Experts Talk Big Data, Privacy at Internet Economy Summit in Hong Kong

By Daniel Plafker, April 16, 2018

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Last week saw two major events kick off in Hong Kong to explore the vast and rapidly unfolding potential that lies at the intersection of tech and business. The Internet Economy Summit and Asia-Pacific Business Forum brought together dozens of luminaries from the fields of commerce, development, finance, media, government and tech.

That’s was on the scene to document the proceedings and chat with some of the best and brightest experts at the gathering. Below, we bring you highlights from an eventful and enlightening week in the Fragrant Harbor.

On changing with the times...

Zhou-Li.jpgChina Daily editorial board member Zhou Li kicked things off on Wednesday by offering some sage insights on the distinctive role of the Belt and Road Initiative in contemporary times. “We no longer use silk and we no longer use camel,” he told those assembled, clearing up some key differences between the today's ‘Digital Silk Road’ and the literal Silk Road trade routes of the past.

On the value of ‘big data’…

Winston-Cheng.jpgJD.com can "make money even when people aren’t buying," CEO Winston Cheng explained, citing 100,000 recently recorded search queries for a specific European luxury brand that the website doesn’t even carry. Despite the fact that no sales could have been made, knowledge of where consumer interest lies can be immeasurably valuable towards understanding markets.

On strong leadership…

201804/Dr-Shamshad-Akhtar.jpg

UN Under-Secretary-General Shamshad Akhtar had words of high praise to offer for Chinese President Xi Jinping, gushing that Xi’s speeches were “full of references to sustainable development goals” that “few leaders in the world have so strong a grasp of.” Her comments were met with much applause from the assembled crowd.

On Hong Kong’s cashless future…

201804/Ren-Jingxin.jpg

Ren Jingxin, CEO of Hong Kong’s Cyberport, while conceding that Hong Kong is still far behind the Chinese mainland in the development of cashless payment infrastructure, assured That’s that the Special Administrative Region is quickly catching up. Soon, he said, a single QR code will allow vendors to accept transfers from 16 different digital payment platforms and banks.

On regional cooperation… 

201804/Yang-Debin1.jpg

Hong Kong should not be seen as competing with Shenzhen and other cities in the Greater Bay Area” for regional tech supremacy, Yang Debin, Chief Information Officer of Hong Kong’s regional government, told That’s, “Shenzhen has world renowned talent and innovation while Hong Kong is a globalized city with a highly mature financial services infrastructure. These qualities should be seen as complementary and we should be looking at how to leverage them towards the cause of cooperation and mutual prosperity.”

On biometrics… 

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Zhong Xiangqun of the Bank of China (Hong Kong) had some unsettling revelations about the rapid rise of biometric technologies in the banking sector. “PINs can be forgotten or stolen, while signatures can be forged or change over time,” Zhong told That’s. "Facial recognition, fingerprints and even devices that can detect the unique vein patterning in people’s hands are more secure and reliable ways to confirm identities during financial transactions.” For phone banking, Zhong said voice recognition technology could match customers to a unique voice signature.

On data privacy…

Zhong assured That’s that no industry is more attuned to the sensitivity and discretion required when dealing with people’s personal data than the finance industry, explaining that the stakes are simply too high. Zhong was confident that the convenience and security offered by biometrics make it a sound choice for banking.

[Images via IES] 

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