HK a ‘ hot spot for star­tups’, trade of­fice di­rec­tor says

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By CHEN JIA in San Fran­cisco chen­jia@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Sub­rina Chow, di­rec­tor of the Hong Kong Eco­nomic and Trade Of­fice in San Fran­cisco, was cel­e­brat­ing more than just the Year of the Horse at the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s an­nual spring din­ner re­cep­tion. She was also re­joic­ing in Hong Kong’s grow­ing ap­peal to en­trepreneurs.

Watch­ing Chi­nese li­ons dance and eat­ing dim sum, more than 300 Bay Area busi­ness lead­ers, academics and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials cel­e­brated the new year at the trade of­fice’s an­nual din­ner.

“In 2013, many Bay Area or­ga­ni­za­tions part­nered with the of­fice in or­ga­ni­za­tion ma­jor busi­ness and arts events to pro­mote Hong Kong’s in­no­va­tion, tech­nol­ogy and cre­ative in­dus­tries,” Chow said. “With the num­ber of in­cu­ba­tors and co-work spa­ces grow­ing five times over the last four years, Hong Kong is now one of the hot spots for global star­tups.”

As di­rec­tor of the Hong Kong Eco­nomic and Trade Of­fice in San Fran­cisco, Chow rep­re­sents the Hong Kong spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion gov­ern­ment in fos­ter­ing eco­nomic ties be­tween Hong Kong and 19 states in the western US. Her of­fice pro­vides in­for­ma­tion and sup­port to busi­nesses in the re­gion look­ing to es­tab­lish or ex­pand their pres­ence in Hong Kong as well as those in­ter­ested in en­ter­ing the Chi­nese Main­land and other Asian mar­kets via Hong Kong.

E nt r e p r e n e u r s are in­creas­ingly com­ing to San Fran­cisco to ex­pand their busi­ness in the Asia Pa­cific re­gion, Chow said. As a re­sult, the Hong Kong Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Parks Cor­po­ra­tion has been home to around 440 com­pa­nies, 70 per­cent of which are en­gaged in re­search and de­vel­op­ment, Chow said. The park is 96 per­cent oc­cu­pied.

In the com­ing months, the park will make avail­able 600,000 square feet of pre­mium qual­ity R&D space. A park del­e­ga­tion vis­ited San Fran­cisco Bay Area last month to lure more in­ter­na­tional in­no­va­tors to the area, Chow said.

Hong Kong has en­dured the global eco­nomic gy­ra­tions of the past few years fairly well, with GDP growth for 2013 fore­cast at 3 per­cent, Chow said. US-Hong Kong trade ties also have re­mained strong, she said. From Januar y through Novem­ber, US ex­ports to Hong Kong reached nearly $39 bil­lion, up 17.5 per­cent from the same pe­riod a year ear­lier.

In the Year of Horse, the of­fice will con­tinue to fos­ter part­ner­ships with or­ga­ni­za­tions in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia and look for op­por­tu­ni­ties for the Bay Area and Hong Kong to ex­change ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise, she said. For ex­am­ple, the of­fice will join CAAMFest, known be­fore last year as the San Fran­cisco In­ter­na­tional Asian Amer­i­can Film Fes­ti­val, as a spon­sor next month for the first time. The Way We Dance, a film sup­ported by the Hong Kong De­vel­op­ment Fund, and Beau­ti­ful 2013, a pro­duc­tion com­mis­sioned by the Hong Kong In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, will be shown at the fes­ti­val.

Ni­cholas Unkovic, a part­ner with the Squire San­ders (US) LLP le­gal firm, said Hong Kong “con­tin­ues to be an im­por­tant gate­way or launch­ing pad for Chi­nese busi­nesses go­ing abroad, as well as a point of en­try for over­seas com­pa­nies” mov­ing to Asia.

“The growth we are see­ing is more re­lated to out­bound in­vest­ments by main­land Chi­nese com­pa­nies, es­pe­cially in real es­tate and high tech,” Unkovic said.

The firm’s Chi­nese clients are se­lec­tive and re­al­is­tic about their ac­qui­si­tion tar­gets, rather than seek­ing tro­phy buys, he said. “It’s a very ac­tive area of merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions for us.”

CHEN JIA / CHINA DAILY

Wil­liam Fuller, Pres­i­dent Emer­i­tus of the Asian Foun­da­tion (left) chats with Sub­rina Chow, di­rec­tor of the Hong Kong Eco­nomic and Trade Of­fice in San Fran­cisco, at the Spring Re­cep­tion of the Hong Kong Eco­nomic and Trade Of­fice in San Fran­cisco on Wed­nes­day.

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