Tencent Financial Academy, a subsidiary of Chinese Internet giant Tencent, has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the University of Hong Kong to collaborate on fintech research and development projects.
The university will offer a fintech course in its bachelor program this September, with plans to offer internship opportunities to students as well as organize workshops and guest lectures, while the fintech and blockchain lab within the university’s computer science department will work with Tencent on joint fintech-related research projects.
China’s fintech scene is an increasingly competitive with tech behemoths like Alibaba’s Ant Financial and Ping An Group’s Ping An Technology eager to establish their reign. As the operator of one of China’s largest payment platforms, WeChat Pay, Tencent has gained technological expertise in fintech and payment systems, and is seeking a competitive edge over its peers.
Established in June, Tencent Financial Academy has largely been focusing on technological research and development (R&D) in Hong Kong, the region’s fintech and blockchain hub. In January, Tencent entered a partnership with Hong Kong Science and Technology Park with the aim to accelerate fintech R&D in the region.
China’s blockchain development is in full swing and a report from IPRdaily in September 2018 showed that Chinese firms took 57 spots in the “Top-100 Blockchain Enterprise Patent Rankings” list, according to the global intellectual property information media outlet.
Chinese and American companies feature prominently on the list and Chinese technology companies took half of the top 10. Alibaba, together with its affiliate company Ant Financial ranked first on the list with 90 related public patent applications. Other companies high on the list were the People’s Bank of China, at 5th place with 44 patents, followed by Tencent (40 patents), Fuzamei (39 patents) and VeChain (38 patents).
According to the University of Hong Kong, the three major areas covered by the MOU are:
1. TFAHK will collaborate with HKU to enhance the HKU’s BASc (FinTech) undergraduate programme, which will be rolled out in September 2019, and provide students with activities like workshops, guest lectures, talks and company visits, etc.
2. TFAHK will provide a fixed quota of internship opportunities for HKU students for four consecutive academic years, starting from the new semester.
3. The FinTech & Blockchain Lab of the Department of Computer Science of HKU will collaborate with TFAHK on joint FinTech-related research and development projects.
HKU will launch a new BASc (FinTech) undergraduate programme in the 2019–20 academic year to nurture talent in different aspects of FinTech, preparing its graduates to conduct research in the field. Established in June 2018, TFAHK aims to cultivate cross-sector talent in the field of finance and technology while meeting the development needs of the financial industry.
Professor Christopher Chao, Dean of Engineering of HKU, said: “FinTech has become a global development trend. Our new degree programme in FinTech in the new academic year will equip students with knowledge in this area.”
Jim Lai, Vice President of Tencent, President of Financial Technology Group and Dean of Tencent Finance Academy, said: “Since its establishment, Tencent Finance Academy (Hong Kong) has strived to promote cross-industry development in the internet and finance industries, and to nurture innovative talent for FinTech in Hong Kong. Looking ahead, we will actively cooperate with different universities, financial experts and enterprises to exchange ideas and launch new projects, with a view to advancing FinTech knowledge as well as developing more industry elites.”