Whub blog banner visual  600 200   2

Hong Kong Startup News Round Up - 22 Apr 2018

5 in 5 Minutes

HK Prenetics acquires UK genetic testing startup DNAFit

HK based Prenetics, with over $50m in funding from Alibaba and Ping An Insurance, has acquired British DNAFit. The company expands their influence over the British market, and has operations in the US, South Africa, Singapore and Malaysia as well. It is one of the largest genetic testing and digital health companies in Southeast Asia.  

DNAFit uses genetic testing to match both ordinary individuals and elite sportspeople to diets, nutrients and fitness plans that are most compatible with their DNA. According to Danny Yeung, CEO and co-founder of Prenetics, their aim to “give everyone the power to be control of their own health”, and their acquisition is part of their “international growth strategy” to empower everyone with “personalized, preventive, and actionable genetic information”.

PE firm InfraRed Invests US$50M in HK self-storage firm RedBox

HK-based private equity real estate investment firm, InfraRed NF, has acquired 90% stake in Hong Kong’s premium storage provider, RedBox, with a preliminary investment of $50 million. According to InfraRed NF, this moves ties in with their plan to create a “market leading self-storage platform” in Hong Kong through direct property acquisitions.

InfraRed NF aims to expand in Hong Kong, because the self-storage market is suffering from a demand-supply imbalance. According to a CBRE research note, there was a shortfall of 200,000 square feet of stock in Hong Kong in 2015.

According to the report “The rise of self-storage in Asia Pacific” published by JLL Asia Pacific, urbanization, public awareness, and the growth of small businesses is driving the demand for self-storage in the Asia Pacific.

Standard Chartered Opens HK Innovation Lab

Standard Chartered has opened an innovation lab in Hong Kong to tap emerging financial technologies and data science of the region. The eXellerator, located in Kwun Tong branch, has an area of over 10,000 square feet which will function as a collaboration space (designed by co-working giant WeWork) for business units, clients, technology companies and industry partners.

The eXellerator, is managed by a global team of business, technology and design specialists, and is part of SC Ventures, a new unit responsible for developing innovative best practices in the bank, identifying and managing strategic investments in attractive fintech start ups, and setting-up new ventures.

HK is breeding grounds for potential unicorns

Labeled the 5th fastest growing startup ecosystem in the world, Hong Kong’s homegrown startups have been dramatically rising in the past few years. According to data from Invest HK, there were 1925 startups in Hong Kong in 2016, with an annual rise of 24% since. Founders of TinkLabs, WeLabs, GoGoVan and SenseTime partook in a panel discussing “The Path to Unicorn: The Dialogue” at the Internet Economy Summit 2018 last week.

Although GoGoVan co-founder & CEO Steven Lam was thought to be “silly” when he initailly talked about startups, Tink Labs founder & CEO Terence Kwok explained that entrepreneurship has always been part of the city’s culture. WeLab founder Simon Loong revealed that “what [startups] saw in the past couple of years is government and financial industry support.”

Moreover, according to SenseTime co-founder Xu Bing, “almost all the top investors are gathering here in Hong Kong.” He also believes that Hong Kong is the perfect city to recruit researchers and scientists dealing with AI.

Didi Chuxing to accept cashless payments for HK cabs

China's Didi Chuxing announced on Wednesday that it will now accept cashless payment on its mobile app for the first time in Hong Kong via Visa, Mastercard and American Express. The international credit card companies are in competition with Chinese mobile payment platforms - Alipay and WeChat Pay, to sign up local cabbies. Octopus, Hong Kong’s dominant contactless payment system, is also trying to capture a share of the increasingly crowded market.

Didi’s smartphone app is the third ride-hailing platform to accept credit cards as a payment option in Hong Kong, after local companies HK Taxi and SynCab added the feature earlier this year and in 2015, respectively. 

Whub blog thumbnail  940 788   2

Recommend to a friend

Next on your reading list