Press Releases in Hong Kong

HKMA studying issuance of digital currency for retail use

A staff member of the Bank of Communications guides a customer on opening a digital RMB wallet on a mobile phone in Beijing on June 16, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is studying the prospect of issuing a central bank digital currency for retail use in Hong Kong, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said on Wednesday.

Chan made his remarks on the first day of the Hong Kong FinTech Week 2021 conference. The event will be at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre for two days and be online-only on Friday.

The HKSAR government is working with authorities on the Chinese mainland to help the local fintech industry seize far-reaching opportunities emerging in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, finance chief Paul Chan said

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is working with authorities on the Chinese mainland to help the local fintech industry seize far-reaching opportunities emerging in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, he said.

READ MORE: Digital yuan good for HK's international financial hub status

Just two weeks ago, the HKMA and the People’s Bank of China signed a Memorandum of understanding on the Greater Bay Area’s Fintech Innovation Supervisory Cooperation. Chan said this will allow financial institutions, tech companies and innovators from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong to test cross-border fintech applications via a one-stop sandbox.

As it works to develop fintech talent, Hong Kong has doubled the annual quota for the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme to 4,000, Chan said. “This scheme, of course, includes fintech professionals,” he added.

The forum also discussed the importance of digitalization in the fintech industry. Joe Tsai, co-founder and executive vice-chairman of Alibaba Group, said at the forum that digitization is no longer a luxury — it is a necessity. He identified two important trends in fintech — reaching the customer directly, and using data in decision-making.

Tsai joined online at a discussion moderated by Hong Kong Monetary Authority Chief Executive Eddie Yue Wai-man.

ALSO READ: HK a step closer to digital currency

For a manufacturer or a distributor, “getting close to your customer and understanding the need is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity to digitize your operations. That’s a big trend,” Tsai said. He said companies realize they need to understand their customers better.

“This means that the data that companies need to collect has exploded. People are trying to shorten the distance between manufacturing and the end customer. This trend drives the movement towards digitization of business.”

The other big trend is that “management says, we got to use data to drive decision-making.”

Tsai said the need to digitize operations related to the customer and internally in a company has “become very important.”

bandara@chinadailyhk.com