Lithuania positions itself as China’s FinTech gateway to Europe

Lithuania is ready to welcome Chinese FinTech companies and serve as a gateway providing access to CEE and EU markets. Marius Jurgilas, a board member at the Bank of Lithuania, presented Lithuania’s experience and future plans in the field of FinTech at a key China Investment Forum held in Prague in mid-October.

“We have already established close ties with Asian authorities regarding maintaining regulatory flexibility, and are building bridges for FinTech businesses in the region,” said Mr Jurgilas. “Banks, electronic money and payment institutions can all gain easy access to Europe’s fast-paced payments market via infrastructure provided and maintained by the Bank of Lithuania.”

According to Mr Jurgilas, Lithuania is boosting its international standing as a FinTech-friendly jurisdiction by developing a FinTech coordination centre of the 16+1 framework in the country’s capital Vilnius.

In addition, the country is organising a high-level FinTech conference to be held in Vilnius in October 2019.

To date, the Bank of Lithuania has already issued four Chinese companies with electronic money institution licences and one payment institution licence. There are also an addition 10 companies looking to join the bank’s central payment system Centrolink.

In particular, Mr Jurgilas highlighted the quick authorisation process and broad choice of business models, ranging from electronic money or payment institutions to specialised banks, as some of the key elements of Lithuania’s FinTech regulatory regime.

Cultivating a FinTech-conducive regulatory and supervisory ecosystem and fostering innovations in the financial sector is part of the bank’s key strategic goals for up to and including 2020. The bank and local authorities in Lithuania are working hard to create an environment that would attract new FinTech companies and encourage them to innovate in Lithuania.

The 16+1 framework is a Chinese initiative aimed at expanding China’s cooperation with 16 countries in emerging Europe: 11 EU member states (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) as well as five countries in the Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia), in the fields of transport, investment, finance, agriculture, healthcare, education and culture.

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