Hong Kong, as an international financial center, is well positioned to play an important role in building the Greater Bay Area (GBA), said Jessica Tan, co-CEO of Ping An Insurance.
Tan, speaking at Hong Kong Fintech Week last week, said that realizing the full potential of the GBA, integrating Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, means overcoming three key challenges.
These challenges include dealing with multiple regulatory jurisdictions, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that stimulate cross-border trade, and fostering the flow of skills and talents.
“The GBA is a huge and exciting field. I really hope we can take advantage of it, especially Hong Kong as an international financial center, ”she said.
She further explained that in the three jurisdictions of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, there are several government departments, each with their own standards and procedures.
Technologies, such as blockchain, can be used to create interoperable standards, allowing data to be shared between different systems for transactions in areas such as supply chain, trade finance, and healthcare.
“Hong Kong could actually take the lead as it is one of the international hubs to create such a platform to consolidate Hong Kong’s various government data,” she noted.
OneConnect Group associate company provided the technology for an SME platform launched in Guangdong Province to solve the “difficult, expensive and slow financing” problems of SMEs.
Businesses recorded their assets, liabilities and transactions in real time with a wide range of government departments and could more easily access credit from banks and other financial institutions.
Today, the platform has served over one million SMEs and distributed over 68 billion RMB in loans. More than half of the exchanges within the ACS come from SMEs.
Tan said, “In reality, much of the economic activity is not only carried out by large multinationals, but by SMEs. SMEs do not yet have the capacity to operate transparently across the region.
“They need help reducing the cost of doing business. This is where financial services can play a role.
Ping An OneConnect Bank (PAOB) focuses on supporting SMEs. Capitalizing on the technological prowess of the Ping An Group, the Bank offers smart and online cross-border financial products and services to investors in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Of its clients, 25% have never borrowed from a bank before, and of the 75% who have, 60% of them have never had unsecured loans.
PAOB streamlines its loan process with a risk model based on trade and other data, making the application process as short as a few days, from one to two months. PAOB’s average unsecured loan facility is now HKD 1.7 million.
Third, the GBA needs a cross-border flow of skills, including individuals and small fintech companies, Tan said.
Ping An is launching an internship program to give young professionals in financial services and technology a cross-border work experience.
It also has an incubator accelerator for small fintech businesses, OneConnect’s Gamma O platform, to give fintech start-ups access to cutting-edge technologies, such as open application programming interfaces applying big data and artificial intelligence, and the possibility of producing their own innovative solutions for financial institutions using the platform.