This is one of a series looking at the Fintech scene in different cities around the world, based on the idea that “bits don’t stop at borders, but money has to show its passport”. Last week I was in Zurich (in person). This week I travelled virtually to Hong Kong.
Within Europe, London is the magnet. There are plenty of interesting Fintech ventures in Zurich, Frankfurt, Paris, Geneva and other European cities, but London is the biggest.
America has two Fintech innovation magnets – New York and Silicon Valley.
The question is which Asian City will be the magnet? It could be Hong Kong. Or it could be Singapore.
Hong Kong ticks a lot of boxes:
– light regulatory and tax regime
– close to China (which is now officially a bigger economy than the USA as per IMF)
– a strong financial services industry.
Accenture has set up their Asian FinTech Innovation Lab in Hong Kong, so I took a look at the 8 companies in their current batch:
- Advanced Merchant Payments
- Bejing Wecash Wonder Technology
- I Think Security
- ID Gate
- Jocata Financial Advisory & Technology Services
It is no surprise to see startups drawn to Hong Kong from Taiwan and Beijing. I also saw startups from Australia, which like New Zealand know they that have to go where the investors and customers are. I saw one startup from India, which is more naturally drawn to Singapore (which has its own ambitions as an innovation hub). It was one startup from Canada that caught my eye, because it was interesting that they would choose an accelerator in Asia rather than one in their southern neighbor.
I then looked to see if the types of startups were different from what I am seeing coming from Europe and America. The categories were not any different, indicating that this a global market and the needs are fundamentally the same. I did not see any obviously local or regional plays. The categories that the 8 startups fell into are:
- Institutional Trading
- SMB Lending (2 startups)
- Cloud Security
- Consumer Lending (credit scoring)
- Wealth Management
- KYC/AML Compliance