By Wichit Chaitrong
Also of interest to business visitors to the city is Hong Kong Cyberport, which offers startup ventures from any country services for business incubation, funding and networking.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) on Friday kicked off Asia’s largest Spring Electronics and ICT Fairs, which will run until Monday, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The HKTDC says more than 3,500 exhibitors from 25 countries and regions have been taking part in the two trade fairs.
Exhibitors have been showing off their hi-tech products, including those featuring advanced robotics and virtual reality, as well as wearable electronics and Internet of Thing (IOT) offerings.
Regulators, non-profit organisations and startups also are presenting their views and new services to visitors.
“Hong Kong Cyberport offers fintech startups or any entrepreneurs from any country training, financial assistance and business networking globally,” Charles Lam, the financial technology lead at HK Cyberport Management Limited, said at a seminar entitled “Cultivating Fintech Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Hong Kong”.
HK Cyberport is a creative digital community to committed to nurturing technology startups and entrepreneurs, fostering collaboration and business opportunities, and accelerating digital adoption through strategic initiatives and partnerships, Lam said.
He said some 1,200 companies have joined HK Cyberport, including a number of Thai startup companies. One Thai firm has developed a robotics-based financial adviser application, he said.
Cyberport provides initial financial support starting from a small amount of seed funding of HK$100,000 to co-investment up to HK$200 million.
Each year, it chooses 100 entrepreneurs from thousand of applicants for business incubation, Lam said. They come from all over the world, with those from Russia and Israel prominent recently.
Now, Cyberport has begun focussing on supporting fintech startups, Lam said.
Among them is Velotrade, which provides a marketplace for small businesses needing cash and investors looking for investment opportunities in financing small exporters.
Christine Chow, associate of international trade at Velotrade, said that the Velotrade platform allows small exporters and institutional investors to meet and help each other through the trade receivables market.
An exporter who is waiting for payment after selling products to an overseas counterpart can use the platform to submit his invoice and then request advance payment from any investor, Chow said.
An investor can bid for the invoice and, if he wins, will first pay 80 per cent of the invoice amount to the exporter and the rest will be paid after overseas buyer pays the full amount of that invoice.
Currently, Chow’s business operates only in Hong Kong and she plans to expand into mainland China.
The global market for discounted receivables is very large and growing fast, she said, referring to an estimated global market worth of US$3 trillion in 2016. The Chinese market was estimated to be worth US$400 billion for that year. Chow points out the opportunities in this market as many Asian economies are driven by exports.
Wilson Kwok, founder of the Institute of Financial Technologies of Asia (IFTA), said his institution has just opened an online course in fintech education in order to establish ethical standard among market participants.
He said fintech is evolving rapidly and education is trying to catch up with it. He plans to promote fintech education in Thailand and other Asean countries.
The course also aims to assist people to access fintech professionals and local fintech requirements, Kwok added.