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HKU and e-commerce giant to partner on FinTech research

According to a recent report, one of the world’s largest e-commerce firms and the University of Hong Kong will be coming together to further financial technology (FinTech) research.

The two entities penned an agreement for this joint effort recently. The movement surrounding Blockchain has pierced the academic sector worldwide, ranging from Geneva to New York. The latest addition to the list of institutions involved in contributing to the Blockchain industry now includes the University of Hong Kong.

The two will be partnering up to tackle the challenges faced by and research relevant to the financial industry. The memorandum sees the IT firm gain access to the “Financial Technology and Blockchain Lab” at the Department of Computer Science in the university.

Concurrently, the university has committed to offering a Bachelor’s degree program in Financial Technology from September 2019. As a result of this commitment, the benefits of the agreement will extend beyond the university itself and to its students.

The e-commerce giant’s Financial Academy has agreed to offer internships and workshops to the students along with guest lectures from Tencent personnel. The Financial Academy, the branch of the e-commerce firm that will be engaging the university was itself started with the purposes of sourcing talent for the e-commerce firm.

It is common practice as part of such collaborations for firms to facilitate students of the academic organization with grants, scholarships, and work experience. This serves the professional development of the students and ensures a healthy relationship between the firm and young talent.

This is incredibly important for the Blockchain industry, which is expected to be one of the most sought-after career paths in the current year.

The technology being in its infancy means that there is a shortage of capable youngsters in the market as not many academic institutes are committed to teaching extensive degree programs regarding it. The benefit of the university comes primarily in terms of grants and funding as research opportunities grow. Employment numbers for freshly graduated students also increase.

This win-win situation will undoubtedly see many more similar partnerships emerge between academia and industry to further Blockchain.

Smart City goals

Under the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong, the Government aims to build the city into a world class smart city, through adopting the measures set out in this Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong.

The policy objectives to pursue smart city development are to:

(a) make use of innovation and technology (I&T) to address urban challenges, enhance the effectiveness of city management and improve people’s quality of living as well as Hong Kong’s sustainability, efficiency and safety;

(b) enhance Hong Kong’s attractiveness to global businesses and talents; and

(c) inspire continuous city innovation and sustainable economic development.

In particular, the Government is working to have more students selecting STEM as their education and professional careers, have a local supply of data scientists and other technology practitioners in need and have more successful entrepreneurs in their new ventures.

In addition, the Government is will continue to explore and formulate initiatives to nurture a highly adaptive population to embrace changes in technology, and build a knowledge-based society to support future development of I&T.

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