Seeking to ensure compliance quality and prevent fraudulent transactions, a number of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data companies have sprouted up in Asia to help financial firms sift through massive and endless flows of data and convert them into useful information. Many of these fintech players have looked to the Asian financial hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore as an ideal base of operations due to their financial services infrastructure and business-friendly environment.
According to a recent survey of AI firms in Asia by the Fintech Association of Hong Kong (FTAHK), around 75% of respondents cited Hong Kong as their headquarters while 70% regarded Hong Kong as their top market.
Despite the current market uncertainties, the majority (80%) of firms surveyed by the FTAHK indicated that they were looking to increase their headcount, especially for software engineering and product management roles.
Though sentiment is still positive on Hong Kong’s role as an AI and big data financial services hub, there are several issues facing firms based in the city. The lack of quality talent familiar with AI and big data processes continues to be a major one with close to 40% of respondents indicating that this is something the government should address.
Compared to regional rival Singapore, Hong Kong slightly lags behind in terms of available talent with adequate AI and big data knowledge. A report commissioned by the Hong Kong Institute for Monetary and Financial Research (HKIMR) finds that 13% of Singapore’s financial services sector have AI and big data analytics skills versus 9% for Hong Kong.
Looking to address this talent pool issue, the Hong Kong government has taken a proactive effort in nurturing local talent. “To grow the domestic innovation and technology talent pool, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) has rolled out projects aimed at nurturing relevant talent in collaboration with the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, the largest publicly funded applied R&D institute in Hong Kong, as well as with other partners,” states the HKIMR report.
Nevertheless, the future looks bright for Hong Kong’s AI and big data sector as financial firms are willing to work alongside fintech players to improve their financial processes and ultimately safeguard their operations.