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Hong Kong’s proving it’s the place to be for high tech start-ups

TechnologyJul 15, 2019 07:31AM ET
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Spotlight takes a look at high tech companies who've made the strategic decision to base themselves in Hong Kong.

CYBERPORT - the science and technology hubCyberport is Hong Kong's leading digital technology hub. With more than 1,300 companies large and small, it includes an incubator for fintech start-ups like FinFabrik.

Through trial and error, it developed digital trading technology using blockchain protocols. A Cyberport motto is ''We Dare to Venture.''

Florian Spiegl, Co-founder and COO, FinFabrik said, "I think Cyberport was crucial for our success, because as start-ups go along, and in the very early phases, it's all about experimenting and having the room to fail as well and to keep going. And a support network like Cyberport is very very important to nurture start-ups."

"Hong Kong is fantastic in terms of talent, specifically for a firm like us. We are engaging in quantitative trading, in essential securitisation of assets. That requires deep expertise. We have a large pool that we have access to, here in Hong Kong, and we hire quite actively," Spiegl added.

Cyberport can fit into a regional business plan as well, connecting firms to the Greater Bay Area that includes the booming city of Shenzhen, and beyond. The region is a manufacturing powerhouse in its own right, with 70 million consumers.

Eric Chan, Chief Public Mission Officer, Cyberport said, "It's been a great time for start-ups, because with this One Belt and One Road policy, and the Greater Bay Area blueprint that is out there, now we get a lot of exchange and interactions between the mainland and Hong Kong."

SUPPORT FOR START-UPSHong Kong Productivity Council supports both public and private projects, including some for driverless vehicles, adapting robotics to new technology, hydroponics and health, and sports tech.

Then there's the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park, sharing lab facilities for budding biotech firms like Opharmic, which is developing a way to deliver medication inside the eye using ultrasound instead of needles.

Jan Engels, Co-founder, Opharmic Technology said, "They have a lot of research grants, for start-ups, start-up grants and a lot of collaborative grants with local universities, connect us to investors, we have cheap office space to rent, and some other opportunities to connect. The whole Greater Bay Area is a very attractive market for us, also later on for the production of our medical device."

Science Park is also where the European industrial giant Siemens is developing Smart Cities technology for things like better mobility, smarter energy use, and more efficient traffic management, using the city as a proving ground and a showcase for potential clients from around the world.

Eric Chong, President, and CEO, Siemens Hong Kong said, "Hong Kong is the best place for Smart City development, it's highly dense and very demanding. And when in Hong Kong I think that Hong Kong Science Park is a pre-eminent cluster, in terms of having a good mix of companies and ecosystems."

QUALITY OF LIFEEric Chong added "Most people in Hong Kong work very hard. Don't get me wrong, I think we do work very hard, but we do know when to relax after work."

Florian Spiegl added, "I'm more on the outdoors, I like sports, and in Hong Kong, we have hundreds of hiking trails in the green hills around Hong Kong. You can take an hour boat ride and arrive at beautiful beaches. I go biking every weekend, bike out of the city, into the country parks. It's wonderful. I think it’s part of the magic of Hong Kong."

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Hong Kong’s proving it’s the place to be for high tech start-ups

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