Following is the transcript of a CNBC interview with Franklin Tong Fuk-Kay, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute. The interview was broadcast on CNBC on 27 April 2017 at 12:20PM SG/HK Time, during CNBC's "Hong Kong versus Singapore" theme week.
All references must be sourced to a "CNBC Interview".
Interviewed by Chery Kang, Correspondent, CNBC.
Chery Kang: So when you heard first about this interview, the Hong Kong's strength as an innovation hub. What were some of the first ideas that came to your mind as a highlight and as a low light for Hong Kong?
Franklin Tong Fuk-Kay: Well the highlights, there are many, many. You know, first of all we have the huge potentials coming up. You've probably heard about the greater Bay Area concept, you know, which just was launched several weeks ago by the - it's a part of the national strategy, the nine - The Greater Bay Area actually consists of nine plus two. The nine in Mainland cities plus Macau and Hong Kong. Now we are talking about 66 million populations and 1.39 trillion U.S. dollars and GDP combined. So you're talking huge, huge potential. You look at Hong Kong having the benefit of one country two systems, you know, we have the free flow of capital, the law of arbitration and so on. So Hong Kong will remain and will become the financial center of this entire region. And also, obviously, you know, because of the Hong Kong as a financial center and office, it becomes naturally, becomes the fintech center of the region, and perhaps of the nation. So there's a huge potential for Hong Kong.
Chery: Let's pick up on that idea, fintech. You are working with Hong Kong Monetary Authority as well as other banks here in order to build the R&D laboratory center and all that. What would that look like when you get the results that you want, say in three years from now?
Tong: Well it's huge. I'm seeing-again, I'm seeing huge potentials. We can do a lot right. So industry, we are doing, applying science and technology. So we are doing technology development and also with the aim of transferring the technologies to the industry that, in this particular case, we'd talked about the banks, the insurances, the futures, the securities and commodities, so on and so forth right. So we are, in Astri, we are based on four pillar technologies, basically, cybersecurity, block chains, big data analytics, and also the mobile platform, something related to your mobile phones. In all this, you know, the basics we talk about is encryption technologies, we're talking about artificial intelligence. So these are the engines behind the technologies we are building with the hope of transfer to the industry. Now with Astri being a government funded organization, so we hope to do few more things. On one hand we're doing the platform technologies. For example, the cybersecurity information sharing platform, that we offer the surfaces 256 banks in Hong Kong. They all enjoy that particular technologies that we built by Hong Kong by Astri, and so that's one of the platform technologies we have built. And we supplied support tailor-made technologies. For example, the mortgage blockchain that we gave to Bank of China in Hong Kong-that's another excellent example. They already launched last year and very good results. And the second part is that we're building a lot of infrastructure. The one you're seeing here is an example of infrastructures and the third thing's we're doing a lot of things on our talent training and we are working closely with the universities and try to bring up as many talents as possible. So there are many things we are doing.
Chery: And so Hong Kong boasts both the infrastructure part, market sophistication part, but maybe it's not really about the infrastructure that we need or the funding that we need, because we are talking about Hong Kong cabs not taking credit cards and you were talking about smart city as one of your initiatives. So what are you trying to- maybe it's not really about the government procurement, it's really about the policy or the direction that we are actually willing to go in.
Tong: In fact, we talk about entire ecosystems. Rather than just one policy and sorts. So when we talk about the ecosystems, do you know who are in the ecosystem? We talked about in the financial technology ecosystems, we probably have to involve the regulatory, you know, so if they are not involved, they don't understand what's going on. They will not proof the type of technologies want to deploy in Hong Kong. So we have the multinational companies here. We have these start-ups. We have the technology developers like us. We have the universities, you know, the whole entire eco-chain. The ecosystem has to promote it. So given time I think Hong Kong will rev very swiftly. You look at all the Hong Kong people, the spirit, you know, in the past.