Hong Kong’s Financial Resilience and Fintech Opportunities Highlighted at Asian Financial Forum

Hong Kong’s Financial Resilience and Fintech Opportunities Highlighted at Asian Financial Forum

Asian Financial Forum Pitchathon

Chief Executive John Lee recently emphasized the importance of increased international cooperation at the Asian Financial Forum, addressing over 3,000 participants. In the face of escalating deglobalization and decoupling trends, Lee highlighted how Hong Kong has been fortifying its financial ties with the mainland while simultaneously enhancing its appeal to international firms.

Lee stressed that the fragmentation of international markets could pose significant risks to the global financial system, leading to higher costs, reduced market liquidity, and overall instability. Under the “one country, two systems” principle, Hong Kong aims to serve as a vital link between the mainland and international financial markets.

Highlighting the success of the Stock Connect program, which added over 1,000 stocks from Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges last year, Lee explained that this initiative attracts international corporations to list in Hong Kong, boosting the region’s competitiveness. The total market capitalization of companies listed in Hong Kong reached $4 trillion last year, underlining its status as a major global listing platform.

The Asian Financial Forum, spanning two days, showcased around 400 investment projects to approximately 200 investors. Among the startups seeking funding was Finland-based fintech firm Qatalis, specializing in cybersecurity. Qatalis sees Hong Kong as a strategic choice for its new operation. Hong Kong, being a significant financial hub, presents a substantial market for Qatalis to target around 10,000 customers and a 50 million euro investment.

Qatalis representative Jari Vepsäläinen

Qatalis representative Jari Vepsäläinen mentioned the company’s focus on cybersecurity and its transition from human to digital interfaces. He sees Hong Kong as an ideal launchpad for Qatalis to introduce new technologies to the world market, emphasizing the region’s significance in data security.

Addressing the market outlook in Hong Kong and China, Vepsäläinen acknowledged the rapid development of cybersecurity in the region, particularly in countering fake news and protecting companies from ransom attacks.

Vepsäläinen also highlighted the differences between the Hong Kong and the Western market, emphasizing Hong Kong’s size and importance within the broader Asian market. He expressed optimism about the growth potential in Hong Kong, citing its favourable environment for technology development and collaboration.

When asked about the current state of Hong Kong’s data security industry, Vepsäläinen noted the increasing relevance of European expertise in data protection, especially from northern Europe, to address the evolving regulatory landscape in Hong Kong and China. Qatalis aims to contribute to the professional handling of cybersecurity challenges in the region, including protecting data centres and critical infrastructure from potential cyber threats. The company plans to bring European expertise to Hong Kong, expanding its influence to other countries in the region, for example, Malaysia and Indonesia, recognizing the importance of safeguarding data centres and critical infrastructure professionally.