Bank of Lithuania

Lithuania highly visible on the global Fintech map also becomes the 17 + 1 financial technology coordination centre. This was formally confirmed on Wednesday at the 17 + 1 High Level Fintech Forum for the first time taking place in Vilnius and bringing together the representatives from the ministries of finance and central banks of China and 17 Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs).

At the Forum the participants discuss how the Fintech innovation may be used to promote economic development and trade with China, as well as search for the ways to manage the risks linked to the development of financial innovation. According to Minister of Finance Vilius Šapoka, CEECs and China are important trading partners, while the growing potential of e-commerce and innovation such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and etc. may and should be used to facilitate international trade.

Such level discussion organised for the first time in Vilnius shows that Lithuania is a serious competitor for major European financial centres. During the Forum we will discuss how to make use of the latest technologies in the field of faster and cheaper cross-border payments, to help our small and medium-sized enterprises to reach new markets and to promote greater economic growth. The 17 + 1 Fintech coordinators’ network created at the Forum will ensure our further cooperation, exchange of relevant information and the implementation of ideas expressed at the Forum,” says Minister of Finance Vilius Šapoka.

The 17 + 1 Fintech coordinators’ network consisting of the representatives from the ministries of finance and central banks of China and CEECs will act as a platform for discussions. The network will enable the exchange of up-to-date information between policy makers and regulators, assess the opportunities offered by the sector, ensure cooperation, encourage the adoption of state-of-the-art technologies in the countries and a more efficient management of risks.

“Regulatory environment conducive to innovation enabled Lithuania to anchor as a gateway for financial technology companies from the third countries to operate on the European banking and payments market. Apparently this opportunity has been already used by or is of active interest to the increasing number of innovative companies from all over the world, including China, – at present nine Chinese capital Fintech companies are licensed in Lithuania. Fintech initiatives may contribute to the development of closer financial and economic ties between the EU and China, thus offering new opportunities for the European and also Lithuanian business“, says Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania Vitas Vasiliauskas.

The 17 + 1 Fintech Forum for the first time attracted to Lithuania a particularly large business delegation from China. Together with Vice Governor of the Central Bank Hexin Zhu and Head of the 17 + 1 Secretariat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Yushen Huo also arrived the representatives from the largest Chinese Association of Fintech Companies and market participants such as Huifu Payments, Epay Limited, 9F International and others.

The 17 + 1 Fintech coordinators’ network activities are expected not only to contribute to the Fintech development, but also to promote economic growth, trade and tourist flows between the regions. The exchange of best practice will allow the countries to deploy the most advanced technology and innovation in different sectors (not only in financial services), also will help to better understand and manage cross-border risks faced by the Fintech sector.


About the 17 + 1 High Level Fintech Forum:

  • In 2012 China proposed a new format for cooperation between Central and Eastern European countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia). In April 2019 Greece became another participant of this format. The countries cooperate in a wide range of areas, such as transport, trade and agriculture, financial technology, people-to-people contacts, etc.
  • On 13 April 2019 the 8th Summit of China and CEECs concluded the Dubrovnik Guidelines for Cooperation between China and CEECs (the 17+1 cooperation format). Among other areas of agreed cooperation, prime-ministers welcoming Lithuania’s achievements in Fintech decided to establish the 17 + 1 financial technology coordinators’ network and to organise the 17 + 1 High Level Fintech Forum in Vilnius.
  • The Forum is organised by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania and the Bank of Lithuania.
  • High level representatives from the ministries of finance and central banks of China and 17 CEECs: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia participate in the Forum.
  • The representatives of all European Union countries that do not belong to the 17 + 1 format also participate in the Forum as observers.