HSBC: Asia embracing digital banking faster thanks to Hong Kong fintech initiatives

According to Josh Bottomley, global head of digital at HSBC, the pace of change in Asia with regards to digital banking development is the fastest in the world.

Concerns are easing over Hong Kong losing its place as a financial hub due to its slow adoption of fintech thanks to its new initiatives.

According to Bottomley: “Before the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s seven initiatives for fintech came out, there was definitely a concern that Hong Kong might have got left behind compared to what is happening in other markets like China and Singapore.”

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The HKMA’s initiatives, announced by chief executive Norman Chan in September, promised to open up “a new era of smart banking.”

They included re-jigging the city-state’s faster payments system to be launched in 2018, opening up the fintech supervisory “sandbox” to technology firms and creating new policies around opening up banks’ application programming interfaces to technology companies.

It had previously been thought newer tech firms were being left out due to regulations as Hong Kong tried to encourage innovation within its older financial institutions.

Speaking at last weekend’s INSEAD (European Institute for Business Administration) forum, Bottomley stated: “what has happened with the HKMA is a big step forward to allow Hong Kong in particular to create an environment where we can offer new services.”

He continued: “I think the pace of change of what is happening in digital banking is happening faster in Asia, both on the consumer side and the regulatory side, and also when it comes to adoption of technology like cloud… if you extrapolate from that, you may see that financial services as a whole will innovate faster and go to a newer place.”

HSBS is using fintech in mainland China, too, with chatbots being used to help customers set up new accounts as the bank expands into Guangdong.



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