WOW Summit Hong Kong 2023: Industry Leaders Agree that Hong Kong and Asia are Poised to Grow Stronger in Web3
It was hotly anticipated — the WOW (World of Web3) Summit held in Hong Kong at Asia World-Expo over a month ago — being the first large-scale Web3 event in the ex-British colony post pandemic. An overview by Ceecee Wong, contributor to Blockleaders.io
Well-supported by the Hong Kong government, the 2-day event, which ended with the popular Hong Kong Sevens that weekend, hosted 2 stages packed with renowned industry speakers, influencers and professionals. Topics explored included the Web2 to Web3 transition, the future of the internet as well as in-game economies, amongst other talking points. However, the central point of most discussions was Hong Kong’s role in all of this — with Hong Kong once again being open and Web3 very much on the agenda of the government.
Discussing the future of Web3, Patrick Tsang, Chairman of Tsang’s Group, felt that the state was definitely going in the right direction: “I’m very bullish on Hong Kong. I think this year or next year, we’re going to see a lot more investment from family offices and different kinds of investors… The Financial Secretary is also introducing new measures for digital assets which are not Web3 exactly but it’s in a similar kind of space. I think Singapore is going the other way, which is good news for us in Hong Kong.”
Minh Do, Co-Chief Operating Officer of Animoca Brands, noted that Hong Kong had a natural advantage when it came to Web3 because Web3 had a financial element to it that needed to be well regulated by the local government. The Hong Kong authorities and regulators were very well positioned to do that because of its very similar makeup to financial markets.
“However we do see that Hong Kong also will be reliant on the Wider GBA (stands for Greater Bay Area, referring to these regions: Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao) partnerships because GBA is going to open up corridors to talent and to creativity across the greater China and GBA region,” added Minh Do.
According to Minh, while the US was still overall leading the way in terms of content generation, the general consensus appeared to be that the Western markets were likely to fall behind in Web3 because of the current regulatory response from the US government, whereas governments like Hong Kong, Korea and Japan in particular, have positioned themselves to be “very strong in Web3”.
Fred Sun, Head of Strategy at Tencent Cloud International, pointed out that a lot of the Web3 audience, the user communities, “have been coming from the Asian region”. He added, “Hong Kong and Singapore are obviously the hubs, but the vast majority of the users are the Gen Z population in Southeast Asia — in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Hong Kong and Singapore too, obviously, but the population isn’t that big here. But if you look at the users, they’re here in Asia.”
With the commencement of the licensing regime for virtual asset service providers (VASP) in Hong Kong on March 1st, crypto exchange OKX, is en route to obtaining their VASP license. OKX, who is also the main sponsor of WOW Summit Hong Kong, grew from a small office in Causeway Bay Hong Kong five years ago to the global exchange giant it is today. Managing Director of OKX Global Institutional Lennix Lai spoke on the transformative power of Web3 technology in banking the unbanked. He proffered that the previously over 2 billion number of unbanked has been consistently decreasing with the advent of decentralized finance and blockchain-based solutions which have been reshaping the financial landscape and offering unprecedented opportunities for individuals excluded from traditional banking systems.