Speech by SCED at WeWork opening ceremony (English only)
Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the opening ceremony of WeWork today (February 23):
Mr Tung Chee Hwa, Mr John Zhao (Executive Vice President of Legend Holdings, Chairman and CEO of Hony Capital, Mr John Zhao), Miguel (Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of WeWork, Mr Miguel McKelvey), Jimmy (Acting Director-General of Investment Promotion, Dr Jimmy Chiang), friends and members of the WeWork community,
Good morning. It is a great pleasure for me to join you today to celebrate the opening of WeWork in Hong Kong, which is another solid showcase of our city's fast-growing entrepreneurship ecosystem.
I visited WeWork in Tel Aviv in November last year and was truly impressed by the coherence, solidarity, energy and passion created by the WeWork platform. I am delighted to see co-working "unicorn" WeWork's footprint expanding into our city - a very warm welcome again!
Hong Kong has been consistently ranked as one of the strongest start-up hubs in the world, and has become a hotbed of innovation. We have just held our flagship StartmeupHK Festival last month. The week-long events highlighted Hong Kong's strengths as a start-up hub for retail technology, fashion technology, smart city, Fintech and digital health. The festival attracted over 5 000 innovative start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors and related stakeholders from all over the world.
Hong Kong is famous for its vibrancy, entrepreneurial spirit and business friendliness. We have the fastest and most scalable "go to market" strategies. Other than funding, innovators and start-ups here can also easily locate top-notch designers, electronic component manufacturers, R&D, state-of-the-art supply chain management, just-in-time transport as well as global delivery and distribution services. Thanks to WeWork, a global community with professionals and entrepreneurs with different backgrounds, member companies ranging from start-ups to household names including Delta, IBM, KPMG, GE, Samsung and HSBC, this "dreams-come-true" process is happening even faster in Hong Kong now.
Miguel, the timing of your opening in Hong Kong could not be better. The synergies we are seeing in Hong Kong's growing start-up ecosystem are phenomenal. According to Invest Hong Kong's survey in November last year, the number of start-ups grew from 1 558 in 2015 to 1 926 - representing a 24 per cent year-on-year increase. The number of jobs created amounted to 5 229, an astonishing 41 per cent year-on-year increase compared with 2015.
Thirty-five per cent of the founders of these start-ups are from overseas, Mainland China or Taiwan, and some are also Hong Kong returnees.
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. The Government will continue to offer comprehensive support to this ecosystem.
I think I need not go further in promoting the benefits of doing business in Hong Kong. What speaks louder than my words is this successful project of WeWork that we are celebrating, right here and right now.
Once again, I'd like to congratulate WeWork on this significant milestone. I look forward to seeing your business flourish further in Hong Kong.
Last but not least, I wish all of you a prosperous, fruitful and healthy Year of the Rooster. Thank you.
Ends/Thursday, February 23, 2017