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Hong Kong Startup News Round Up - 20 Jan 2019

5 in 5 Minutes

HK AI unicorn SenseTime prepares to raise $2 billion in funding

The world’s most valuable AI startup SenseTime is reportedly working with advisors to raise $2 billion in a fresh round of funding. People with knowledge of the matter said that the deliberations are at an early stage and details of the deal could change.  

The Hong Kong AI unicorn raised over $1.2 billion with a valuation of over $4.5 billion in 2018, with investors include private equity firm IDG, Singaporean state investor Temasek, and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Investors have been handing billions of dollars to Chinese AI startups like SenseTime, hoping to ride a wave of government support amid a plan to become the world leader in AI by 2030. According to SenseTime, it has experienced 400% growth since its founding, as it works with police, retailers, and healthcare researchers across China and internationally with its computer vision technologies.

Weeklong Hong Kong Entrepreneurship Festival starts Monday

StartmeupHK Festival, one of the most signature week-long festival by InvestHK, will commence on 21 Janauary and ends on 25 January. There will be a total of 7 vertical champions, showcasing key themese such as startup-corporate collaboration, healthtech, lifestyle and retail tech, smary city, AI and EduTech, and financial services. 

Below is a list of the 7 verticals and the respective discount codes:
21 Jan – HealthTech020 by Nexchange – 30% off with WHUB30
22 Jan – Tech[Life]Style Conference by The Mills Fabrica, Startup Launchpad – 60% off with 60OFFNOW 
23 Jan – Retail’s Cutting Edge by Inside Retail – 20% off with WHUBxRCE1001
23-24 Jan - Jumpstarter by Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund – 20% off with AVOTE20%OFF0000
25 Jan – Startup Impact Summit by WHub – 20% off with IMPACT20
25 Jan – AI & Education by EdTech Asia – 20% off with EDTECH20

12th Asian Financial Forum opens in HK

Organised by the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the 12th Asian Financial Forum (AFF) took place on 14-15 January under the theme "Creating a Sustainable and Inclusive Future". This year's AFF brought together more than 130 policymakers, financial and business leaders and heavyweight investors to survey the current global economic environment and offer insights on the opportunities and challenges that businesses will face in the coming year.

“In Hong Kong, we have 300+ FinTech startups, 3 FinTech unicorns - Hong Kong has the second highest density of unicorns per capita after Israel.” Karen Contet Farzam, co-founder of AngelHub and WHub and founding board member of FinTech Association of Hong Kong, moderated a panel on “Why Collaboration is Key: Insights from Frankfurt’s and Hong Kong’s Fast-Growing FinTech ecosystems” with Dr. Sebeastian Schaefer, Managing Director of TechQuartier. You can read the review here

Hong Kong self-driving start-up AutoX in talks to raise up to US$100M in funding

Hong Kong-based autonomous driving start-up AutoX is in talks with investors about a new round of financing, months after the company piloted autonomous grocery delivery services in San Jose, California, in August. Last month, it received its first licence to test-drive self-driving cars in China. AutoX is understood to be looking to raise as much as US$100 million. The fresh funds will enable AutoX to increase its fleet as tech companies race each other to teach machines how to master driving skills.


“Hong Kong is home to a low tax as well as innovative business environment,” Xiao said in an interview at CES tech show in Las Vegas last week, where the company delivered burgers and fries by robo-car. “We aim to build a strong presence in the big bay area.”

Alibaba-backed AI Startup excepted to mull US$1 Billion IPO in Hong Kong

Megvii, the owner of facial recognition developer Face++, is considering an IPO in Hong Kong ranging from USD$500 million $1 billion. The Beijing-based firm, backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., is competing with the world’s largest AI startup SenseTime Group Ltd. -- also backed by Alibaba-- as the two provide facial recognition technology to financial, retail, mobile and government clients.

“We are considering many options to raise funds but have not committed to a final plan,” Xie Yinan, a spokesman for the company, said in a text message. Seven-year-old Megvii provides face-scanning systems to companies including Lenovo Group Ltd. and Ant Financialas well as the Chinese government, which implements their technology in more than 260 cities and helped police arrest more than 10,000 people.

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