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Hong Kong Startup News Round Up - 2018 03 04

5 in 5 minutes

Paul Chan announces HK$50 billion budget to support the "unstoppable wave of innovation and technology"

This year's budget announces a spending blueprint with the purpose to alleviate people’s burdens and to seize the opportunity to make innovation and technology the future competitive advantage for Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong's Financials are in a good place, that's the least to say with a record surplus of HK$138 billion last fiscal year and a combined HK$1.092 trillion in its reserves. Time to tackle some of the major opportunities. With regards to Innovation and Technology, Paul Chan presented an extra HK$50 billion in funding to boost IT development, on top of the HK$10 billion already reserved in last year’s budget. This is to pay tribute to the fact that the "unstoppable wave of innovation and technology has swept through the world, fundamentally changing the global economic structure and the way we live and consume”. The focus is to further develop "areas of strength, namely biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city and financial technologies". He specifically called out 1) the development of the planned Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the border area of the Lok Ma Chau Loop (with HK$20 billion), 2) an injection of HK$10 billion into the Innovation and Technology Fund, 3) to earmark $10 billion to "support the establishment of two research clusters on healthcare technologies and on artificial intelligence and robotics technologies, to attract the world's top scientific research institutions and technology enterprises" and 4) "to reinforce the role of the Science Park as Hong Kong's flagship technology infrastructure" with HK$10 billion, amongst other initiatives.

Find the link to the 2018-19 Budget and the excerpt on Innovation and Technology here.

Visual Search Startup Miro wins  Techsauce Global Summit Roadshow 2018 HK

WHub was the proud co-host of the Techsauce Global Summit Roadshow 2018 in Hong Kong at the newly opened Campfire Co-Working space in Taikoo. The event featured an insightful panel and culminated in a pitching competition amongst HK's finest startups, in order to win a ticket to the Final Pitching Stage at Techsauce Global Summit this June in Bangkok. During the panel, Julian Lee (CEO AmbiLabs), Brian Lin (Co-Founder uHoo), Brian Garcia (Product Manager Lalamove) and Christopher Hugentobler (Head of Growth Snapask) shared with moderator Oranuch Lerdsuwankij (Co-Founder Techsauce) the tips and pitfalls with regards to scaling a business into South East Asia. The pitching stage hosted impressive startups throughout different verticals, from HealthTech, over Open Innovation, Logistics, RetailTech, Mobility, FinTech, IoT, drones up to AI and Visual Search Services:

Zunosaki, Agorize Asia, PAKT, Pixofy Limited, ofo, Chekk, iBeBot, MedEXO Robotics, Raspect and Miro.

Congratulations to Visual Search as a Service solution provider Miro for winning the competition and being able to to represent Hong Kong at the global finals! Hat down also to 1st runner up Medexo Robotics, a startup using innovative wear for Parkinson’s disease patients, and 2nd runner up Raspect, a drone AI inspection company incubated by HK based accelerator brinc.io.

SFC and FINMA sign FinTech Cooperation Agreement

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) entered into an agreement with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) to establish a framework for cooperation on financial technology (Fintech) (Note 1).

Under the agreement, the SFC and FINMA will cooperate to share information on emerging Fintech trends, developments and related regulatory issues as well as on organisations which promote innovation in financial services.  In addition, the agreement provides for a bilateral mechanism for referrals of innovative firms seeking to enter one another’s markets.

Read the full article on the InvestHK FinTech News page here.

Billionaire-Backed Cancer Testing Firm Plans Hong Kong IPO

The U.S.-based cancer detection startup Grail Inc., backed by the world’s two richest men Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, is planning an initial public offering in Hong Kong. The company’s backers include also Tencent Holdings Ltd., as well as Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Celgene Corp., Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Merck & Co. Grail could become one of the first companies to benefit from the proposed new listing rules aimed at attracting early stage biotechnology firms to the Hong Kong bourse: 

In the past few months we have collectively decided to take a big step forward as a financial centre and welcome emerging and innovative companies.  Now, we are proposing a listing regime that will boost Hong Kong’s attractiveness for a new generation of companies as well as investors, bringing more dynamism to our stock market,” said HKEX Chief Executive Charles Li.

Full Bloomberg article on Grail Inc. here.

Article on HK Stock Exchange proposing to add three new chapters to Main Board Listing Rules.

Hong Kong bike sharing start-up Gobee retreats from Europe - HK business unclear

After an initial sprint with multiple expansions into different European markets, Hong Kong born Gobee bike seems to be on a tough ride. Same as many Asian bike sharing operators, Gobee had embarked on overseas expansion over the past year due to fierce competition at home. But Gobee faces major challenges in these new markets due to theft and vandalism and hence has become the first Asian bike sharing operator to retreat from Europe.

(photo credit: Gobee.bike /blog post).

The company reported that over 1,000 bikes had been stolen and nearly 3,400 damaged during its four months of operation in France, prompting it to pull out of the European country, according to The Guardian. A separate report from news wire Agence France-Presse said irresponsible acts by minors were to blame for the mass destruction of its fleet. Vandalism and theft together with irresponsible parking have become headaches for bike sharing operators operating in mainland China and in overseas locations. Last year, five Gobee bikes were found dumped in a river near Sha Tin in Hong Kong, triggering police investigations into criminal damage. It is unclear at this point if the operations in HK continue. No spokespersons from the company commented.

Read the full article on SCMP here.

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