Mazars' Salansy shares the ins and outs of Hong Kong's tech scene

He says the spotlight is on fintechs and regtechs with the Wealth Management Connect Scheme.

Gilles-Alexandre Salansy, Partner and Director of Outsourcing at Mazars Hong Kong, is a certified public accountant with over 20 years of experience in France and Hong Kong. He currently heads Mazars’ international desk in Hong Kong, managing a portfolio of over 250 clients from Europe to North America and Asia Pacific.

Specialising in audit and transaction services, he is actively involved in innovation for the Hong Kong office, where his in-depth understanding of the market and expert knowledge of business regulations allow him to look for new ways of providing solutions to Mazars’ clients. He is also actively involved with the French Chamber and several NGOs in Hong Kong.

Chosen as one of the judges at this years’ HKB Technology Excellence Awards, Gilles-Alexandre Salansy thinks that the ongoing trend brought about by the pandemic revolves around technologies that facilitate flexible working and enhancement of cybersecurity.

In an interview, Hong Kong Business talked to Gilles-Alexandre as he shared insights on Hong Kong’s startup scene, the Greater Bay Area, and why Hongkongers are less likely to be manipulated by market rumours.

The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) announced that 108 start-ups just graduated their incubation programmes. What is your view on Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem? Which new products or services do you think would thrive post-crisis, especially with 5G on the table?

Given the experience of the pandemic, companies have been adopting more flexible work arrangements. In addition, with the increasing emphasis on the use of fintech and regtech due to the newly announced Wealth Management Connect Scheme, it is expected that the trend would be focusing on the application of fintech and regtech as well as technologies that facilitate flexible working and enhancement of cyber security.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and others recently floated a wealth management connect scheme to attract cross-border investments. What roles does the Greater Bay Area play in Hong Kong’s position as a financial and innovation hub?

With details of the scheme yet to be disclosed, it is expected that it would promote the exchange of funds between Mainland China and Hong Kong and provide a larger range of investment product choices for GBA residents. Residents in the Mainland could benefit from investing in international markets, and Hong Kong residents would be able to invest in investment products in the Mainland. These are financial market opportunities not available to any other finance hub.

In addition, this would increase the flow and use of renminbi outside of China and position Hong Kong as the main offshore RMB market.

With the demand from the newly opened market, innovative financial solutions and fintech solutions would be developed to meet the market demand.

Hong Kong has one of the most financial literate markets in the globe, says IFEC, but how is the country coping and which industries are staying resilient in these trying times?

With the effort of the Hong Kong government in educating the general public throughout these years, citizens are more able to make rational financial decisions for their assets and are less likely to be manipulated by market rumours. Hong Kong’s financial sector can stay resilient amidst the weakening of the global economy and may be able to help in the form of lending and loan rescheduling.

As a result of the efforts in maintaining the financial viability of the businesses in Hong Kong, businesses can withstand the downturn.

Aside from doubling down on tech and digital innovations, what do firms need to consider to become more profitable and sustainable in the future?

Firms would need to consider a two-pronged approach:

  • Adapt their ways of working through training, HR policy and corporate culture to promote diversity, flexibility and encourage innovation.
  • Re-consider their strategy in business positioning. Explore non-physical distribution channels and re-design their business model and focus more on serving a variety of customers, including both the local community and tourists other than from Mainland China.
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