HK: spring­board for star­tups

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By NA LI in Toronto re­nali@chi­nadai­

Hong Kong is an ideal spring­board for star­tups look­ing to bring their ideas and prod­ucts to Asian mar­kets, said Kathy Chan, the di­rec­tor of the Hong Kong Eco­nomic and Trade Of­fice (Toronto) (HKETO) at an in­no­va­tion con­fer­ence ti­tled “Hong Kong Meets Toronto: In­no­va­tion Show­case” last week.

“Not only do we speak the same lan­guage, prac­tise the com­mon law sys­tem, have an open and trans­par­ent mar­ket, im­ple­ment a vig­or­ous in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty regime and adopt a sim­ple tax sys­tem with low tax rates, we also main­tain an in­ter­na­tional trade net­work and in par­tic­u­lar en­joy pref­er­en­tial ac­cess to the vast main­land … mar­ket,” Chan said.

“Hong Kong also has pro­fes­sion­als who have the ties and knowl­edge to help you do busi­ness with (the main­land) and the rest of Asia,” she added.

The con­fer­ence co-or­gan­ised by HKETO and the Toronto-based MaRS Dis­cov­ery Dis­trict (MaRS) at­tracted nu­mer­ous in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy star­tups from Canada and Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Cy­ber­port Man­age­ment Com­pany Lim­ited, an in­no­va­tion hub based in Hong Kong and led by CEO Her­man Lam, joined the con­fer­ence.

Ac­cord­ing to Chan, Cy­ber­port has played a key role in groom­ing in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy (ICT) tal­ent and has suc­cess­fully nur­tured more than 160 star­tups in the past 10 years.

MaRS and Cy­ber­port an­nounced a part­ner­ship fo­cused on driv­ing fi­nan­cial tech­nol­ogy (fintech) in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship in Hong Kong and Canada in Novem­ber 2015.

“Look­ing into the fu­ture, Cy­ber­port plans to step up its sup­port for star­tups through var­i­ous ini­tia­tives, such as in­creas­ing in­cu­ba­tion scheme quo­tas, es­tab­lish­ing new clus­ters for ar­eas such as fintech and e-com­merce to meet the lat­est de­vel­op­ment of the in­dus­try and the mar­ket, in­creas­ing the pro­vi­sion of small of­fices and work­sta­tions by 50 per­cent within the next year to cater to the needs of the ICT in­dus­try, and launch­ing a new fund for in­vest­ment in its ICT star­tups,” Chan said.

The num­ber of in­cu­ba­tion and co-work lo­ca­tions in Hong Kong has in­creased from just a few six years ago to more than 40 now. There are around 1,600 star­tups in Hong Kong.

“We en­cour­aged more col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween startup agencies be­tween Hong Kong and Toronto and wel­comed Cana­dian tal­ents to ap­proach the HKETO or In­vest Hong Kong for in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice,” Chan said.

Hong Kong ... has pro­fes­sion­als who have the ties and knowl­edge to help you do busi­ness.”

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