Hong Kong is accelerating its drive to be Southeast Asia’s Web3 powerhouse after onboarding over 150 Web3 startups in one of its innovation and technology ecosystems.
Paul Chan, Hong Kong’s financial secretary, confirmed in a blog post the successes of the current administration in improving the region’s digital economy.
The startups are housed in Cyberport, Hong Kong’s flagship tech ecosystem designed to accelerate the growth of enterprises building with innovative technologies. In his post, Chan confirmed that Cyberport is home to over 1,900 firms, six of which are unicorns with several listings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Chan said one of the firms in Cyberport’s ecosystem attained the feat of becoming one of the earliest virtual asset service providers (VASPs) to receive licensing from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). The finance secretary confirmed the approval of CNY50 million (US$7 million) to speed up the development of Web3 in Cyberport.
“In the past year, Cyberport has accumulated more than 150 related companies, which I believe will bring more research and development application innovation to this department,” said Chan.
Leading Web3 firms in Cyberport include digital currency exchange Hashkey Group, ConsenSys, and Web3 VC firm Animoca Brands. Given the emphasis on research and development, experts believe several Web3 service providers may set up operations in the ecosystem, with Chan confirming discussions with the companies.
The companies are seeking clarity on the property situation, depth of talent supply in Hong Kong, and the state of cross-border data flow before deciding to pitch their tents in the region.
Chan disclosed that interested firms would have a range of options for their property needs ranging from Cyberport, Xintian Science and Technology City, and the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Science and Technology Park. He confirmed the existence of several local schemes to deepen the region’s talent pool and others via global immigration.
Stars aligning for Hong Kong
Things are falling into place for Hong Kong’s quest to be the leading Web3 hub in the region, underscored by a recent move approving retail investors to dabble in digital currencies on approved exchanges.
The move follows assurances by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) that interested firms will receive the full cooperation of the banking industry to ensure seamless onboarding in the industry.
Chinese banks have also indicated a desire to offer banking services to incoming Web3 firms in Hong Kong despite the pervading digital currency ban in mainland China.
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