Major Speeches, Presentations and Press Releases

Speech by SCED at StartmeupHK Venture Forum (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the StartmeupHK Venture Forum today (January 17):

Charles (Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion, Mr Charles Ng), Anson (Partner, Business Development, KPMG in China, Mr Anson Bailey),

     Wow, what an amazing audience. You truly reflect the vibrant spirit of start-ups and of Hong Kong. Good afternoon everyone. A very warm welcome to you all, and a special welcome to speakers and delegates from overseas. I am really excited to be here at this StartmeupHK Venture Forum which is the signature event of the second Startmeup Hong Kong Festival organised by Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK).

     This StartmeupHK Venture Forum brings together innovative start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors, students and thought leaders from Hong Kong and overseas to celebrate the world's most vibrant start-up ecosystems. My colleagues at InvestHK have lined up an amazing programme for you this afternoon with world leading experts who will share the latest cutting edge technology trends and discoveries; investors from Hong Kong, Asia and the US (United States) who will give their perspectives on the start-up evaluations; pitches from Hong Kong's emerging entrepreneurs, and last but not least, a cyber illusionist who will pull his magic tricks using technology.

     This year's festival focuses on key sectors which highlight Hong Kong's strengths as a start-up hub, namely retail technology, fashion technology, smart city, Fintech (financial technologies) and digital health.

     The lightening speed of technological development is without doubt bringing disruption across all industries. With the advance progress and adoption of artificial intelligence, robotics, augmented reality, smart city, health tech and big data analytics to name a few, enterprises in traditional industries are forced to change and adapt or die. With the vibrancy and entrepreneurial spirit the city is famous for, Hong Kong has a good environment and all the ingredients to facilitate this whole new generation of disruptors to create, test, show and launch their new businesses, right here in our city. Hong Kong has been ranked as one of the fastest growing start-up hubs in the world and it has become a hotbed of innovation and a hub for ideation to commercialisation.

     Entrepreneurs come to Hong Kong to grow their business. Here, we can ensure the fastest and most scalable "go to market" process. In addition to funding, innovators and start-ups in Hong Kong can also easily locate top-notch designers, while manufacturers, R&D (research and development) facilities, state-of-the-art supply chain management and just-in-time logistics come together and make it happen for entrepreneurs and big businesses.

     Two weeks ago, we had another major breakthrough. Hong Kong and Shenzhen signed a Memorandum of Understanding on jointly developing the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park at the Lok Ma Chau Loop. This will be the largest innovation and technology platform ever established in the history of Hong Kong. With a total floor area of 1.2 million square metres, the park will become a key base for co-operation between the two places in innovation and technology development involving robotics, biopharmaceuticals, smart city and Fintech. It is also an excellent opportunity to strengthen the two places' co-operation in scientific research, higher education, creative, and other complementary facilities.

     The synergy we are seeing in Hong Kong's growing start-up ecosystem is nothing short of amazing. InvestHK conducted its third Startup Profiling Survey and the results were shared in November last year. We surveyed 40 co-work spaces, incubators or accelerators and the results all pointed to an upward trend.

     The number of start-ups has risen from 1 558 in 2015 to 1 926 - that is a 24 per cent year-on-year increase. The number of jobs created was 5 229, an astonishing 41 per cent year-on-year increase compared to 2015.

     Among the 600 foreign founders, one-fifth of them come from the US, 13 per cent from the UK, 11 per cent from Mainland China, and 10 per cent from France. Other places of origin include Australia, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore, India, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

     They have brought with them international experience and different perspectives, and together with an increasing number of local players, the Hong Kong start-up community is truly reflecting the dynamism and multiculturalism of Asia’s world city.

     But we do not rest on our laurels. Our government will continue to offer comprehensive support to start-ups in various areas such as business incubation, financing, business expansion and office space.

     InvestHK has recently refreshed the website, which is a one-stop portal for the start-up community to find out about the latest start-up events and access a host of resources, including government financing and incubation schemes, accelerators, angel investors and venture capitalists.

     Since its launch in 2013, StartmeupHK has become an integral part of InvestHK, a Hong Kong government agency tasked with attracting and retaining foreign direct investment of strategic importance to the economic development of Hong Kong.

     Yesterday at PMQ, we heard great insights on how retail technology and fashion technology are transforming the two industries. Today at the Connected City event, experts in the private and public sector showcased the opportunities businesses can tap into to test, showcase and launch their solutions to transform the city, making it more livable, attractive and environmentally friendly. Tomorrow and Thursday, Fintech practitioners and thought leaders will talk about how Fintech is transforming the banking, insurance and financial services industries. Last but not least on Friday, key stakeholders will discuss the challenges and opportunities in healthcare and technological enabling solutions. I encourage all of you to actively participate in the activities in the remainder of this week, where ideas are exchanged, partnerships are formed, and business opportunities are created.

     While we've all just entered the beginning of 2017, in this part of the world we will be celebrating the Lunar New Year shortly. Some of you may know, next year is the Year of the Rooster. Like roosters which arise early to awaken the unawake, I am confident that the collective dynamism of the start-up community gathered in this hall will awaken and unlock the many great opportunities for us to possess. Greater things are yet to come! Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:20