Hong Kong - Country Commercial Guide
Finance & Fintech

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-01-20

Overview

 

2018 
 

2019

2020

(estimated)

2021

(estimated)

Total Exports 

21,614,276

27,294,357

30,269,442

26,392,658

Total Imports 

5,423,036

6,402,987

7,363,435

6,396,486

Imports from the U.S. 

1,041,870

682,864

717,007

813,913

Exports to the U.S.  

3,989,231

3,598,775

3,695,942

3,761,316

Units: USD Thousand

Data Source: Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong SAR Government

Hong Kong is one of the world’s leading international finance centers and has one of the world’s most active and liquid securities markets. There is no control over capital movement, no capital gains and dividend income tax. Owing to its robust financial infrastructure and well-regarded legal system, Hong Kong serves as a springboard for foreign firms seeking access to Mainland China and for Mainland companies going global. Hong Kong hosts the largest pool of RMB liquidity outside Mainland China.  

The financial services sector remains one of the most important economic pillars and accounting for 21.3 percent of the city’s GDP. Hong Kong’s stock market was the 3rd largest in Asia and 5th largest in the world in terms of market capitalization at the end of December 2020.  With over 160 licensed banks and 8 virtual banks, Hong Kong remains a vibrant financial center. 

Leading Sub-Sectors

Fintech: Hong Kong is an advanced city with high penetration of mobile phone usage and internet accessibility, which provides a good platform for Hong Kong’s fintech ecosystem. According to Invest Hong Kong, there are over 600 fintech companies and startups operating in Hong Kong. In addition, 86 percent of local banks have adopted or plan to adopt fintech solution across all financial services. The city was ranked in the top 5 among the world’s developed markets for consumer fintech adoption. Over 1.1 billion USD of venture capital has been raised by Hong Kong fintech companies since 2014.  Some of the best fintech prospects in Hong Kong include digital payments, securities settlement, electronic Know Your Customer (KYC) and digital identification utilities, wealthtech, insurtech, data analytics, blockchain, and regtech.

The Hong Kong government aims to push Hong Kong’s status as a financial center, with fintech as a key subsector will be targeted as a key sector to invest in.  The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has identified seven areas of focus as shown below:

7 Smat Banking Initiatives
7 Smart Banking Initiatives

The Fintech Supervisory Sandbox (FSS), launched by the HKMA in September 2016, allows banks and their partnering technology firms to conduct pilot trials of their fintech initiatives involving a limited number of participating customers without the need to achieve full compliance with the HKMA’s supervisory requirements. This arrangement enables banks and tech firms to gather data and user feedback so that they can make refinements to their new initiatives, thereby expediting the launch of new technology products, and reducing the development cost. On 1 February 2019, the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), a group of 29 international organizations including the HKMA, invited applications from firms wishing to test innovative financial products, services or business models across more than one jurisdiction. 

Regtech: The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has developed a two-year roadmap to promote regtech adoption in the Hong Kong banking sector. The objective is to drive local banks to explore the use of technology to enhance risk management and compliance. To facilitate the adoption, the HKMA will roll out a series of events and initiatives in the coming two years, including: 

  • Hosting a large-scale event to raise the banking sector’s awareness of the potential of regtech. 
  • Attract global regtech firms to develop and showcase solutions for common problem statements by hosting a regtech challenge, which concluded in mid-2021. 
  • Encourage cross-border regtech collaboration via targeted outreach.
  • Create an environment conducive to international regtech implementation by continuing to engage regulators in other jurisdictions. 

Each year the U.S. Commercial Service in Hong Kong attends two annual flagship finance and fintech events: Hong Kong Fintech Week and the Asian Financial Forum. These two events provide a great opportunity for U.S. fintech companies to network with key leaders in Hong Kong and in many other countries.

Wealth and Asset Management: The Wealth Management Connect program is a recently announced government-led initiative between Hong Kong, Macau, and the nine provincial cities in Guangdong known collectively as the Greater Bay Area (GBA).  The program allows mainland Chinese investors domiciled in the GBA to invest in approved wealth management products in Hong Kong and Macau, and allows foreign investors to tap financial products sold in China via the two cities.  The Wealth Management Connect initiative gives Hong Kong’s asset managers access to a market of 70 million people, 10 times the size of Hong Kong.  Major financial institutions are actively growing their workforce to support the anticipated growth in this area.

Professional Services Connected to Finance:  Hong Kong’s status as a financial and professional center offers opportunities for U.S. professional services companies to expand into the market and beyond.  These include legal services, accounting, consulting, human resources management, and financial advisory services. 

Resources

Trade Shows

Hong Kong Fintech Week 2021

Dates: November 1 – November 5, 2021

Venues: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre & Online (Hybrid Mode)

 

Hong Kong Asian Financial Forum

Dates: January 10 - 11, 2022

Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center

 

Government Departments:

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Securities and Futures Commission

Insurance Authority

Invest Hong Kong

Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau

Financial Services Development Council

Trade Associations:

  • Hong Kong Venture Capital & Private Equity Association
  • Hong Kong Institute of Bankers
  • Alternative Investment Management Association
  • Fintech Association of Hong Kong

For more information about this industry sector, please contact:

U.S. Commercial Service, Hong Kong

Joanna Lam, Commercial Specialist

Email: joanna.lam@trade.gov