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Hong Kong FinTech week begins today

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Hong Kong FinTech week begins today

Screen Shot 2020 11 01 at 1 45 36 PM
Photo: WSJ

Hong Kong will today virtually host its annual, week-long Financial Technology (FinTech) convention.

The event is expected to attract over 25,000 participants, 500 exhibitors and 350 speakers from over 70 countries. Long a major vehicle for Chinese companies to launch globally, FinTech 2020 comes at a time of great economic uncertainty in Asian markets given the global uptick in COVID-19 transmission rates.

Expect the Hong Kong government to use this year’s FinTech to position its economy for post-COVID-19 recovery. Hong Kong’s financial technology companies will be pushed to exploit the opportunity presented by the approximately 1.1 billion people in Asia who remain outside the formal financial system—for example, people who do not have open accounts with commercial banks. An estimated 86% of Hong Kong’s banks are expected to implement contactless payment systems over the next five years.

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However, it remains uncertain whether these efforts will fuel a real recovery. Economic optimism will likely be tempered by ongoing political tensions in the city between pro- and anti-Beijing factions, particularly given the fast erosion of the territory’s autonomy from the mainland. Moreover, US sanctions on Hong Kong and foreign financial institutions conducting business will likely diminish new Hong Kong trade earnings as those sanctions come into full effect next year.

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