Major Speeches, Presentations and Press Releases

SCED's speech at Fintech Innovation Lab welcoming cocktail (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the  Fintech Innovation Lab's welcoming cocktail event today (September 15):

Good evening Sushil (Senior Managing Director of Accenture, Mr Sushil Saluja), Alfred (Director of Cyberport, Mr Alfred Wong), Herman (Chief Executive Officer of Cyberport, Mr Herman Lam), ladies and gentlemen,

     I am delighted to join you at the welcoming cocktail of the Fintech Innovation Lab. First, may I congratulate Accenture and Cyberport for launching the renowned accelerator programme in Hong Kong, gathering start-ups from different parts of the world under one roof. This meaningful event has put Hong Kong at the heart of fintech development in the region. Whether you are an amateur or a veteran, an innovative technocrat or its loyal customer, wanting to invest or "be invested", I wish you an enjoyable and fruitful evening. To our overseas participants, I wish you a memorable stay in Hong Kong.

     The rapid rise of fintech is a global phenomenon, and the trend has hit Hong Kong without exception. By partnering with financial institutions, start-ups with brilliant ideas can have easier access to a vast number of risk-taking investors. Banks can also advance their competitive position and cut time to market by adopting innovative concepts and game-changing products developed by start-up firms. The development of fintech is gaining substantial traction in Hong Kong in recent years, riding on our competitive advantages.

     As an international financial centre, Hong Kong is endowed with a sound legal framework, an effective and clean government, and an efficient accounting and professional support services. We have the safest, most efficient and sophisticated financial infrastructure to support high frequency and large volume financial transactions.

     Furthermore, we are a premier ICT hub. We have one of the finest telecommunications infrastructures in the world. We are geographically proximate to the Mainland, the largest consumer market in the world. Our mobile penetration rate of 238 per cent is among the highest in the world, and our tech-savvy population is eager to make use of cutting-edge technological products and services for day-to-day activities. This of course includes dealings with banks and financial institutions.

     These factors contribute to building up the most optimal environment for fintech to grow and blossom. The Government will continue to collaborate closely with the industry to develop Hong Kong into a hub for fintech development.

     The partnership of Accenture and Cyberport is ideal as they complement each other perfectly. Talk about Accenture, and we think of the world's largest consulting firm constantly inspiring its global customers to "accent on the future" through creative solutions. Talk about Cyberport, and we think of the leading ICT start-up incubator in Hong Kong, which is now being proactive in extending its service territory. The world now awaits with excitement to see the chemistry generated by these two industry leaders.

     For any start-up to be successful, it has to think global. This prestigious start-up accelerator programme has set itself as an excellent example. The programme at first targeted at fintech start-ups in North America, where the financial market is more developed. The pioneer in New York in 2010 achieved unparalleled success. In 2012, it expanded to Europe and was launched in London, which of course is also an international financial centre. The programme was hugely successful. With a foothold in Asia, the programme will become truly global. Hong Kong will take advantage of its position as an international financial centre and a premier ICT hub to make this Hong Kong chapter a successful one.

     To the eight teams of fintech entrepreneurs selected from a large field of international applicants, the fact that you have made it here is already an accomplishment itself. I wish you every good luck in connecting with the city's financial services leaders in the coming 12 weeks. At the same time, I encourage you to make use of your stay here to experience what Hong Kong can offer you to jump-start and expand your business.

     Ladies and gentlemen, there is substantial headroom for future growth of fintech in Asia. The demand for fintech here in Hong Kong is booming and the technology ecosystem is vibrant. It is most timely for Accenture and Cyberport to launch this programme in Hong Kong to unleash the potential of start-ups. I wish the programme every success, and I look forward to the programme's second year in Hong Kong and beyond.

     Thank you. Please enjoy the evening.

Ends/Monday, September 15, 2014
Issued at HKT 21:28