How the coronavirus is turbocharging Hong Kong’s fintech revolution
- Forced to adapt quickly, Hong Kong’s banking and financial services industry has hastened its adoption of digital transformation and AI in the name of survival, supported by a rapidly evolving regulatory environment
Covid-19 has changed consumer behaviour forever and Hong Kong’s banking and financial services industry urgently needs to adapt. Digital transformation with artificial intelligence has quickly become the top priority for those not wanting to be left behind.
The pandemic has prompted a struggle for business survival, forcing innovation and digital transformation as many businesses suddenly found themselves at a loss without their physical sales and distribution channels.
With Covid-19, chief experience officers have reprioritised their digital transformation plans and shortened timelines. Companies which already have chatbots and RPA systems are making them more sophisticated.
Because of Covid-19, companies are also rushing to offer more fully digital products, with no human intervention. These require extensive AI use to personalise the products and services offered, automate underwriting and scoring/rating, and generate dynamic and personalised pricing and content. We will probably also see more chatbots used in support and servicing, invoking associated processes with RPA, in transactions such as claims processing.
There will also be increased AI use in digital marketing and customer acquisition. With the enormous data available, AI can perform big data-driven marketing campaigns that pinpoint the right products to offer to the right persons at the right prices and time in their life.
Hong Kong is also advancing rapidly in the understanding and governance of AI ethics and related issues. Last year, the Monetary Authority released guidelines and principles relating to AI and governance, accountability, fairness, transparency, data privacy, etc. The Securities and Futures Commissions has also issued guidelines on the use of AI algorithms and robo-advisers. In 2018, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data released the document “Ethical Accountability Framework for Hong Kong”. Much groundwork has been established but more work remains as this area of AI development evolves globally.
This pandemic experience will transform Hong Kong’s financial services industry permanently and push digital transformation and AI. As a leading financial centre, Hong Kong has taken aggressive advantage of new technologies. Covid-19 has made this digital transformation and AI more of a necessity for many companies.
Andy Chun is an adjunct professor at City University of Hong Kong and council member and convenor of the AI Specialist Group at Hong Kong Computer Society