An Ideas-Based Online Magazine of the Global Network for Advanced Management

Hong Kong as a Hub for Fintech

Is there a distinctive advantage for entrepreneurial ventures in your country/region, in terms of location, education, state of development? Are entrepreneurs aimed at internal, regional, or international markets?

Hong Kong is an international city and is among the most business friendly in the world. According to the Heritage Foundation, Hong Kong ranked the world's freest economy for the 23rd consecutive year in 2017. It not only provides an excellent environment for local young people to start their own businesses, but also attracts entrepreneurs from abroad to test their ideas or pursue an entrepreneurial career path here.

Hong Kong is also a premier financial hub, and the recent advancement of technology has opened the window for many new opportunities, including an ecosystem for Fintech startups. Creative entrepreneurs can benefit from the city’s mature financial market, supported by a sound legal framework, which allow many new financial products and solutions to be developed.

The continued development of fintech platforms will transform the way the world conducts economic activities and business transactions across borders and anywhere around the world. Hong Kong is strategically positioned in Asia with excellent proximity to Mainland China. The unique connection with the thriving mainland economy enables startups to grow at a faster pace and develop their business models for a potentially larger market.

From an educational standpoint, Hong Kong has many good universities with a lot of talent in the fields of business and technology, which are positive factors in driving fintech development or entrepreneurship. Our curriculum is constantly reviewed and revised to meet the growing interest in entrepreneurship in the region. Educators should also foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and support students to develop the right mindset and skills to capitalize on new opportunities ahead. Similarly, many executives have shown interest in investing in startups or are eager to learn more about the impacts of technology on their current operation. Business schools will have an important role to play in this respect.

What’s a telling success story from your country or region?

The advancement of technology provides more affordable ways for passionate young people to innovate and develop new products and solutions. They stand a better chance to succeed with their ventures. HKUST has been a long-standing supporter of an innovation culture and entrepreneurship education, with some success stories.

Frank Wang, founder of the world famous drone maker DJI, is an HKUST alumnus. Wang’s final-year project was a mini-helicopter drone. He founded the company DJI in 2006 from his dorm room, and later benefited from a move to Shenzhen – China’s technology base and the world’s prototyping center. Valued at US$10 billion according to published research, DJI is the global leader in drones and Wang is one of the richest Chinese tycoons under 40.

More recently, Bradley Chiang, born in Taiwan, co-founded a mobile tutoring app called Snapask. He started his company with a team of three, when he studied at HKUST in 2014. Today, Snapask has attracted more than 150,000 users in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. Bradley was also named to the Forbes Asia “30 under 30” list for the Consumer Tech Sector in 2016.