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HKSTP Unveils Fintech Virtual Lab

Image Credits: HKSTP, Press Release

Hong Kong Science and Technology Park Corporation (HKSTP) unveiled its FinTech Virtual Lab at this year’s Hong Kong FinTech Week. The new lab aims to accelerate FinTech research and development (R&D) and commercialisation in Hong Kong. Also discussed was how finance, science and technology can come together to address climate risk.

First-ever FinTech Virtual Lab to Accelerate FinTech R&D Ecosystem

The FinTech Virtual Lab, under HKSTP’s flagship STP Platform and supported by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), is an R&D environment giving access to banks, institutions and tech ventures to build and test their latest FinTech innovations.

It addresses a major challenge faced by FinTech developers, in that they do not have sufficient data themselves, and they often need to collaborate with external data providers to build solutions together. Furthermore, the traditional machine learning approach requires all parties to upload their data onto a central server for model training. Such data transfer often causes data security and privacy concerns.

The CEO of HKSTP stated that the theme of this year’s Hong Kong FinTech Week is ‘Scaling FinTech Future Together’, which is very apt for the launch of our FinTech Virtual Lab. This has been made possible through cross-industry collaboration, to promote far bigger innovation in the ecosystem.

With the upcoming rollout of the Commercial Data Interchange Platform, the FinTech Virtual Lab will serve as another powerful tool to further accelerate and commercialise Hong Kong’s FinTech innovation.

The Chief Fintech Officer of the HKMA stated that HKMA’s Fintech 2025 strategy aims to build new data infrastructure, further expand the FinTech talent pool, and elevate the ecosystem, ultimately encouraging the financial sector to adopt technology comprehensively.

He added that the FinTech Virtual Lab, which resonates with HKMA’s vision and provides a unique environment to drive FinTech development for the financial industry. The Lab is expected to play an important role in strengthening Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s FinTech hub.

The Federated Learning Network in the FinTech Virtual Lab, powered by a private Chinese neobank, offers a secure way for financial institutions, tech ventures and external data providers to build collaborative machine-learning models together while allowing each company to keep data at their source.

Participating companies will benefit from more powerful AI models by aggregating the insights from each other’s data, without the need to disclose their data and therefore, safeguard data privacy. This is the first Federated Learning Network proof-of-concept from HKSTP, with plans to introduce similar tools and environments for other industries shortly.

This is also the first time a Federated Learning Network for multiple companies has been set up in Hong Kong and is ready to onboard more financial institutions and tech ventures.

HKSTP Pavilion Features Highly Innovative FinTech-related Solutions

The FinTech Virtual Lab aims to help FinTech ventures speed up their R&D activities, as well as enhance the quality of their products and services. The platform is open to FinTech ventures in Hong Kong. Among the first in line to benefit are Science Park’s park companies, 30 of whom exhibited during Hong Kong FinTech Week 2021.

Building a sustainable future in Hong Kong and across the GBA

Also, as part of the Hong Kong FinTech Week 2021, HKSTP’s CEO was joined by the Chief Development Strategist at the Institute for the Environment at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, in an on-stage panel to discuss the intersection between finance, science, and technology, in combating climate change to build a clean, sustainable future in Hong Kong, and across the Greater Bay Area.

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