Friday 11 November 2016 12:30 am

The new bridge to China heralds the start of a golden age for UK fintech

Eileen Burbidge is a partner at Passion Capital and HM Treasury’s special envoy for fintech.

Over the past few years I’ve witnessed first-hand the UK’s fintech sector emerge as the world’s dominant hub – over traditional technology centres such as Silicon Valley, New York, Israel, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

There is no question that more technology innovation and value creation in financial services comes from the UK than anywhere else in the world.

We have all the ingredients for success here: the best talent from a nation which houses the financial capital of the world, a world-renowned regulator committed to innovation, and a government which has placed competition in financial services at the heart of its agenda.

All these ingredients and commitments are bearing fruit – the UK fintech sector now employs more than 60,000 people and last year generated a massive £6.6bn in revenue.

But there are other countries snapping at our heels for this leadership position so we cannot afford to be complacent. We cannot rest on the laurels of our current success.

The UK government gets this. That’s why it continues to push forward, overcoming new barriers and strengthening ties between the UK’s market and the rest of the world.

Today marks an important step on this journey as the UK government established a fintech bridge with one of the key priority international markets – China.

China’s fintech sector has grown to a staggering size over the past few years. The alternative finance market alone is worth more than £98bn, it houses eight of the world’s 27 fintech unicorns and last year it received over £2bn worth of investment.

Naturally, some of the UK’s most ambitious fintech companies want to explore opportunities and set up operations in China, while at the same time Chinese fintech giants and investors are increasingly looking to meet the demand for financial services in the UK.

This new fintech bridge will streamline the dialogue between our two fintech sectors, making it easier for fintech to move across borders.

It is characterised by a regulatory co-operation agreement between our financial regulator and the People’s Bank of China. This allows information on market trends and regulatory developments in each country’s fintech sector to be shared more readily.

I look forward to seeing the first UK fintech companies enter China and also to seeing increased Chinese investment in the UK sector as the benefits of the bridge come to fruition.

I truly believe that this is the beginning of newly increased UK-China co-operation which will lead to a golden era for UK fintech.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.