The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) has unveiled its plan to put greater focus on regional collaboration in terms of FinTech research and development, saying that funding for FinTech projects will exceed HK$200 million ($25.7 million) in the coming three years.
ASTRI chairman Wong Ming-yam said that in order for Hong Kong to achieve sustainable economic growth, the city must bolster development in innovation and technology, and set sights on regional collaboration and development.
“National development strategies, such as the ‘Greater Bay Area’, will create valuable opportunities for the city and ASTRI to embark on further FinTech R&D in the region,” he said.
Last year, he said, ASTRI reached a major milestone when it entered into agreements with two organizations in Thailand – one of the countries along the “Belt and Road” – to jointly develop FinTech that is designed to help turn the country into a cashless society.
ASTRI chief executive officer Dr Frank Tong said that ASTRI has dedicated HK$145.5 million to FinTech R&D since 2014, covering 48 projects, 15 of them in collaboration with financial institutes. “To embrace the opportunities arising from further regional integration, ASTRI is expected to dedicate more than HK$200 million to the development of FinTech and double its number of FinTech R&D experts in the coming three years.”
Over the past ten years, ASTRI said, there have been over 400 HK government-funded R&D projects with a total investment of over HK$3.2 billion, while the number of industry-funded projects is 837 with a total investment of HK$730 million. In 2016-17 alone, ASTRI has embarked on 91 new R&D projects, involving an investment of HK$292 million, and achieved a total of 60 technology transfers, involving a total investment of HK$102 million.
ASTRI has partnered with a number of organizations to establish 26 joint laboratories and research centers so far. These organizations include Airport Authority Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, HSBC, Bank of China (Hong Kong), the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.