The FinTech Association of Hong Kong (FTAHK) has released the results of a new survey of the local Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data ecosystem. The survey illustrates the current situation and points to future opportunities for the sector in Hong Kong.
The findings show that 75% of respondents have chosen Hong Kong as their headquarters while around 70% regard Hong Kong as their top market. These results align with recent similar surveys ranking Hong Kong in the top three attractive locations for AI in Asia.
The survey was led by Chris Barford and Guillaume Huet and, co-chairs of FTAHK’s AI and Big Data Committee, and was based on responses from over 60 companies from across the regional AI and Big Data ecosystem. These companies are involved in activities including analytics and business intelligence, core AI, conversational AI/bots as well supporting FinTech organisations.
Other key findings from the survey include:
- Hong Kong is viewed as an attractive location to build a business based on AI & Big Data thanks to its well-developed and thriving ecosystem of AI companies
- AI & Big Data companies in Hong Kong are looking to expand and are focused on hiring engineers, product managers and analytics staff
- There is a continued desire for government support around customer education and nurturing talent, as well as in addressing regulatory challenges
Around 80% of survey respondents indicated plans to increase headcount. While job opportunities exist in all areas of AI and Big Data technology, software engineering and product management roles currently feature most heavily in hiring plans. By 2025 respondents expect there to be an increased focus on hiring staff skilled in classification and pattern identification as well as in value forecasts.
These developments reflect multiple initiatives by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to cultivate the local AI ecosystem by introducing career acceleration schemes as well as encouraging institutional facilitation of financial innovation.
To ensure the continued success of the sector, survey respondents also indicated how the Hong Kong government could help address a number of challenges. These centre around a near term focus on changing public attitudes and a longer-term driver for regulatory change.
For example, initiatives to open up the AI & Big Data sector by providing greater education on data literacy and analytics can help ensure the continued availability of top talent. The regulatory environment should also evolve to support new entrants and innovative business models whilst promoting fairness, ethics, accountability and transparency in the industry.
As part of the survey, FTAHK undertook a mapping exercise to gain a full picture of the current state of Hong Kong’s Big Data and AI ecosystem. This has provided for the first time a detailed picture of the industry in Hong Kong and how it is supported by a wide variety of local partners from both private and public sources.
Commenting on the survey results, Professor Lapman Lee and Medhy Souidi, FTAHK Board Members and Sponsors of the AI and Big Data Committee, said: “This survey shows how the Big Data and AI ecosystem in Hong Kong is continuing to develop and grow, not only in terms of number of companies, but also in breadth and depth. This is testimony to Hong Kong’s thriving overall FinTech ecosystem, its world-class financial markets and institutions, and its supporting legal and regulatory environment. Hong Kong is fertile ground for AI and Big Data companies wanting to expand into Mainland China, North Asia and internationally.”