Singapore, HK and China are hot for fintech and blockchain

Singapore wants to bolster its status as a wealth management and foreign-exchange center as part of plans to create more financial-sector jobs and mitigate the effect of rapid changes in technology.

Singapore adding financial jobs when globally 30% of banking jobs are being automated by 2023

In a plan unveiled Monday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said it aims to create 4,000 net new jobs in financial services and financial technology, and achieve real growth in the sector of 4.3 percent annually, faster than the overall economy.

Banks around the world are cutting jobs as the industry is transformed by digital technology, and the application of artificial intelligence and robotics. Vikram Pandit, who ran Citigroup Inc., has predicted some 30 percent of banking jobs will disappear over the next five years.

The financial sector accounts for about 13 percent of Singapore’s gross domestic product and employs around 200,000 people.

Singapore, Hong Kong Fintech

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published an Industry Transformation Map (ITM) to be a stronger financial center.

Singapore wants to grow its financial sector by creating 3,000 financial services jobs and 1,000 fintech jobs.

Singapore had 73 venture backed fintech deals from 2013-2016.

Hong Kong and Singapore have signed an agreement to cooperate on fintech including a project using blockchain for trade finance.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) together with banks including HSBC Holdings PLC and Standard Chartered PLC tested late in 2016 the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT), also known as blockchain, to build a trade finance platform. Singapore is also developing a platform.

Linking the two is part of a broader plan between HKMA and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to collaborate in blockchain and other financial technology (fintech) projects, the pair said in a joint statement.

They plan to use blockchain technology to make trade finance more efficient and reduce the risk of fraud in letters of credit (LOC) and other transactions.

ong Kong’s project can digitize trade documents, automate processes, allow sharing of required documentation among authorized participants, and reduce human errors and the risk of fraud.

China is looking at many large scale blockchain applications

Here is a sample of seven blockchain applications in China.

* A 400 million yuan ($60.4 million) asset-backed security(ABS), which was backed by Baidu’s blockchain technology, was issued on the Shanghai Securities Exchange on Sept 19

*, a crowdfunding site serving critically ill patients, is using blockchain technology for donors to track their charity donations

* Alihealth, the medical arm of Alibaba, and the government of Changzhou city in East China’s Jiangsu province, have rolled out a pilot program to integrate medical data sparsely located in different hospitals, with the help of blockchain technology,

* a shared ledger of a blockchain Tencent has built, anxious parents only need to register information on their missing child once and the information will be shared instantly via different child-finding platforms that are connected by this blockchain,

* Tencent has launched a blockchain solution product called TrustSQL, which the tech giant hopes will improve efficiency and reduce risks in various sectors, including the finance and sharing economy.

* China Merchants Bank announced that it had successfully incorporated blockchain technology into its business regarding global cash management, cross-border direct settlement and unified account management

* A copyright trade and protection portal using blockchain technology went online in Shanghai, the first of its kind in China. This is by a local IT startup company called Yuanben.

China Fintech IPOs

Several fintech companies in China are indeed preparing for IPO in the US or HK

* Jianpu Technology Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chinese fintech firm Rong360, has filed for a $200 million IPO in the US. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan are bookrunners for the deal, according to a stock exchange filing.

Jianpu has reached more than 56 million registered users and in the first half of 2017, over 2,000 financial service providers nationwide offered more than 100,000 financial products on the platform, including consumer and other loans, credit cards and wealth management products.

The platform enable users to obtain personalized search results and recommendations that are tailored to their particular financial needs and credit profile. It also provides financial service companies with tailored data, risk management and end-to-end solutions.

* Chinese micro lender Qudian, which raised $900 million through its IPO on NYSE, exceeding the $750 million target.