Hong Kong regulator announces launch of blockchain-based platform eTradeConnect

Maria Nikolova

The blockchain-based trade finance platform was developed by a consortium of twelve major banks in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong makes further strides into the world of financial technologies, as the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has earlier today announced the official launch of eTradeConnect, a blockchain-based trade finance platform developed by a consortium of twelve major banks in Hong Kong.

Formerly known as the Hong Kong Trade Finance Platform, eTradeConnect aims to improve trade efficiency, build better trust among trade participants, reduce risks and facilitate trade counterparties to obtain financing by digitising trade documents, automating trade finance processes and leveraging the features of blockchain technology.

The commercialisation of the trade finance project was first announced in October 2017 arising from the results of an earlier proof-of-concept (PoC) trial facilitated by the HKMA. The project was initially led by seven major banks and later joined by five additional banks, adding up to a consortium of twelve member banks.

The list of seven major banks includes: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited, The Bank of East Asia Limited, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, Hang Seng Bank Limited, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited and Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited.

The five additional banks include: Agricultural Bank of China Limited, Bank of Communications Co Ltd, BNP Paribas, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Ltd and Shanghai Commercial Bank Ltd.

eTradeConnect is the first large-scale multi-bank blockchain project in Hong Kong.

Aiming to facilitate cross-border trades, the HKMA has been proactively looking for opportunities to connect eTradeConnect with trade platforms in other regions. Today, the HKMA witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the operators of eTradeConnect and we.trade to conduct a POC on connecting the two platforms.

Howard Lee, Deputy Chief Executive of the HKMA, said, “Our next key milestone is to link eTradeConnect with platforms from other regions in order to enable cross-border trade financing. The connection between eTradeConnect and we.trade platform paves the way for the digitalisation of cross-border trades in the Asia and Europe trade corridor, and will serve as a good reference for the future connection of eTradeConnect to other trade finance platforms.”

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