INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong's startup scene takes off amidst strong government support

AI, biomedicine and fintech are amongst key development areas in its bid to be the next Silicon Valley.

As innovation and technology become the new driving engines of Hong Kong’s economy, the local startup scene has taken off thanks to sustained government initiatives enabling Hong Kong to clinch a spot as one of the world’s top startup hubs, according to Financial Secretary Paul Chan who spoke at the StartmeupHK Venture Festival last January 29. 

In 2016 alone, there were 2,300 startups that generated more than 6,300 employment opportunities, according to InvestHK’s data cited by Chan. 

Moreover, sustained government initiatives fostered Hong Kong’s increasingly lively startup ecosystem as the government shows its commitment to the sector by allocating over US$3b since 2015 to develop the necessary technological infrastructure conducive to scale small businesses. 

“One key initiative to support start-ups is the Innovation and Technology Venture Fund. Some US$256 million has been set aside to invest in local I&T start-ups, working with select private-venture capital funds in an investment ratio of 1:2,” said Chan. 

The Public Sector Trial Scheme has also been extended to provide as much as US$130,000 in R&D assistance for companies in Hong Kong Science Park and Cyberport. 

The development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area is also projected bring a wealth of opportunities for startups to tap into the bay area’s talent pool, manufacturing capabilities and various technical strengths. 

“Amongst other things, (the) bay area development will bring exceptional opportunities for Hong Kong to join hands with Shenzhen and other bay area cities to develop an international innovation and technology centre very much like Silicon Valley,” said Chan. 

Moving forward, key areas for development that leverages Hong Kong’s existing strengths and capabilities include AI and big data analytics, biomedicine, smart city and fintech.

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