular Bitcoin meetups aimed at bringing together the local community to discuss Bitcoin and blockchain technology topics.
Ericson Chan is the head of Ping An Technology, the Chinese insurer’s tech affiliate, and a board alternate director of the Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited.
Chan, a former banker at Standard Chartered, is a mentor for the SuperCharger Fintech Accelerator program and a fintech member of ASIFMA. He has been a member of the Disruptive Innovation in Financial Services Committee of the World Economic Forum since 2014.
Simon Loong is the founder and CEO of WeLab, a leading fintech startup specializing in lending technologies. WeLab operates Wolaidai, one of China’s leading mobile lending platforms, and WeLend.hk, Hong Kong’s leading online lending platform.
Loong is a member of the Financial Services Advisory Committee of the Shenzhen Consumer Council, a member of the Information and Communications Technology Services Advisory Committee of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and a member of the Fintech Working Group of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.
Alex Medana is a founding partner and the CEO of FinFabrik, a fintech solution builder based in Hong Kong, and the CEO of WIN Solutions Ltd., a blockchain software company.
Medana is also a fintech advisor for The Asian Banker, a member of the Financial Services Business Council Member & Fintech Committee of the European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, and a board member and strategic advisor for financial services for XNotes Alliance Limited.
Steve Monaghan is a Limited Partner at True Global Ventures, a advisory board member for Monexo Innovations Limited, the regional director for AIA, as well as the director of Competitive Capital.
A former banker with over 15 years of experience at the likes of DBS Bank, Shinsei Bank, OCBC Bank and Citibank, Monaghan now specializes in the “creation of business models exploiting market asymmetries to create new businesses, or turn around old businesses for banks and corporations.”