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The chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of e-commerce and newly appointed chairman of the WTA (World Trustmark Alliance) Joseph Yuen has declared that online trust remains the No.1 issue in terms of accelerating digital transformation on a global scale in relation to e-commerce.

Telecom Review managed to secure an interview with the dynamic chairman of the WTA and Hong Kong Federation of e-commerce at ConnecTechAsia in Singapore, in an effort to understand his strategic approach to solidifying Hong Kong’s status as a leading international city for technological innovation and digital transformation.

In what was a truly engaging and insightful interview, Yuen highlighted his duties and responsibilities in both roles as chairman, the impact the deployment of 5G networks will have on Hong Kong, and the government’s decision to allocate $1bn towards its smart city vision.

Can you outline to us what your primary responsibilities and goals are as Board Chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of E-Commerce?

HKFEC is leveraging the advantage of Hong Kong being a well-developed international city as well as the entrance of mainland China market, to act as a hub for cross border ecommerce. In 2016, HKFEC has launched the Hong Kong Trust Mark scheme to help distinguish trusted online merchant for quality consumers. This is the core value of Hong Kong as a middle man for west and east ecommerce market.

The scheme has gained a lot of support from countries around the Belt and Road region, and has been nominated by the WSIS Prize for 2017 and 2018 from the United Nation at Geneva. In addition, HKFEC's achievement has been recognized by the World Trustmark Alliance (WTA).

HKFEC would definitely look forward to create a trusted and healthier ecommerce environment across the region.

Areas of focus will include:
1. Acting as a hub for industry coming in or going out of mainland China
2. Untaping the potential of traditional retail transforming into digital
3. Participating into the global development in IoT, big data, and Fintech to prepare for our members' future needs
4. Hopefully with the work on Trustmark, HKFEC can bring Hong Kong a center of certification to all E-Commerce players globally.

You were recently appointed as the new Chairman of WTA. Can you tell us what this role means to you, and how will you help to create a safe environment for future digital transformation?

Online trust will remain the number 1 issue in the global digital transformation, and that’s why the responsibility of WTA under my chairmanship will be very crucial to go beyond 2020. In today's market, it is very difficult to match customer's trust level between physical stores to a web store. This limits the development of product, payment, delivery and customer service for ecommerce.

 

WTA will continue our work to draw the attention to the market on:

  • Data privacy
  • Data security
  • Product integrity
  • Information transparency
  • Dispute resolution
  • Marketing practice
  • We currently have over 40 members, each represent an economic regions’ Trustmark operator. As the Chair city, Hong Kong is allowing further collaboration between the western and the East for the discussion in online trust.

 

What impact do you envisage the forthcoming deployment of 5G networks will have on the Hong Kong economy? What new business opportunities will this next-generation technology provide?

5G is the catalyst of all IoT applications. The uninterrupted wireless network connection brings almost all electronics devices connected to cloud, thus enabling a smart living. However this tremendous amount of AI devices will also create a huge data security and privacy issue that requires attention. Failing to manage it could lead to a bottleneck for massive adoption.

Hence, the opportunity for HK will be focused on smart living, a big push in share economy (a lot more location-based service is possible), Big Data analytics, and personalization of service on wearable devices.

The Hong Kong government has recently allocated $1bn for a new smart city program designed to transform the city. How can the Hong Kong Federation of E-Commerce help the successful implementation of smart city programs in Hong Kong?

We have doubt that the money can be used wisely to help the Hong Kong industry. The definition of innovation sometimes is not well defined by government. In the digital age, disruptive technology largely involves digitizing the common way of doing business or living.

If we put the beginning innovation of Alibaba or Uber, they will not be qualified for getting HK government’s funding support, because they have not invented any rocket science in the first place. If brilliant innovation like them would not get funded, how can anyone be beneficial?

HKFEC is leveraging the resources from the industry and event sponsorship, and we are to bring innovative ideas, international connections and industry influence for our members who are looking for development in this digital evolution. We are aspiring for a great future for HK companies to participate in Fintech, IoT, and Big Data business over the region.