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SCED's speech at Hong Kong Venture Capital Forum (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the Hong Kong Venture Capital Forum organised by the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (HKVCA) today (March 13):

Marvin (Executive Director of the HKVCA, Mr Marvin Lai), members of the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon.

     First of all, I would like to congratulate the HKVCA for organising this second annual Hong Kong Venture Capital Forum. The forum brings together leading industry investors, advisors and entrepreneurs. I would also like to thank the HKVCA for inviting me.

     This forum is both timely and important, as the Hong Kong SAR Government and our key stakeholders in the startup community are working together to develop and implement a series of initiatives to help build Hong Kong into a leading destination and hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.

     The Financial Secretary announced recently a series of measures that the Government will be undertaking to make Hong Kong into a FinTech (financial technology) hub, to foster entrepreneurship and help improve our ecosystem for startups and tech enterprises. All these are to tie in with the general direction of moving our economy up the value chain and enabling local industries to diversify.

     With the launch of StartmeupHK (StartmeupHK Venture Programme), Invest Hong Kong's own startup initiative, two years ago, we have seen Hong Kong transforming into one of the world's most vibrant and thriving startup ecosystems. Three years ago, Nest was the only private sector incubator in the city. Today we have close to 40 incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces, which are all supporting startups in our city. Last month, we saw the launch of TusPark, that is, the Tsinghua University Science Park's first innovation space in Hong Kong. Located in Kowloon East, TusPark is currently the single largest co-work space in Hong Kong, and it has an extensive network in Mainland China.

     We are very excited and encouraged to see multinational corporations and large corporates entering the tech investment space in Hong Kong. Accenture's FinTech Innovation Lab was launched last June; Swire Properties' blueprint for B2B (business-to-business) startups was kicked off earlier this year; AIA's new Accelerator programme with Nest for wearable tech and healthcare startups has announced the eight successful ventures this month; and KPMG is about to launch its regional Insights Lab for data analytics in Hong Kong. All these exciting initiatives mark a new chapter in Hong Kong in terms of corporates supporting startups. In the weeks and months to come, we look forward to welcoming more multinationals and large corporates joining us on this journey.

     Hong Kong is indeed a cradle for entrepreneurs, and has all the right ingredients to be the lab, showcase and global launch pad for innovative ventures. As a global financial centre and a hub for retailers and brands from around the world, Hong Kong offers an ideal platform for FinTech startups to facilitate functions such as payment, clearing and settlement, big data analytics, cloud computing, information and risk management and network security, all with the aim to enhance operational efficiency and facilitate new modes of development for the financial and e-commerce sectors.

     Our city is well placed for the best and brightest entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into global businesses. With our proximity to Shenzhen, which is the hardware capital of the world, Hong Kong serves as an ideal base for startups to develop their prototypes, validate their products and develop large-scale manufacturing to bring them to market fast. We are ideally placed for the development of the Internet of Things and supply chain logistics technology.

     The investment community, represented by many of you, plays a crucial role in helping us build our ecosystem. I would like to call upon you to bring your ideas and encourage investment from the seed, angel, series A, B and C stages into early, growth and late stage startups and innovative ventures.

     The startup community needs your support, and I hope the discussions and networking opportunities this forum offers will help build the investment community and move matters forward.

     I wish you all a fruitful afternoon. Thank you.

Ends/Friday, March 13, 2015

Issued at HKT 16:40