2019 Singapore Fintech Festival, a global fintech event organized by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), in partnership with the Association of Banks in Singapore, and sponsored by AMTD Group, Deloitte and Prudential, was successfully held from November 11th to November 15th. This Fintech Festival attracted over 60,000 government officials, representatives of regulatory agencies, representatives of financial institutions, technology innovation companies, and institutional investors from more than 100 countries around the world to gather in Singapore, and to discuss technological innovation and development. Singapore Fintech Festival is the largest and most attended global fintech event in the world. AMTD Group has been the biggest supporter and grand sponsor to the Singapore Fintech Festival for three consecutive years.

On November 11th, at AMTD Innovation Lab during the Singapore Fintech Festival, Michelle Li, Head of Research Department, hosted the panel discussion on “Greater Bay Opportunities to Watch and the Connectivity with SEA”. Dr. Frederic Lau, Vice Chairman of AMTD Group and Chief Executive of Airstar Bank, Prof. Timothy Tong, CEO of AMTD Foundation and Chairman of Hong Kong Laureate Forum and Former President of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Tim Fang, Head of Global Markets of AMTD, delved into this topic.

Michelle Li, Head of Research Department of AMTD Group, firstly pointed out that the Greater Bay Area includes nine cities in the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong province, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR, with a total area of 56,000 square kilometers, the resident population of about 70 million and GDP of more than 10 trillion RMB. The market potential is not less than the world’s three great bay areas in New York, San Francisco and Tokyo. Michelle started the discussion by inviting panelists to discuss the future development direction of financial services industry in the Greater Bay Area, and opportunities financial institutions can take in the potential market within the Greater Bay Area.

Prof. Timothy Tong, CEO of AMTD Foundation and Chairman of Hong Kong Laureate Forum and Former President of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, focused on talent cultivation for the Fintech industry in the Greater Bay Area. Fintech, he said, is still a new field for academics, so there are few schools providing Fintech education. The entire development in the Greater Bay Area will further increase the demand for Fintech education. For example, the different financial compliance requirements among the cities in the Greater Bay Area will create a demand for cultivating relevant talents in the field. Prof. Tong further pointed out that AMTD Foundation has been supporting Fintech and financial development in the past few years. AMTD FinTech Center of PolyU, co-founded by AMTD Group, AMTD Foundation and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and its Doctor of FinTech program are designed to be the driving force for talent cultivation in the Fintech industry.

Dr. Frederic Lau, Vice Chairman of AMTD Group and Chief Executive of Airstar Bank, combined the GBA theme with Fintech to further discuss the opportunities and values that virtual banks can explore in the Greater Bay Area. He pointed out that the current financial institutions in Hong Kong mainly serve high net worth individuals and large enterprises, and there are still room for improvement in the quality of services for customers with less personal assets or small and medium-sized enterprises. Virtual banks operate year-round, allowing customers to open accounts at any time and perform any banking operations with the convenience that traditional banks could not provide in the past. In addition, under the circumstance that the insufficient credit granting record leading to high capital cost of SMEs, virtual banks have greater chances to provide better services for these customers and further advance towards the goal of financial inclusion.

Tim Fang, Head of Global Markets of AMTD Group, indicated that to truly realize the Greater Bay Area’s values, cities in the region need to develop their own advantages. For example, Shenzhen, as the cradle of technology and start-ups, provides the best support for the development of science and technology in the Greater Bay Area; Hong Kong, as the connection of the Chinese markets and international financial markets, helps regional enterprises get access to international capital for further business expansion and owns the opportunity to link those enterprises with the international markets, especially Southeast Asia, where financial services is still underdeveloped and the unbanked population remains high. If the innovative development in Fintech industry in Shenzhen and Hong Kong’s experience in financial markets within the Greater Bay Area can be introduced into the Southeast Asian market, it will create opportunities to help improve the quality and coverage of financial services in Southeast Asia. With deep foundation in Asia and unique “AMTD SpiderNet”, AMTD Group connects customers, business partners, invested companies and investors, and builds an energizing, collaborative and cooperative platform. Therefore, AMTD Group will naturally play a key role in connecting the Greater Bay Area and the Southeast Asian markets.

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