7Nov 2023

Hong Kong Recap & Takeaways

by Matthew Harcourt

Last week I had the opportunity to visit one of the leading financial centres in Asia, Hong Kong, for the first time. In recent years the crypto asset community in Hong Kong has been negatively impacted by the prolonged lockdowns, with a large number of expats leaving the city for other crypto hubs like Singapore. After lockdowns were lifted only earlier this year, it is now fair to say that Hong Kong is back in full swing. The reopening of Hong Kong was a common talking point throughout the week, with the reinvigorated excitement around the city being palpable. 


The Crypto and FinTech industries came together for the week as the government backed ‘Hong Kong FinTech Week’ was occurring, the conference boasts 30,000 attendees and 500 speakers over the week. The FinTech week meant that there were plenty of side events to attend as well as a general congregation of market participants from around the APAC region. While the team has visited Singapore in recent years to attend conferences and meet the international community, it was exciting to see Hong Kong act as another hub for the industry. 

Only months ago, Hong Kong approved the first retail crypto asset exchanges, marking the beginning of a sentiment shift into acceptance of digital assets. Many conversations I had throughout the week confirmed the view that the Hong Kong administration is making these moves into the adoption of crypto assets in order to remain competitive as a global financial hub. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has demonstrated an in-depth understanding of digital assets in their recent publications regarding Central Bank Digital Currencies, leading many to believe that some form of CBDC in Hong Kong is on the horizon. 


This sentiment shift from the leaders of Hong Kong has trickled down into the traditional institutions and family offices located in the city, with driven and ambitious employees at traditional financial institutions leading the charge within these firms. I am confident that Hong Kong is one of the leading crypto hubs from an institutional acceptance perspective in the world. Supporting this point, during the week I took part in directly educating the risk team of a significant Hong Kong based financial institution about crypto, diving into topics such as custody, transaction processing and the tracing of funds. The willingness of this financial institution to bring in knowledgable third parties to explore the topic is not something I believe would be common in other jurisdictions. 

The crypto native community within Hong Kong was also vibrant and likely to grow considerably over the foreseeable future due to the growing acceptance of digital assets. With the local community being negatively impacted by the sustained lockdowns over the past few years, it was encouraging to see them so positive about the city moving forward. I expect the crypto native community to grow considerably within Hong Kong over the next few years as builders and developers look for more favourable jurisdictions. 


Overall I am bullish on the future of crypto in Hong Kong and believe the city will play an increasingly significant role in the development of the market in the coming years.

Matthew Harcourt

Matthew has been actively investing in the crypto markets for 7 years and holds a Bachelor of Business from Monash University, majoring in Accounting. Matthew focuses on portfolio construction through thorough research and analysis of crypto protocols as well as execution of investments and strategies. Matthew’s passion lies in supporting portfolio companies through advisory on tokenomics and strategy, adding significant value to Apollo’s early-stage investments.