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Hong Kong or Singapore: Who Reigns Supreme in Today’s FinTech Space?

23 February 2017

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In the battle for precedence over APAC’s valuable FinTech arena, a war quietly wages between Hong Kong and Singapore. Traditionally, each region has faced similar regulatory struggles, threatening commercial investment from abroad and the wider economy. It is unsurprising then that action has recently been taken in both Hong Kong and Singapore to correct the issues affecting this otherwise promising industry. The question is, who has achieved greater success thus far?

Long-known as China’s financial hub, Hong Kong has a heritage of strength and vitality in this sector, while Singapore has utilised its modern perspective to provide a fresh offering. Yet when Hong Kong and Singapore faced equal resistance setting up crowdfunding platforms, peer-to-peer lending operations and payment firms, it was Singapore that created a controlled environment in which finance products could be tested without issue. This marked the first move in the fight for control, and led to over 200 FinTech start-ups choosing Singapore as their point of origin in just two years.

Not to be discouraged, Hong Kong soon followed suit, also implementing a controlled environment for product testing, alongside soft regulation and state funding measures. Thanks to its historically good reputation, Hong Kong gained the upper hand, with investment in Singapore waning in favour of the more conventional state. Resulting figures showed triple the buy-in than that of Singapore – a number that encouraged renowned organisations like MIT to commission overseas centres in Hong Kong.

Where Hong Kong hasn’t been able to compete is on the matter of market entry. Singapore has demonstrated a uniquely open market, with Singapore’s leading financial body, MAS, instigating lower barriers than those of its Hong Kong equivalent, HKMA. Where Hong Kong has delivered an attractive proposition for today’s FinTech companies, Singaporean policy focuses more on the future of the sector, with a platform designed to drive business over the long-term.

For now, the contest appears to be neck and neck, but with the way the market is growing, we’re sure 2017 will offer a clear decider. To learn more about the latest trends in APAC FinTech, please contact OJ Tech on +852 5804 9070.

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