The lobby group, which represents global banks and asset managers such as Goldman Sachs and BlackRock, has called on Asian regulators to coordinate better and to adopt a consistent set of best practices for fostering fintech in the region. Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia have launched a range of special programmes to attract and foster fintech ventures, from incubators and grants, to temporary license waiver schemes, with competition fiercest between Hong Kong and Singapore. While all these markets operate well-defined licensing and supervisory regimes for traditional financial firms including banks, brokers, insurance companies and funds, regulators are still struggling to establish clear and consistent regimes for fintech firms because they often operate innovative business models. Cryptocurrency exchanges, for example, are licensed as money changers and regulated by the customs authority in Hong Kong but they are licensed as online shopping malls, akin to clothes retailers, in South Korea.
In the economic sense, I mean.
But one realm in which Singapore never aspired to beat its rival is that of civil liberties — freedom of speech, protest rights and others. The vibrant media, freedom of speech and protest cultures Hongkongers enjoy have always filled me with envy.
But recent developments in Hong Kong have been rather disturbing, and all-too-familiar to what we experience here in Singapore. In a tumultuous year, Hongkongers have vociferously challenged government policies that led to the influx of Mainlanders; some Hong Kong media have shamelessly doctored the content of a an opinion piece, obsequiously glorified the Beijing-anointed Chief Executive elect and engaged in self-censorship; several high-level officials were mired in corruption and other scandals, including extramarital affairs and illegal home construction.
It seems timely to do a comparison to clear the air. In it, the author has argued cogently why GDP figures are a measure of the appearance of wealth more than actual wealth.
In fact, scouring the Internet for global surveys and rankings, we find that the two cities are very much on par with each other in terms of their economic and financial performance.
However, when it comes to the cost of living, Singapore outdoes Hong Kong by far. In the sphere of civil liberties and press freedom, Singapore is a laggard but the government has no qualms about it. So there you go. Simply saying Singapore is a cut above because it has a higher GDP is cherry-picking.
Hongkongers also have higher purchasing power, and living in Hong Kong today is more affordable than in Singapore. Even if rent is included, Singapore is still more expensive than Hong Kong. In civil liberties and press freedom, Singapore has pretty much nothing to boast about.
But all in all, Singaporeans are a happier people. What are the prospects of democratization for the two cities? Beijing is clearly foisting on Hong Kong the so-called China model of political repression cum economic liberalization.
But there is no knowing if Beijing may alter the rules of the game or pull strings behind the scene to ensure only approved candidates may stand for election before Hongkongers vote. Because China is unlikely to loosen its grip over civil liberties in both the Mainland and Hong Kong, Hongkongers have to continue to defend their rights and freedoms, an uphill task against the colossal state machinery of mainland China.
Although Hong Kong has dozens of newspapers, there are signs that even reputable newspapers like Mingpao have compromised on journalistic integrity. Disenfranchised Hongkongers influence government policy by taking to the streets and voicing out their unhappiness.
Notably, half a million people went on the streets in to stop the legislation of the controversial Article 23, and subsequently forced unpopular chief Tung Chee-hwa to step-down before his term ended. In Singapore, where there is no autonomous space for political participation, our only saving grace is the once-in-five-years General Election GE.
Since the last GE, there have been signs that the government is slightly more responsive, but at the same time, very little has changed in its style of governance. Press freedom in Singapore shows no sign of expanding soon while the internet continues to empower the younger generation.
PAP domination in the political process may recede, albeit gradually, as more opposition members are voted into parliament.
But a viable alternative government is yet to evolve. That Singaporeans are happy with their lot may not be a good thing too. That may signify that most are content with the status quo and are less likely to vote for change.
In contrast, Hongkongers may be less happy because they have always been politically shrewder or savvier and have a sense of crisis unlike more complacent Singaporeans. Singaporeans have much to learn from them.
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For over half a century the rivalry between Hong Kong and Singapore has surged on. Both are former British colonies, in addition to being two of the world’s busiest port cities and top financial centres. Mar 15, · Watch video · For decades, Hong Kong and Singapore have engaged in a more or less friendly competition for financial supremacy in Asia.
This week, the rivalry got unusually heated. Source: Bloomberg 16 March For decades, Hong Kong and Singapore have engaged in a more or less friendly competition for financial supremacy in Asia. It's abnormal that a city state with a median household income of around S$9, (US$6,), about 50 per cent higher than Hong Kong’s in , can register a level of private consumption as a.
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Asia’s competitiveness in fintech is being undermined by the rivalry among the region’s financial centers that has created regulatory complexity and uncertainty, a.