While the world's attention is focused on China as it moves from heavy manufacturing to a more service-based economy, Hong Kong is undertaking its own important shift in focus.
Where once it specialized in manufacturing goods to ship to the world, Hong Kong is now reinventing itself as a financial technology hub where innovation thrives.
Hong Kong's reputation as one of the globe's most-free economies and the relative ease with which companies can set up shop is key to the metamorphosis, experts say.
"Hong Kong is like New York [City] on steroids" in terms of the speed of doing business and the entrepreneurial spirit of its citizens, Janos Barberis, the Founder of FintechHK, an organisation that brings together start-ups, community and events that shape Hong Kong's innovation ecosystem.
One area ripe for disruption is financial services, observers say. Hong Kong is an important financial center, with 70 of the world's 100 largest banks present. This, coupled with robust intellectual property laws, makes a fertile environment for the emergence of financial technology, or fintech, companies.
Fintech has long been relied on by banks - automated teller machines (ATMs) were, after all, invented in the 1960s - but since 2007 a new wave of players have been heating up the market. They moved away from creating banking industry technology and instead took the form of e-commerce start-ups or internet finance companies, Barberis said, citing Alibaba as an example.
Accelerator programs such as Hong Kong hosts are vital as they create a bridge between the mainstream financial services sector and fintech start-ups. The collaboration not only introduces a new and interesting work culture for bank employees but also gives established players the opportunity to incubate innovative banking products and services.
As a result, there is little surprise that large banks are multiplying the opportunity to interact, collaborate and even acquire fintech, Barberis says.
And the clamor for fintech is not restricted to banks. The University of Hong Kong has introduced up to a dozen additional courses on financial technologies, anticipating increased interest from students for employment opportunities in fintech start-ups, rather than the long-popular investment banking and corporate law options.
"The human capital and intellectual capital is here and this is key as both traditional banks and fintech companies look to recruit the next wave of talent," Barberis, who is also a fellow of the Asian Institute of International Financial Law, says.