Date: 21 Nov 2018
As Asia’s leading financial hub, Hong Kong is highly vulnerable to malicious cyber attacks. The territory is on the hunt for solutions and services to strengthen its cyber security defences, opening up opportunities for Australia’s cyber security firms and training providers.
The number of cyber security and IT security breaches is growing year-on-year and the impact of these breaches is becoming more significant. In 2017, more than 5.68 million people or 77.9 per cent of the Hong Kong population had smartphones, reinforcing just how many people are exposed to cyber security attacks on a daily basis. The potential economic losses in Hong Kong because of cyber security attacks could hit US$249.6 billion annually.
A large number of companies in Hong Kong are unprepared for cyber attacks. The installation rate of basic security software is high but the security level is very low and easily penetrable, often even lacking any kind of encryption or two-factor authentication.
The financial services sector is one of the four key industries in Hong Kong and accounted for 18 per cent of Hong Kong’s GDP in 2016. Due to its size and economic importance, Hong Kong’s financial services sector, including banking and insurance, are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks.
To protect Hong Kong’s reputation as the premier financial hub in Asia, the Hong Kong Government has enacted a number of initiatives such as the Digital 21 Strategy and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Cyber Security Fortification Initiative, and established the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute’s Security Lab. These initiatives aim to provide investor confidence in the security standards of Hong Kong companies.
However, despite the initiatives from the Hong Kong Government and other regulatory authorities, there is still a considerable gap between the current and desired level of cyber security protection.
Given the importance Hong Kong places on its financial services sector, investment in upgrading information technology capabilities, particularly related to data analytics and cyber security solutions, is set to significantly increase. Spending on IT solutions is forecast to rise from HK$40.3 billion (approximately A$7.1 billion) in 2018 to HK$49.4 billion (approximately A$8.7 billion) in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate of 7 per cent.
Australia in prime position
As a leader in cyber technology and IT security, research and education, Australian companies will find plenty of opportunities to assist Hong Kong to increase its knowledge and levels of cyber security.
The key drivers of cyber security demand include public demand for better protection of personal information and data; increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber security threats; regulatory pressure; and interest in new cyber security technology applications. There are strong opportunities in the following:
Austrade is hosting a free webinar on Hong Kong’s cyber security market, where representatives from the Hong Kong Government, private sector, and industry associations will share their views on the trends, opportunities and developments in Hong Kong’s cyber security market on 21 November 2018.