56. Taking advantage of technologies such as mobile communications technology and artificial intelligence, financial technologies (Fintech) offer consumers novel experiences in managing their finances and provide financial institutions with tools to improve their operational efficiency. Provision of financial services is no longer confined to traditional financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies. By leveraging the Internet and mobile technologies, telecommunication companies, e-commerce enterprises and start-ups are now able to provide financial services to individuals and enterprises.
57. Fintech can be applied to a wide range of areas such as electronic payments, robo-advisors, distribution of financial products, big data analytics, cyber security, equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. Some studies predicted that global investments in Fintech will surge from US$12 billion in 2014 to over US$46 billion in 2020.
58. The Steering Group on Financial Technologies which I set up last year has examined the direction for Hong Kong's Fintech development jointly with the industry, R&D institutions and relevant regulatory authorities. It has recommended a number of measures for creating a conducive environment and encouraging financial institutions and professionals from around the world to drive the development and application of Fintech in Hong Kong. We shall actively follow up.
59. In recent years, a number of international financial institutions and professional services firms, including Accenture, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, KPMG, Nest and Tuspark, have chosen to establish laboratories and incubation programmes in Hong Kong. This underlines our edge in developing Fintech. Government will set up a dedicated team under the Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) to organise international events and facilitate start-ups, investors and R&D institutions to establish their presence in Hong Kong.
60. The Enterprise Support Scheme under ITF will provide financial support to Fintech start-ups and financial institutions. The Cyberport will set aside a dedicated space of 3 000 square metres in its co-working space Smart-Space, and roll out a designated programme to provide support to 150 Fintech start-ups over the next five years. In addition, it will arrange for 300 university students to join Fintech training camps in overseas universities to gain more in-depth understanding of the career prospects in the sector.
61. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance will set up Fintech dedicated platforms to liaise with the industry to ensure that the market will balance between market demand and investors' understanding and tolerance of risk when introducing innovative financial products and services.
62. Consumer protection is an important consideration in Fintech development. The Payment Systems and Stored Value Facilities Ordinance, which came into effect last year, has enhanced consumer protection. HKMA is working with the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers and the Hong Kong Association of Banks to set up a cyber security programme, including the establishment of a cyber intelligence-sharing platform, and the conduct of risk assessment and professional certification.
63. Government will encourage the industry and relevant organisations to explore the application of "Blockchain" technology in the financial services industry, with a view to developing its potential to reduce suspicious transactions and bring down transaction costs. The Cyberport will provide training to the industry through its incubation programme to promote relevant technologies for developing more services and products.