Search giant Baidu launches fintech incubator in Hong Kong with Standard Chartered, TusPark Global to open gateway to China
Standard Chartered Bank has teamed up with Chinese online search giant Baidu and co-working space operator TusPark Global Network to launch an international start-up accelerator programme in Hong Kong focused on financial technology.
"Hong Kong's vibrant international financial ecosystem as well as strategic location as a gateway to China ... makes it the perfect place to co-create the future of financial services," Ericson Chan, the regional information officer for Standard Chartered Greater China and North Asia operations, said on Tuesday.
Chan touted the "SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator" as the first programme of its kind in Hong Kong to be established by major partners in the fields of banking, internet technology and financial technology innovation.
The initiative also marks a new milestone in Hong Kong's efforts to build up its credentials in financial technology innovation. It has been a busy year so far in the city as it earlier welcomed separate financial technology accelerator programmes led by global management consulting firm Accenture and a dozen financial institutions, New York-based Citibank, and DBS Bank (Hong Kong) with local venture capitalist Nest.
With increasing pressure to boost growth and cut costs, many large banks are seeking to engage with promising ventures that offer technologies designed to improve efficiency in their industry.
"Hong Kong is fast becoming the fintech hub of Asia," said Egidio Zarrella, the clients and innovation partner at professional services firm KPMG China.
Zarrella said there are more financial technology ventures now being set up in Hong Kong by both local and foreign entrepreneurs.
That trend is expected to continue with the SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator, which has started accepting applications on Tuesday. Applications will close on November 20.
According to Standard Chartered, experts from the bank, Baidu and TusPark Global Network will conduct a roadshow this month to encourage participation from entrepreneurs in other major cities, including Beijing, Singapore, Tel Aviv, London and New York.
Selected participants will see the programme commence on January 11 at TusPark Global Network’s nine-storey, dedicated fintech innovation co-working space in Hong Kong's Kwun Tong.
They will have a structured curriculum and receive mentoring from Baidu’s technologists, Standard Chartered bankers as well as venture capitalists and industry experts to refine their business model, develop market entry strategies, navigate the regulatory landscape and identify opportunities for joint ventures.
Simon Galpin, the director-general of investment promotion for Invest Hong Kong, said in July that there were 74 new financial technology ventures set up in the city and that number could be topped this year because of the various accelerator programmes now operating here.
Accenture has estimated that global investments in financial technology ventures tripled to US$12.2 billion last year, up from US$4.05 billion in 2013.
Investments in Asia-Pacific financial technology ventures have also grown to US$767 million last year, from US$245 million in 2013.