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Developing Hong Kong’s FinTech Ecosystem

Image Credits: CUHK, Press Release

After three years of successful collaboration to accelerate the development of financial technology (fintech) talents in Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)’s Engineering FinTech Applied Research Academy (CEFAR Academy) and a Hong Kong-based banking and financial services company signed a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which they will continue to offer training opportunities to fintech students and practitioners.

The renewal of the MoU marks a strengthening of the relationship between CEFAR Academy and the financial institution. The Bank will continue to offer internships, industry project supervision and scholarships, providing CUHK fintech students with the chance to gain first-hand business experience and industry knowledge. CEFAR Academy will also provide professionals from the bank with tailor-made fintech training in areas ranging from strategy to implementation and covering various aspects of both business and technology.

The two parties signed their first fintech development MoU in September 2019, with the aim of driving thought leadership and nurturing future generations of skilled financial professionals. Since then, CUHK fintech students have successfully undertaken 12 industry projects, and four more are underway. The projects covered diverse technologies including digital wallets, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), artificial intelligence (AI) and wealth management products.

The bank has given 13 CUHK interns the opportunity to put the theories and skills learned in the classroom into practical use in real-life industry situations, and to learn from experienced Hang Seng practitioners who served as their mentors. The Bank awarded three HK$50,000 scholarships to CUHK fintech students who demonstrated outstanding performance and enormous potential.

In addition, CUHK supported the bank by providing its staff with training courses to enhance their fintech skills and knowledge, including data analysis training under the Bank’s Data Literacy Empowerment Programme, fintech courses for executives and internal start-up training.

The renewed MoU was signed by the Dean of Engineering at CUHK and the Chief Operating Officer at the bank. The deepened collaboration includes exploring more ways to cultivate fintech practitioners with the knowledge and skills to drive future banking and financial services in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area.

At the MoU signing ceremony, CUHK’s Dean of Engineering stated that talent is one of Hong Kong’s most important assets in strengthening competitiveness in financial services, both regionally and internationally. The University is happy to further strengthen its collaboration with the bank. The partnership demonstrates CUHK’s commitment to nurturing Hong Kong’s fintech talents.

Meanwhile, the bank’s COO stated that nurturing and supporting young people is an important part of the firm’s broad-based initiatives to drive technological innovation in the industry. Throughout its strategic partnership with CUHK over the past three years, the bank has continuously increased the resources they have invested in the university. In 2022, Hang Seng’s commitment has already exceeded HK$3.5 million.

Through its internships, projects and scholarships, the bank can help to expand the future talent pool of Hong Kong. At the same time, CUHK facilitates the bank in fintech knowledge enrichment for the institution’s staff to ensure their workforce is future-proof.

FinTech is a leading sub-sector in Hong Kong. The region is an advanced city with high penetration of mobile phone usage and internet accessibility, which provides a good platform for Hong Kong’s fintech ecosystem.

According to Invest Hong Kong, over 600 fintech companies and startups are currently in operation in Hong Kong. Moreover, 86% of local banks have adopted or plan to adopt fintech solutions across all financial services. The city was ranked in the top 5 among the world’s developed markets for consumer fintech adoption.

Over US$1.1 billion of venture capital has been raised by Hong Kong fintech companies since 2014.  Some of the best fintech prospects in Hong Kong include digital payments, securities settlement, electronic Know Your Customer (KYC) and digital identification utilities, wealthtech, insurtech, data analytics, blockchain, and regtech.

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