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Hong Kong Launches Web3 Institute With Tacit Support of Beijing

Notably, the institute appears to have backing from Beijing, as its founding members, honorary chairpersons, and advisory board members include former high-level government officials, members of the city's legislative council, and technology entrepreneurs from mainland China.

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Hong Kong is set to establish itself as a prominent blockchain technology hub in the region with the launch of a new Web3 institute, which is led by Norman Chan, the former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), and Li Feng, the CEO of China Mobile International, as its honorary chairperson.

The Institute of WEB3.0 aims to help the development of the next-generation Internet built around blockchain, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT). According to its profile, it "aims to gather Web3.0-related companies and professionals, improve Web3.0 technology and applications, and provide strong support for the construction of digital ecosystems in Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area, and the world."

The non-profit will also focus on the monetization of data, digitalization of traditional industries and the tokenization of assets, especially through non-fungible tokens.

Having served as the head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) for a decade, Chan's considerable expertise in traditional finance is expected to guide the new institute towards establishing robust standards for digital currencies, as noted by experts. In addition to creating a cohesive framework, the institute is also focused on nurturing local talent and fostering enhanced collaboration among industry stakeholders.

Development of crypto hub

The establishment of the Web3 institute and the growing interest from Chinese banks are encouraging developments for the crypto industry and the broader ecosystem, particularly for the city, which has been making moves in the space to compete with regional rival Singapore.

Over 80 firms have already expressed interest in setting up operations in Hong Kong since the government announced its plans to boost the digital currency industry.

The creation of the Web3 institute follows Hong Kong's plans to launch a Web3 fund to attract digital currency firms to the city-state. The Web3 fund is expected to be a decisive factor for many fintech firms deciding between Hong Kong and Singapore as their base of operations.

Chinese banks have also been closely monitoring Hong Kong's digital currency plans and have been seen at Web3 events and engaging with virtual asset service providers to explore business opportunities. This has been interpreted as a positive sign that the Chinese government may reconsider its ban on digital currencies, which was imposed in 2021 and led to many digital currency firms relocating to more favorable regulatory jurisdictions.

Related: Hong Kong to Accelerate Web3 Development

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