Tag Archives: blockchain

Blockchain could boost fintech in HK, but city is lagging

The pandemic had shown ways in which blockchain technology could be beneficial for Hong Kong positioning itself as a hub for decentralized finance (DeFi) in the Greater Bay Area, an SCMP conference heard last week. Unfortunately, however, the city was also seen to be lagging in the field.

Lucy Gazmararian, founder and managing partner of Token Bay Capital, an early-stage venture fund for digital assets and blockchain, said that blockchain’s operational efficiencies would allow a levelling of the playing field in financial services, which would in turn boost innovation across the region. However, she said, Hong Kong’s finance industry is “lagging behind the pace of innovation” and making it “fit for a digital economy” will require a radical shift.

Other speakers at the conference suggested blockchain technology could be useful for banks in verifying documentation for cross-border applications, and even in the fight against climate change.

More on SCMP

In another event at the same conference, speakers lamented the fact that low public trust in the Hong Kong government had held back its smart city initiatives, citing the Leave Home Safe app as a prime example.

One speaker said better communication was needed, citing the example of the benefits to be gained from 5G systems that were poorly understood by the public. “We need to think of how to let them get involved with technologies,” said Gary Yeung, president of the Smart City Consortium.

More on SCMP

GBA Briefs: 02/01

Bay-to-Bay? Various sources in San Francisco have a dim view of so-called Bay-to-Bay exchanges between the Bay Area and the Greater Bay Area. Mostly, these exchanges seem to be a case of Lost in Translation. Read more on SCMP.

Guangzhou keeps up: The provincial capital has a five-year plan for social housing, which involves giving a big chunk of it (10%) rent-free to qualified “talents”. Read more (in Chinese)

Blockchain tracks: The Shenzhen Stock Exchange has released a “Blockchain 50” index. No guesses as to what it tracks. Read more (in Chinese)

Blockchain ETF: A Shenzhen-based fund, Penghua, could be the first to list a blockchain ETF. Read more on Technode

Blockchain rolls: Guangzhou Metro has issued the first blockchain-based invoice by a metro system in China. Read more (in Chinese)

Foshan tapped: The central government has approved another 24 cities to be “pilot zones” for cross-border e-commerce, including Foshan. Read more (in Chinese)

Shenzhen forum mulls future of finance in GBA

The Greater Bay Area has a unique opportunity to create new methods of financing industrial growth, a high-powered forum in Shenzhen heard last week.

When Chinese hi-tech firms see difficulties in raising money through traditional methods, the future is there for GBA cities to create efficient financing infrastructure that can support money-burning, fast-developing startups. However, Hong Kong, the world’s No. 1 IPO market, is not doing a good enough job in this regard.

So said Ba Shusong, chief economist at China Banking Association and HKEX, at a conference discussing innovation in the GBA, held by Guangdong’s leading media group on Thursday.

Continue reading Shenzhen forum mulls future of finance in GBA

Guangzhou sees future in blockchain

The provincial capital is not often thought of as a financial center. It doesn’t have a stock exchange of its own, and financial services comprise less than one-tenth of GDP. This contrasts with Hong Kong and Shenzhen, where financial services contribute roughly twice as much (19%-20%) to GDP. Guangzhou, instead, has traditionally been known as an industrial powerhouse, dominated by state-owned enterprises in heavy industries and SMEs in export-oriented manufacturing.

Yet Guangzhou’s ambitions for developing financial services should not be underestimated. This is especially as the Nansha special economic zone is built out in the coming years (see our primer on Nansha, and its World Financial Island in Hengli). That is where a GBA International Bank is being built, and where a new Futures Exchange will be launched, initially trading carbon credits.  

Indeed, Guangzhou is showing that a city doesn’t need to have a stock exchange to make its financial sector go. And with the rise of fintech, it remains to be seen how the entire industry will be shaken up to the point where traditional financial institutions and trading platforms will matter less than they do now.

Continue reading Guangzhou sees future in blockchain

Services pumping in hi-tech Guangzhou

More detail is dribbling out in local media after Guangzhou reported strong GDP numbers last week. One of the clear standouts was growth in the services sector, especially the so-called “modern services industry”, which is dominated by software and other IT-related services.

Although the city is often thought of as a bastion of heavy industry and manufacturing, while Shenzhen is usually described as the “tech hub”, Guangzhou’s economy is increasingly being driven by software and other IT-related services. According to official data, this sector accounted for 68.6% of Guangzhou’s GDP in the first three quarters, an increase of 0.1% over the first half of the year. Its added-value was up 15.5% YoY.

Continue reading Services pumping in hi-tech Guangzhou

IBM innovation center opens at HKSTP

IBM announced that it has opened an Innovation Center in the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park. The center will connect the company’s global research and development resources to the city, and enable collaboration and co-innovation with partners, clients, government and academia.

It aims to enable digital reinvention of five major industries, including: banking and financial services; insurance; retail, distribution and trading; manufacturing; and travel and transportation. Areas of innovation will focus on Fintech, InsurTech, Smart Retail, IoT, Video Analytics, Blockchain, AI and robotics, among others.

The Center is designed as a studio setting to facilitate design thinking workshops or Garage methodologies for ideation and co-creation, as well as realization of concepts.

Read more.

Guangzhou to build Internet Court for the GBA

It had to happen: Guangzhou is taking the lead in mapping out a Five-Year Plan for the development of a Court of the Internet in the Greater Bay Area.

An Internet Court is exactly what it sounds like. Its establishment in Guangzhou should come as no surprise to anyone employed outside of the ancient, tradition-bound, wig-wearing world of Hong Kong’s judicial community. With the rise of digital technologies on the mainland, especially facial-recognition algorithms, the ability to conduct legal proceedings in remote locations via online video feeds should be possible. Which is why Guangzhou has taken the lead and established a Court of the Internet which will start having hearings, hopefully cross-border hearings, within the next five years.

Picture this: The plaintiff and defendant are in different locations, logging into the court room after having passed an identity-verification process. The court room is just like any other video-based chat room on Skype, Whatsapp or WeChat. There is a judge present, but no public gallery. The live broadcast of the whole process is publicly accessible on mobile phones.

Moreover, evidence can now be more efficiently submitted to the court. Screenshots and screen-recordings admitted in a traditional court would have to undergo a series of authentication processes. In the Internet Court, a centralized electronic evidence management platform will be accessible, which could be used to retrieve data instantaneously online that has already been verified – think about goods that have been bought through Alibaba, transaction records from WeChat Pay, etc. Oh, and yes, there is blockchain technology layered on top of all this, to ensure that sources of evidence and trial processes are traceable, and court rulings are credible – they cannot be manipulated on a centralized server.

There is a long way to go, obviously. According to the five-year plan, the GBA Internet Court will “combine more judicial technology application scenarios and innovation to explore and broaden the scope of online-based judicial cases”.

Justice is coming to a chat room near you, sooner than you think.

Read more (in Chinese).

Foshan launches blockchain-based vaccine platform

Foshan’s Chancheng district has officially launched a “blockchain based vaccine safety management platform”, the first of its kind in Guangdong. Once implemented, all 750,000 doses of vaccine in the district will be under “full supervision”, from production to cold chain transportation, warehousing, circulation, reservation, vaccination and post-injection follow-up.

According to the Foshan Health Bureau, the platform will strengthen supervision of healthcare practitioners while offering convenience to patients. With the blockchain technology, a tracking code will be given to each vaccine and each of its movements from the factory to the warehouse to the clinic will be duly recorded, monitored and shared in real-time, via mobile devices. Prospective patients will be able to make appointments and submit enquiries online.

Read more (in Chinese).