Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung kin-chung said in the Financial Interactive Theater 2018 that virtual banking licenses will be available at the end of this year at the earliest.
He said the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, aiming to move the SAR to a new era of smart banking, is encouraging local financial institutions and foreign fintech companies to set up a virtual bank to facilitate Hong Kong fintech development. And since September last year, up to 50 companies have inquired about a virtual banking license, Cheung added.
HKMA's chief fintech officer Nelson Chow said the Faster Payment System has proceeded smoothly and more details will be unveiled this month. He also hoped the newest payment systems are coming
Clara Chiu Ka-lai, director of the Securities and Futures Commission, said the SFC is neutral to fintech development, and continues to keep an eye on Hong Kong's financial market and investors' interest.
Chow said the market scale is not an obstacle to Hong Kong's fintech development, and believes that when the local fintech market becomes mature, more companies will lured into coming here.
Meanwhile, the HKMA also signed a co-operation agreement last week with the Central Bank of Brazil to enhance collaboration of the two central banks' fintech issues.
HKMA and seven banks, including BOC Hong Kong (2388), and Hang Seng Bank (0011), plan to launch a blockchain trade finance platform this month.