InvestHK and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) have confirmed the addition of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) track to the Global Fast Track 2022.
The CBDC track is hoped to provide local and global firms with the opportunity to partner with the central banking institution to boost the growth and adoption of fintech in Asia and beyond.
The CBDC track invites banks, fintechs and tech firms to submit innovative solutions in eight focus areas, including retail CBDC (rCBDC) adoption, wholesale CBDC (wCBDC) adoption, programmable money, interoperability, privacy, cybersecurity, foreign exchange and liquidity management, and offline payments.
Shortlisted applicants will then enter a pitching session exclusive for the track and compete for three awards, namely the ‘Best Use Case Award’, ‘Best Technology Award’ and ‘Best Ecosystem Award’.
All qualified candidates may also have the opportunity to collaborate with the HKMA on research projects and pilots to foster the future growth of the CBDC ecosystem.
In recent years, Hong Kong has become the epicentre for CBDC development and research, while within that, the HKMA has been actively guiding the exploration of both wCBDC and rCBDC. The launch of its CBDC track cements its commitment to the growth of the sector and to facilitating new technologies that will enhance the financial system.
“CBDC exploration has been high on the agenda of central banks around the world and has gained reasonable traction in recent years. As Hong Kong’s central banking institution, we endeavour to future-proof Hong Kong in terms of CBDC readiness on both wholesale and retail fronts as part of our ‘Fintech 2025’ strategy,” comments Nelson Chow, chief fintech officer of the HKMA.
“This year, we are thrilled to partner with InvestHK and introduce a new CBDC track to the Global Fast Track,” continues Chow. “We are confident that this new CBDC track will yield fruitful outcomes and bring valuable insights, adding to the wealth of knowledge on CBDC and contributing to an enhanced CBDC ecosystem.”
Charles Ng, associate director-general of investment promotion at InvestHK, comments: “By connecting private sector leaders directly with the regulator, the track further enables Global Fast Track 2022 to provide comprehensive, one-stop support to innovators around the world, while strengthening Hong Kong’s status as a premier international fintech hub.”
“Following last year’s success, we believe the enriched programme will further facilitate fintech development in the city and beyond,” added Ng.
Applications for the CBDC track are currently open; expected to close around mid-September.
Meanwhile, InvestHK has published the complete list of corporate, investor and service champions for this year’s Global Fast Track.
In addition, a wide range of partnering programmes, including the Visa Fintech Fast Track and incubator programmes run by Cyberport and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, have also been announced.
Global Fast Track is a one-stop programme with a business matching portal, pitching competition, and mentoring sessions which connect global fintech companies with a diverse range of Asian corporate, investor and service champions to explore potential business partnerships and investments.