April 12, 2023
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Tuesday established the Institute of Web 3.0 Hong Kong backed by business moguls and government officials, as part of its efforts to punch above its weight as an international fintech hub.
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said in his officiating guest speech during the launch ceremony that “The development of Web 3.0 is at a crucial juncture, and Hong Kong must have the courage to become a trailblazer in this wave of innovation.”
Norman Chan Tak-lam, chairman of the council of the Institute of Web3.0 Hong Kong, said in his opening remarks that Hong Kong’s ability to establish a leading position in the global digital economy will depend on its success in Web 3.0
Web 3.0 refers to the third generation in the evolution of web technologies, with content presented in multiple formats including graphics, text, video and real-time 3D interaction.
Lee said he hopes the institute will collaborate with the local government to accelerate the development of technology, innovation and finance, as well as attract more talent and businesses to the city.
“Web 3.0 plays a critical role in advancing the fintech sector,” Lee noted, adding that some leading technology firms and startups have recently considered expanding their business in Hong Kong.
These include virtual asset exchanges, blockchain infrastructure companies, virtual currency wallets and payment enterprises, which are believed to help drive the development of Web 3.0, the city’s leader added.
The remarks gave substance to the pro-virtual assets policy stance laid out last year, as well as the announcement of new crypto regulations that will take effect in June. The regulation will allow retail investors to buy large-cap cryptocurrency tokens.
Norman Chan Tak-lam, chairman of the council of the Institute of Web3.0 Hong Kong, said in his opening remarks that Hong Kong’s ability to establish a leading position in the global digital economy will depend on its success in Web 3.0.
Hong Kong must promote industry digitization to enhance productivity, competitiveness, and customer experience, while also prioritizing asset digitization, said Chan, who is also the former chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
“In addition to cryptocurrencies and digital artwork, there are numerous tangible or traditional assets that can be digitized but have yet to be fully explored,” he added.
The chairmen of the institute include Li Feng, chairman and CEO of China Mobile International Ltd and chairman of China Mobile Hong Kong Company Ltd, and Chen Chun, member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui Ching-yu; Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Sun Dong; and Secretary for the Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung attended the institute’s inauguration.
Hong Kong has launched a suite of programs to bolster the Web 3.0 ecosystem, such as a HK$50 million ($6.37 million) fund for Cyberport to organize related international events and workshops for young people, according to the 2023-24 Budget released in February.
Writing in his official blog posted on Sunday, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po noted this is the best time to develop Web 3.0 despite the tumultuous period that the virtual asset market has experienced in the past few months, which caused some people to doubt the prospects of Web 3.0.
“In the next phase, market participants are expected to deepen their development of blockchain to allow for its transparent, efficient, secure, decentralized, platform-free, and low-cost characteristics and advantages to find wider application scenarios, solve more pain points in existing business models, and even address monopoly issues,” Chan said.
The finance chief noted that the two-day Digital Economy Summit is set to kick off on Thursday, which is expected to draw technology, finance, and academia leaders as well as entrepreneurs from across the globe to Hong Kong.
He added that other events focusing on various topics, such as Web 3.0 infrastructure, trading platforms, and virtual assets, will also take place this week.