Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) has announced a collaboration with Red Hat to bring some additional features to the users of the HKMA-ASTRI Fintech Innovation Hub. The collaboration involves leveraging Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform to create a collaborative and open environment.
HKMA-ASTRI Fintech Innovation Hub provides a collaborative and open space for different players within Hong Kong’s FinTech ecosystem to develop innovative technological solutions for the financial services industry. Red Hat’s enterprise-grade Kubernetes container application platform will be installed in the Hub’s isolated virtual machines – benefitting the Hub users in their application incubation process. It will enhance the Hub’s ability to offer a scalable and segregated network to help emulate, validate and analyse different FinTech tools and solutions before they are launched in the market. Using this platform, the application development cycle will become shorter and more efficient. Users can trial their solution prototypes in a single platform across multiple locations with minimal disruption to current processes.
ASTRI will continue to strengthen the features and benefits in the Hub – providing enhanced flexibility and a strong, collaborative environment for innovative FinTech application development. This collaboration demonstrates ASTRI’s commitment to work with other stakeholders in the FinTech ecosystem to deliver enabling tools, platforms and solutions in an increasingly complex digital world. Details of this collaboration between ASTRI and Red Hat were recently shared with representatives of the media. The attending journalists took keen interest and asked many questions on the development initiatives of the ASTRI-HKMA FinTech Innovation Hub.
FinTech Career Accelerator Scheme 2.0 officially launched
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has launched the second edition of the FinTech Career Accelerator Scheme (FCAS) today, 31 January 2018. Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI), Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Ltd (Cyberport), and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) are co-organisers in this programme. The launch ceremony was officiated by Mr Norman Chan, Chief Executive of the HKMA; Mr Wong Ming-yam, Chairman of ASTRI; Dr George Lam, Chairman of Cyberport; and Mr Albert Wong, Chief Executive Officer of HKSTP.
FCAS aims to nurture Hong Kong’s financial and technological talents to meet the emerging and ever-evolving needs of the industry. Last year, in the programme’s inaugural edition, ASTRI joined hands with HKMA, sourcing potential FinTech talents from 10 academic institutions who were groomed for practical exposure in 12 banks. As the co-organiser of the scheme, ASTRI provided core FinTech training to the 70 odd selected candidates, and used its network across the universities to encourage potential talents to embrace FinTech as an inspiring career choice. FCAS 2.0 offers a number of exciting opportunities and development initiatives for the participating students. The number of students admissible to the programme has also been extended to over 200.
Speaking at the event, Mr Hugh Chow, ASTRI’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “The technology ecosystem thrives on three key elements: talent, capital and market. Having a strong talent pipeline is a prerequisite for the development of science and technology.” Mr Chow shared ASTRI’s belief that “FCAS 2.0 will not only benefit the students, but also add significant value to the banking industry and the entire innovation and technology ecosystem of Hong Kong.” He added that “ASTRI fully supports the various initiatives under FCAS 2.0, and is delighted to be working alongside HKMA as well as two major players in Hong Kong’s technology system – Cyberport and Hong Kong Science Park.”
Four participants from last year’s FCAS shared their experience on the occasion – how they learned from the programme and applied the FinTech knowledge and skills in the practical field. The students also explained how they “realised the importance of communication skills during the FCAS internship and were inspired by the colleagues they got to work with.”
ASTRI showcases next generation identity management technologies with its Palm Fusion Biometric solution
ASTRI, powered by technology, strives to enrich people’s lives by innovating solutions that help businesses and communities. Showcasing one of its latest and novel solutions, developed jointly with its Sweden-based partner Smart Secure ID (SSID), ASTRI is participating in the Hong Kong Science Park Innovation Showcase 2017-18. The solution showcased by ASTRI – ‘Palm Fusion Biometric sensing device’ – is a biometric authentication method based on the unique patterns and various characteristics in the palms of people’s hands. The solution uses a state-of-the-art contact-less, biometric sensing and verification device developed by ASTRI. This solution works by capturing a person’s palm vein and palm print patterns at the same time while sensing the presence of a palm placed on the device through infrared and visible light.
Since veins lie beneath the skin, attempts to forge an identity becomes extremely difficult. Furthermore, palm print contains a wealth of inimitable features – even identical twins can be differentiated through their palm print patterns. By using the fusion technology, ASTRI’s solution obtains a higher security level, combining both palm print and palm vein features.
Identity management is a key issue across many different sectors as organisations as well as citizens strive to safeguard their information and digital assets. This innovative solution from ASTRI brings huge practical benefits through its robust access control mechanism.
As technologies continue to evolve, they constantly reshape the world around us. The benefits of advanced technologies can be felt in our daily lives – it’s a force we need to leverage and appreciate more. The Innovation Showcase organised by Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation Limited (HKSTP) is a platform for innovators to display and share their invention, and tell their stories of how to integrate their emerging technologies to deliver social and economic benefits. ASTRI is pleased to be a part of this year-long showcase where innovative solutions will be on display across different locations within Hong Kong Science Park in Shatin. ASTRI shares the same vision with HKSTP and other players in Hong Kong’s technology ecosystem – making technologies work for Hong Kong and its people.
ASTRI supports HSBC Safeguard App Competition as technology enabler – provides training, technology platform and programming interfaces to contestants
At the Demo Day of the Safeguard App Competition organised by HSBC on 13 December 2017, student teams and start-ups showcased their ideas. ASTRI was the Technology Enabler in this contest, providing a suite of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which contestants used to develop their iOS or Android app prototypes. In addition to providing training materials and support in addressing contestants’ queries, ASTRI built a Blockchain-based virtual platform for contestants to use as they developed their application prototypes for the competition.
Launched in September 2017, the competition was open to Hong Kong-based tertiary students and start-ups, who were invited to submit innovative solutions to help bank customers to maintain their most up-to-day information in account profiles. At the Demo Day, shortlisted teams pitched their proposals to a panel of respected banking and technology experts. Dr MeiKei Ieong, Chief Technology Officer of ASTRI was a member of the judging panel which also included Mr Li Shu-pui, JP, Executive Director (Financial Infrastructure), Hong Kong Monetary Authority; and Ir Peter Yeung, Head of EE and ICT Cluster, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation; and executives from HSBC: Mr Raymond Cheng, Chief Operating Officer, Asia-Pacific; Mr Greg Hingston, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Hong Kong; and Mr Daniel Chan, Head of Business Banking, Commercial Banking, Hong Kong.
Speaking at the event, Ms Diana Cesar, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, HSBC congratulated the winning teams and extended her gratitude to the judging panel and the contest’s technology partner ASTRI. She talked about the HSBC-ASTRI R&D Innovation Laboratory which mobilises FinTech developments through exploratory activities in various areas.
The winner in the Student category was InstaSure who came up with a user-friendly interface for individual users to monitor and maintain account security. Game Changers, the second prize winner, aims to utilise information sharing within social groups to help customers to maintain, verify and share their contact information. BU WWW, winner of the third prize, proposed an app that can update customers’ information in real time in an automated and secure way.
The winner in the Start-up category was Earth Channel Limited. They developed a smart eWallet app that collects customers’ information in an efficient way – protected by two different Blockchain technologies that respectively carries out predictive analysis of customers’ location and lifestyle preference, and ensures the maximum privacy of their information. BETECH won the second prize for their idea to automate the updating of phone numbers and addresses, using machine learning technologies. The third prize went to Cloud Connect Technology for their ‘Click Click Through’ app which stores and updates customers’ data across distributed ledgers.
ASTRI looks forward to advancing its FinTech R&D partnership with HSBC by developing more innovative applications, prototypes and proofs-of-concept that will make banking better, faster and safer.
Beijing Fangshan Yancun Technology Park partners with ASTRI, to power its specialised FinTech innovation hub
The 21st Beijing-Hong Kong Economic Collaboration Symposium was held in Hong Kong from 28-29 November 2017 with the theme of “Leading Innovation, Exchanging Resources, Driving Development, and Creating Prosperity”. During the event, ASTRI signed a partnership agreement with the Beijing Fangshan Yancun Technology Park, to facilitate technology planning, mapping and implementation for the Financial Technologies (FinTech) cluster within the Park. Dr Justin Chuang, ASTRI’s Vice President for Next Generation Network, and Ms Ma Xiaolan, CEO of Internet Financial Security Demonstration Industrial Park, signed the agreement on their respective organisations’ behalf.
ASTRI, the largest applied R&D institution in the Hong Kong SAR, is a leading technology developer for the financial services sector in Hong Kong and this region. Under this partnership, ASTRI’s R&D expertise will be leveraged to develop and commercialise innovative FinTech tools and platforms in the Mainland, including Blockchain, Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence. In addition to powering FinTech development in the Mainland market using ASTRI’s FinTech Intellectual Property and innovative R&D, the partnership aims to assist the development of specialised technology hubs and industrial parks specifically targeting FinTech innovation.
Since Hong Kong’s reunion with the country in 1997, the collaboration between Beijing and Hong Kong has seen prolific growth in investment, trade, technological cooperation, cultural exchange and entrepreneurship. By the end of September 2017, investment from Hong Kong in Beijing had reached USD 59.13 billion, accounting for 44.9% of the capital city’s utilised foreign direct investment, according to the Beijing Investment Promotion Bureau. Over the same period, Beijing’s direct investment in the SAR reached USD 26.34 billion, accounting for 44.3% of Beijing’s foreign direct investment. Deeper collaboration in the area of innovation and technology will help Hong Kong and the Mainland to leverage each other’s strengths, and help secure strong, sustainable growth in the country’s economic development.
ASTRI plays a crucial role in promoting technology and innovation not just for the city, but also for the country. In addition to developing innovative technologies and solutions that benefit industries and communities in Hong Kong, ASTRI also contributes to the city’s innovation and technology development efforts to make the most of national and international mega-programmes like the Belt and Road Initiative, Industry 4.0 Transformation and development of the South China Greater Bay Area.
ASTRI wins one top award and one merit award in prestigious Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards; Hong Kong steals the overall show with nine honours
ASTRI’s Communication-based Train Control (CBTC) System has won the top honour in the ‘Communication’ category at the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) Awards. The Awards Ceremony took place on 10 December 2017 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. ASTRI’s CBTC System is a commercial-grade TD-LTE-based railway signalling system. It has been deployed at the recently opened Wuhan Metro Line 6, making it the first subway signalling system in China using LTE technologies. At the event, Ir Allan Yeung Tak-bun, Hong Kong’s Government Chief Information Officer joined Bangladesh’s Finance Minister and State Minister for ICT, a number of senior Government officials from other participating economies, and regional ICT leaders.
Hong Kong was the biggest winner in this edition of the APICTA Awards with four main awards and five merit awards. In addition to the TD-LTE-based CBTC System, ASTRI’s Smart Water Internet-o-Things (IoT) System was among these nine awards won by Hong Kong. It is indeed a great recognition of the innovative R&D efforts of ASTRI – the largest applied R&D institution in Hong Kong.
ASTRI strives to develop and commercialise leading-edge technological solutions for industries and the community. ASTRI’s TD-LTE-based CBTC System optimises railway signalling network design, supports robust mobility in high speed, and achieves low latency within 300ms round-trip-delay. Compared to traditional Wi-Fi-based railway communication systems, ASTRI’s innovative CBTC system reduces signal interference and shortens the signal communication between trains and the control centre. It delivers enhanced safety, reliability and efficiency of mass transit rail operations. Apart from railway communications, ASTRI’s LTE technology is also applied in Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) that is used for many mission-critical communications enabling highly reliable and low latency communications.
In total, 14 projects from Hong Kong were nominated across the various categories. That also included ASTRI’s Smart Water IOT System, which won a Merit Award in the Industry Application category. ASTRI’s Smart Water IoT System allows operators to monitor water systems in real-time. It facilitates data analysis, supports user enquiry, allows timely access to water quality information, and detects water leakage to improve the overall efficiency of water usage. The System has already been successfully deployed in four provinces in Mainland China. In addition, it is currently being trialled by Hong Kong’s Water Supplies Department.
The APICTA Awards is one of the most prestigious international awards programmes in this region. Organised by APICTA since 2001, it aims to increase ICT awareness in the community and assist to bridge the digital divide in Asia Pacific. This year, Hong Kong’s participation in the APICTA Awards was coordinated jointly by Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS) and Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC). HKCS played an instrumental role in facilitating the nomination and presentation of Hong Kong nominees in the event.
The participating economies in APICTA are: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Japan, Macao SAR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Nepal.
ASTRI’s TD-LTE-based CBTC System won the top prize in the Communication category
ASTRI’s Smart Water IoT System won the merit award in the Industry Application category
ASTRI won one Top Award and one Merit Award at the APICTA Awards 2017
Ir Allan Yeung Tak-bun (1st from left), Hong Kong’s Government Chief Information Officer visiting ASTRI’s booth at the Awards ceremony
Hong Kong was the biggest winner in APICTA Awards 2017 with four Top Awards and five Merit Prizes
ASTRI’s booth at the APICTA Awards 2017 ceremony
Hong Kong was the biggest winner in APICTA Awards 2017 with four Top Awards and five Merit Prizes
HKSAR Chief Executive visits ASTRI booth in international technology expo in Dongguan
ASTRI is showcasing a series of innovative R&D projects in its booth within the Hong Kong pavilion at the International Science and Research Institution Innovation Achievements Fair, taking place in the Dongguan International Exhibition Centre from 8-10 December 2017. Organised as part of the 2017 China (Dongguan) International Science & Technology Cooperation Week, the fair aims to promote science and technology cooperation to “match research with production” for a better future. The event’s proceedings included a special tour of the Hong Kong Pavilion for Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR. ASTRI’s booth was the first in that tour visited by the Chief Executive, where she witnessed a few technology demonstrations including naked-eye 3D display, biometric sensing-based authentication, smart pole and other next generation network applications. Mrs Lam commented that Smart City development is critically important for Hong Kong.
Currently in its 14th year, the event is jointly organised by the State Ministry of Science and Technology, Guangdong Provincial Government, and the Dongguan Municipal Government. This year, exhibitors from over 20 countries and territories are represented by more than 2,000 technology professionals and eminent researchers. ASTRI, the largest applied R&D institution in Hong Kong, plays an important role to promote innovation and technology in the SAR, in addition to facilitating technological advancements in this region, particularly in Southern China. ASTRI’s technology display and demonstrations in the fair included:
Smart Indoor and Outdoor Navigation System
Naked-eye 3D display technology
ASTRI’s Smart Pole and other Next Generation Network applications
Smart Water System based on Internet-of-Things (IoT)
Smart Mobility solution based on Vehicle-to-Everything communication system
Smart Investment Platform
Blockchain-based Trade Finance System
Cybersecurity R&D including ASTRI Cyber Range and ASTRI Security Lab
Big Data Analytics
Narrowband IoT solutions
Automated Glass Defects Inspection System
Wireless Power Transfer System
Head Mount Display for Augmented and Virtual Reality Applications
Palm Fusion Biometric Sensing Technology
Commenting on the event’s importance, Mr Wong Ming-yam, BBS, JP, Chairman of ASTRI, said “China is currently going through a massive industrial transformation phase. Global partnerships, and collaborations across the wider technology ecosystem, are crucial for the success of this programme. Hong Kong is in a unique position to help connect China with rest of the world. At the same time, innovation and technology development in Hong Kong can greatly benefit the SAR’s economy and ensure its continued prosperity. By innovating practical and innovative technology solutions in partnership with industry players and other stakeholders in the ecosystem, ASTRI continues to play its part in that endeavour.” Mr Wong congratulated the organisers of the International Science and Research Institution Innovation Achievements Fair, and added that “This event is a great platform where gateways for future partnerships and potential for advanced innovation are being unleashed.”
Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR visited ASTRI booth and viewed innovative smart city solutions
Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR visited ASTRI booth and viewed a number of technology demonstrations
Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR, taking interest in the ‘Smart Pole’ showcased at ASTRI booth
Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR was welcomed at the ASTRI booth by its Chairman Mr Wong Ming-yam
Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR visited ASTRI booth, accompanied by Mr Albert Tang (first from right), Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong, Hong Kong SAR Government and other guests
Mr Liu Zhi-ming (2nd from right), Associate Counsel of Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, accompanied by Mr Wong Ming-yam (3rd from right), ASTRI Chairman, and other guests
A visitor learning about ASTRI’s Head Mounted Display for Augmented and Virtual Reality Applications
A visitor learning about the wireless power transfer technology at ASTRI booth
ASTRI team with representatives of its partner organisation Chain Technology Development Co. Ltd.
Some of Hong Kong’s Top Minds in Science and Technology visit ASTRI, as part of an ASHK delegation
A high-profile delegation from the Academy of Sciences Hong Kong (ASHK) visited ASTRI on 6 November 2017, to exchange views on scientific and technological R&D. The delegation included the Academy’s founding president Professor Tsui Lap-chee, GBM, GBS, JP; ASHK’s founding member Professor Tony F Chan, JP, President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST); Professor Joseph J Y Sung, SBS, JP, Vice-Chancellor and President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK); and ASHK Secretary General Mr Terence Chan. Mr Wong Ming-yam, BBS, JP, Chairman of ASTRI, welcomed the delegates to ASTRI along with Dr Meikei Ieong, Chief Technology Officer and other senior executives.
The ASHK delegation learnt about ASTRI’s various R&D initiatives including Financial Technologies, Cover Glass and Touch Panel Glass Automatic Defects Inspection Systems, Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) Platform, as well as 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) Displays. They were also briefed on the projects and accomplishments of the Hong Kong Branch of Chinese National Engineering Research Centre (CNERC) for Application Specific Integrated Circuit System, which is based in ASTRI.
The ASHK delegation stressed the need to foster stronger collaboration and exchange between academic institutions, technology developers and the industry. Professor Tsui recently spearheaded an ASHK Mentorship Programme for Hong Kong’s secondary school students, offering them a chance to mingle with the city’s scientific and engineering elite. He dubbed the collaboration between students and technology experts as a springboard that can “produce the city’s the next great scientist through the interaction between Distinguished Masters and Accomplished Students”. The two University Presidents shared their wish to facilitate more career development opportunities for science and technology graduates in association with ASTRI.
Echoing the delegation members’ suggestion to expose youngsters to practical research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), ASTRI Chairman Mr Wong said, “It is imperative to have regular and meaningful interaction between all the players in the technology ecosystem, including students, technology developers and businesses.” Mr Wong referred to the many career development opportunities available at ASTRI which “welcomes talented scientists and engineers to join various R&D areas in ASTRI – to sharpen their skills and make a difference.”
Professor Chan and Professor Sung, Presidents of two of Hong Kong’s most globally-renowned universities, placed strong emphasis on providing students with real-life exposure into science and technology R&D. They cited examples of the FinTech Career Accelerator Scheme (FCAS) co-organised by ASTRI and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), where HKUST and CUHK are both participating universities. More such opportunities and platforms are needed for university students and graduates to work with institutions like ASTRI, and gain valuable practical experience.
The delegates showed a keen interest in ASTRI’s innovative technologies and learnt about their impact on Hong Kong residents’ everyday lives. While visiting the Smart City Innovation Centre, developed jointly by ASTRI and Hong Kong Science Park, the delegates witnessed practical applications like AR Head-Mount Display, Smart Navigation and Smart Parking, Smart Meter for utility services, and Connected Cars for Smart Mobility. The discussions during the visit referred to the Hong Kong Smart City Consultancy Study Report recently released by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO). The Government’s smart city vision for Hong Kong involves “building a strong economy, enhancing the quality of people’s lives, and making Hong Kong a smart, sustainable city.”
Professor Sung mentioned “elderly care” in particular, when discussing the future challenges in Hong Kong’s smart city development. With an ageing population, “offering a safe and comfortable living to the society’s senior citizens shall be a key priority” for the Government as well as for public service providers, he said.
ASTRI’s Health Technologies R&D involve developing applications and solutions, especially in the areas of preventive health monitoring, medical diagnosis, medical computing and data analytics. In the recent past, ASTRI’s R&D teams developed an innovative cardiovascular monitoring device, a hybrid tracking system used in elderly care centres, an e-Education and Infotainment Platform for senior citizens, an intelligent preventive healthcare system which combines wireless sensors and smart devices to track and report key health indicators.
ASTRI, as the largest applied R&D institution in Hong Kong, undertakes a number of initiatives in smart city development. While exchanging experiences and insights with the visiting ASHK delegation, ASTRI’s R&D professionals discussed various innovative projects that the Institute has pursued over the years. These include: smart connectivity, smart mobility, smart utility and public transportation, smart healthcare, and public safety. In supporting the Government’s Smart Hong Kong vision, ASTRI leverages a number of R&D fields such as Internet-of-Things (IoT) – including Internet-of-Vehicles (IoV) and Device-to-Device (D2D) communications, Pre-5G and 5G communications, data analytics, smart city software platform and network security.
The delegation acknowledged ASTRI’s highly-capable R&D teams, and hoped that ASTRI would “continue to invest in its R&D capabilities, people and infrastructure” to deliver innovative solutions in full alignment of Hong Kong’s socio-economic priorities. They also talked about global as well as regional benchmarking, and how neighbouring cities and economies are approaching their smart city development.
Professor Tsui summed up the visit by saying, “Through this visit, we have been enlightened by the developments and achievements at ASTRI. We wish ASTRI continued success and look forward to hearing more breakthrough stories in the not too distant future.”
Large crowds flock to ASTRI’s pavilion at InnoCarnival 2017, marvelling innovative solutions and appreciating the power of technology
Youngsters and senior citizens alike, a huge mass of science enthusiasts and general public lined up every day at ASTRI’s pavilion in InnoCarnival 2017 from 21 to 29 October 2017. ASTRI’s pavilion covered core technologies in smart city development, including FinTech, Smart City, Industry 4.0 and Next Generation Network. The pavilion was backed by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) of the HKSAR Government as the funding organisation.
The major attractions in the pavilion included a simulation ‘Drive Safe’ game that showcased ASTRI’s Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology for connected cars. In addition, a matching game on Internet-of-Things, demonstrations on smart navigation and smart parking applications, FinTech solutions, and an innovative ‘Smart Water Meter’ were in the pavilion’s display manifest. In the nine days of the Carnival, over 8,000 people stepped into ASTRI’s pavilion. They learned about the latest developments in ASTRI’s smart city R&D, and spoke to the Institute’s technology experts.
In addition, three R&D experts from ASTRI presented in the InnoTalk event on 26 October 2017 on the topic “Smart Technologies for Smart City”. Over 80 participants, representing mostly the young generation, listened to the ASTRI experts and witnessed presentations on three topics:
1. Cellular V2X (C-V2X) Technologies for Smart Mobility
2. Real Case System Solutions for Hong Kong Smart City
3. Deep Learning – Handwritten Chinese Recognition – Automated Document Processing
InnoCarnival took place as part of the month-long InnoTech campaign organised by ITC. The Carnival aimed to enhance public understanding of, and interest in, innovation and technology, particularly amongst the young generation. The Carnival officially kicked off on 21 October through a ceremony officiated by, among others, Hon Mr Nicholas W Yang, GBS, JP, Secretary for Innovation and Technology of the HKSAR Government; Hon Mrs Fanny Law, GBS, JP, Executive Councillor of the HKSAR Government and Chairperson of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation; Mr Cheuk Wing-hing, JP, Permanent Secretary for Innovation and Technology; and Mr Allen Yeung, JP, Government Chief Information Officer.
Dignitaries who visited the ASTRI pavilion included Hon Mr Nicholas W Yang, GBS, JP, Secretary for Innovation and Technology of the HKSAR Government; Ms Annie Choi, JP, Commissioner for Innovation and Technology; Mr Liu Zhi-ming, Associate Counsel of the Central Government’s Liaison Office in HKSAR; Hon Ir Dr Lo Wai-kwok, SBS, MH, JP, Legislative Councillor for the Engineering constituency; and Hon Charles Peter Mok, JP, Legislative Councillor for the Information Technology constituency.
A number of journalists from print, broadcast and online media organisations also visited the ASTRI pavilion. They covered the R&D projects showcased by ASTRI and interviewed the Institute’s technology experts about latest technological developments. Notably, Ming Pao Daily and Sky Post published feature articles after visiting the ASTRI pavilion. Ming Pao Daily featured ASTRI’s R&D in the area of smart mobility. Sky Post, on the other hand, highlighted ASTRI’s efforts to promote Smart City development through a number of innovative technologies, including C-V2X, Smart Finance, Smart Indoor Navigation and Smart Parking.
ASTRI’s pavilion in the InnoCarnival carried the theme “Power of Technology ‧Spirit of Hong Kong” – fully supporting the event’s overall theme – “Live Smart‧Be Innovative”.
ASTRI partners with InvestHK for Hong Kong FinTech Week 2017
ASTRI partnered with InvestHK, organiser of the Hong Kong FinTech Week 2017, and contributed with in-depth, insightful sessions on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) or Blockchain. In addition to two mainstage sessions and a workshop on Blockchain, ASTRI also presented a workshop on cybersecurity. The mainstage sessions on DLT covered ‘Cutting-edge Blockchain Applications’ across industries such as luxury retail and financial services, and ‘Legal, Regulatory and Control Principles of DLT’ respectively. Meanwhile, the workshop discussed ‘Technological Aspects of DLT’.
On the opening day, Dr MeiKei Ieong, Chief Technology Officer of ASTRI, moderated a panel discussion on ‘Cutting-edge Blockchain Applications’. The panel included senior executives from two unique industries – luxury retail (represented by Pritesh Patel – SVP and Chief Operating Officer of Gemological Institute of America Inc, and Jade Lee – Deputy General Manager or Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group) and financial services (represented by Harry Wong – Governing Committee Member and Chairman FinTech Taskforce of The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers, and Zhi Yong-wang – Head of Product Development and Management of ICBC Asia Limited). The panellists discussed opportunities as well as constraints in rolling out Blockchain applications across various industries. The experience from the luxury jewellery sector highlighted how Blockchain can be useful in a wide range of applications like product authentication, supply chain tracking as well as customer data management.
Dr Ieong moderated another session the next day, on the technological aspects of rolling out DLT. The panel included Mr Jehan Chu, Founder of Ethereum HK Meetup; Dr Arafet Ben Makhlouf, FinTech and Blockchain Consultant at Deloitte; Ms Connie Leung, Senior Director at Microsoft; and Mr Carl Wegner, Managing Director at R3. The panellists shared their experience in moving from Blockchain prototyping to production and deployment of DLT applications. While discussing the challenges and roadmap ahead, the panellists emphasised the importance of professional trainings on DLT, and enabling technology professionals to design and create smart contracts and end-user applications.
25 October was the ‘HKMA FinTech Day’ in the FinTech Week. At the event, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) unveiled the “Whitepaper 2.0 on Distributed Ledger Technology”. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Norman Chan, Chief Executive of HKMA, said “The findings and recommendations in the whitepaper will help devise practical guidelines for the use of DLT in the banking sector in the future.” He acknowledged that “Hong Kong has made important progress in cross-border collaboration and the research on DLT applications. The collaborative efforts and enhanced research and talent development are the essential building blocks to facilitate financial innovation and prepare Hong Kong to advance to the new Smart Banking Era.”
Mr Alan Cheung Wei-lun, Director of Advanced Digital Systems at ASTRI, was a panellist in a discussion on ‘Whitepaper on the legal, regulatory and control principles of DLT’. The session was moderated by Mr Nelson Chow, Chief FinTech Officer of HKMA. Mr Cheung explained the role played by ASTRI in the development of the DLT Whitepaper 2.0. ASTRI provided unbiased and the most up-to-date technological information and insights on DLT, including references of application implementation. Working as part of a Digital Identity Management working group that also includes HKMA and five leading banks, ASTRI had performed a Proof-of-Concept-based feasibility study on using DLT-based Know Your Customers (KYC) processes in the sector. “We provided updates of DLT platforms including public as well as permissioned applications”. Mr Cheung added.
In the workshop session on Cybersecurity, Dr Andrew Wat Yiu-wing, Director of Data Analytics and Cybersecurity at ASTRI, co-presented along with Dr Lucas Hui Chi-kwong, Founder and Honorary Director of the Centre for Information Security and Cryptography at the University of Hong Kong. The session’s topics included building a cyber-risk-aware culture in businesses, grooming a cyber-defence-ready workforce, and deploying the right tools and systems to deter vicious cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity is a key focus in ASTRI’s FinTech R&D. ASTRI’s initiatives in that area include cyber-intelligence sharing, training of cybersecurity professionals and advanced cybersecurity research.
Over 5,000 financial services professionals, FinTech entrepreneurs, investors, inventors, researchers and executives from around the world discussed and debated the future of financial technologies at Hong Kong FinTech Week 2017. Senior officials and dignitaries who addressed the event included Hon James Henry Lau Jr, JP, Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury; and Mr Edward Yau Tang-wah, GBS, JP, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development; of the HKSAR Government.
Mr Lau spoke on behalf of the Hong Kong Government and its regulators saying, “We want to embrace Fintech innovators, and welcome them to the transformation of Hong Kong’s financial centre and its financial services.”
Pointing out to the fact that over 100 countries have signed up in the ‘Belt and Road’ programme, Mr Yau said that “Hong Kong can play a central role with financial and technical support” for all these economies, and encouraged Fintech companies to “make Hong Kong the launchpad for their businesses”.