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Are Hong Kong fintechs really that bad to work for?

Hong Kong is undoubtedly a massive space for fintech; a 2022 study by InvestHK estimated there are over 500 fintech startups operating in the city. In the 2023 eFinancialCareers global fintech report, 90% of Hong Kong based respondents said they wanted to work in fintech, more than respondents in London, New York and Frankfurt. However, there are concerns that Hong Kong fintech jobs may not be quite as desirable from the inside.

At many of the most valuable Hong Kong fintechs, online employee reviews are quite underwhelming. ZA Bank, for example, Hong Kong's biggest digibank, has a Glassdoor rating of just 2.7 stars for Hong Kong employees, with 2023 reviews criticizing the "heavy workload," as well as "poor management, location and structure." One review does say, "the benefits are overall acceptable."

WeLab, a multidisciplinary fintech whose services include digibanking, was on the cusp of a $2bn valuation in November but has just a marginally higher rating of 2.9 stars. One 2023 review criticizes an "extremely backwards" culture that "says one thing and does another," though has praise for its "prime location."

An egregious example is Hyphen Group, a financial comparison infrastructure site, which has a more global presence. While overall reviews of the firm are a dubious 2.7 stars, Hong Kong based reviews are even lower at just 2.1 stars. Reviews have spoken of "serious problems with top management," and a "questionable company direction." The company may have taken steps to rectify that, appointing a new CEO in April and rebranding to the name MoneyHero.

A significant exception is crypto firm Airwallex. While overall reviews rate the fintech 3.4 stars, Hong Kong reviewers love the firm, giving it 4.7 stars. 2023 reviews say "the caliber of people is really high" at Airwallex, but it is "still going through some growing pains."

There are also a number of fintechs founded elsewhere building teams in the city. Some of them are building in Singapore as well, and it appears Hong Kong employees are more receptive to them.

European payments giant checkout.com has an average Glassdoor rating of 3.2 stars. In Singapore, that drops dramatically to 2.6, but Hong Kong employees rate the fintech 3.8 stars. They praise the "good benefits and work-life balance," but note the existence of a "steep learning curve."

Crypto firm OKX has an okay rating of 3.2 stars in Singapore, narrowly beaten by Hong Kong's rating of 3.3. Reviews there are very mixed, however; one 2023 review praises the "great people" and "technology driven" nature of the company, while another likens management to "gangsters in casinos."

While the culture may not impress, the pay just might if you work in product or tech. At OKX for example, Glassdoor estimates average product manager pay at HK$450k, well above the city's average of HK$100k. At Hyphen Group, developers are estimated to earn HK$384k, well over ten times the average amount of developers in the country.

Hong Kong fintech employees, does this sound accurate, or are reviewers underrating how enjoyable working at a Hong Kong fintech can be? Fill in our anonymous form or share your experience in the comments.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Reporter

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