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Blockchain firm office in Hong Kong to drive Smart City goals

According to a recent report, a venture capital studio announced the opening of its new office in Hong Kong.

The VC studio Hong Kong will pursue a growth plan which includes the hiring of blockchain solutions architects and software developers.

The company noted that Hong Kong has a vibrant financial services sector and a government that is supportive of new technology.

As part of its efforts to position itself as the top financial hub in APAC, the territory introduced an HK$500 million fund in 2018 to further its financial sector, boosting development in fintech, blockchain and digital assets.

The VC studio has already partnered with leading Hong Kong-based financial services organizations last year to explore the application of the company’s Decentralized Apps (Dapps) to develop new products and services.

It is working with another major firm to a blockchain solution to bring transparency to transactions.

The founder of the firm and co-creator of one of the biggest open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platforms noted that Hong Kong stands out for its continued legacy as a financial and trading hub strategically located in the heart of Asia and as an important conduit to mainland China.

Pushing the Smart City agenda

The Blueprint for Hong Kong’s Smart City notes that one of the Government’s missions is to enable businesses (like the aforementioned VC studio) to capitalise on the city’s renowned business-friendly environment to foster innovation, transform the city into a living lab and test bed for development.

Under the Smart Economy aims, the Government laid out the following goals (some of which have already been achieved):

  • Promote Fintech initiatives and explore distributed ledger technology applications in different areas, including trade financing and cross-boundary transactions
  • Facilitate the introduction of virtual banking as another model of service delivery
  • Formulate, by 2018, a framework to facilitate the development and wider adoption of API by the banking sector, thereby stimulating innovations and improving financial services through collaboration between banks and technology firms.

With regards to the API framework, the HKSAR Government published a press release in 2018.

The release stated that The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) had launched the Open Application Programming Interface (API) Framework for the Hong Kong banking sector.

Concurrently, the HKMA announced the launch of Open API on its official website on 23 July 2018 to provide convenient access by the public.

The formulation of the Open API Framework was one of seven initiatives announced by the HKMA in September 2017 to prepare Hong Kong to move into a new era of Smart Banking.

The Open API Framework aimed to help ensure the competitiveness of the banking sector, encourage more parties to provide innovative and integrated services that improve customer experience and keep up with worldwide development on the delivery of banking services.

The Chief Executive of the HKMA stated that Open API is a milestone for financial innovation in the banking sector.

The Framework is expected to provide specific guidance to enable collaboration between banks and TSPs, and ultimately bring a new experience of innovative, convenient and safe banking services to customers.

The unique Hong Kong environment

A recent report by OpenGov Asia noted that Hong Kong currently has over 550 financial technologies (FinTech) companies with wide business coverage, and the Government has been working to provide a conducive environment for Mainland and overseas FinTech companies to work in.

The Government’s aim is to continue to explore and formulate initiatives that will:

  • enhance the overall business climate, particularly in areas of the technology-driven economy like Fintech and re-industrialisation
  • further, develop Hong Kong’s I&T ecosystem to attract more start-ups and investors from other jurisdictions
  • attract more leading talents and investments to enhance the city’s economic vibrancy.

Over the last year, Hong Kong’s governmental policies have enabled many major FinTech companies and SMEs to set up shop in the region, growing its economy and bringing jobs into the market.

The arrival of the VC studio is another such move, with the company lauding the region’s friendly business environment.

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