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Hong Kong Startup News Round Up - 23 Dec 2018

5 in 5 Minutes

 WHub signs MoU with Hainan Fullsing Town Innovation Park

This week, Karena Belin, WHub co-founder and CEO and the voice of the Hong Kong Startup Community, was at the Hainan Internet Plus Innovation and Entrepreneurship Festival, and during the conference at one of the fastest growing free ports of China. Karena presented about the success Hong Kong's startup ecosystem has witnessed and how WHub has been actively growing the Hong Kong startup space. It was quickly followed by exciting signing of a Memorandum of understanding between WHub and Hainan Fullsing Town Innovation Park. 

The partnership aims to establish synergy between two of China's prominent free ports - Hong Kong and Hainan, and to foster the innovation and entrepreneurship of both cities. The collaboration will accelerate the cities tech and startup ecosystems, and grow the connection between the Greater Bay Area. WHub has been actively growing the local startup potential. 

“We are excited about the MoU between Hainan Fullsing Town Innovation Park and HK’s startup community platform and power connector WHub." Karena said during an interview with Hainese media publications. 

HKEX reluctant about cryptocurrency IPOs, Bitmain’s US$3 billion fundraising plan at risk

Hong Kong’s stock market regulator and operator have signaled their reluctance to give their green light to an initial public offering (IPO) by Bitmain, the world’s largest assembler of cryptocurrency mining equipment, while a regulatory framework is still being drafted to ring-fence cryptocurrency-related businesses.

The reluctance by the regulator and market operator, which provide policy advice to the Listing Committee of the Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEX), could be an insurmountable hurdle in the US$3 billion IPO application by Bitmain Technologies.

Hong Kong’s listing rules provide for a closed-door hearing before the Listing Committee, which gives the final approval or rejection within six months of an application, after all questions are answered. If the applicant fails to hear from the Listing Committee after the six-month period, the listing lapses.

Ledger to Accept Crypto Payments Following MoU With

Crypto hardware wallet supplier Ledger has signed an MoU with HK-based crypto payment startup to enable Ledger to adopt their service Pay. The payment platform will purportedly allow Ledger clients to pay for products with cryptocurrency. Pay will purportedly be incorporated into Ledger’s online store, where customers will able to make purchases via Wallet and Card application. While it does not specify which cryptocurrencies will be supported by the new payment solution,’s Wallet features seven fiat currencies and six cryptocurrencies.

 Ledger CEO Éric Larchevêque stated that introducing a crypto payment option for products purchases is a “natural step,” and this payment method is “just what [Ledger] customers are seeking.”

Hong Kong to use blockchain versus motor insurance fraud

HK-based start-up CryptoBLK and the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) have launched a motor insurance platform that harnesses blockchain to ensure authenticity and counter fraud.

The system, known as the Motor Insurance DLT-based Authentication System (MIDAS), will allow easy verification of motor insurance documents to prevent fraud and spot fake documents produced by illegal insurance brokers. In order to protect the privacy of motorists, the ledger does not store any personally identifiable information. Car owners can use a system-generated QR code to have their insurance cover notes and policies authenticated at the Transport Department’s offices.

“MIDAS is the first ever industry-wide application of blockchain technology in the space of motor insurance in Asia,” HKFI Accident Insurance Association chairman Philip Kwan said. “This is a classic case of a public-private partnership initiative to address the perennial problem of fake cover notes in our insurance market.”

Chinese bike-sharing unicorn Ofo on verge of bankruptcy

Ofo has gone from school project to billion-dollar startup to the verge of bankruptcy in less than four years. The company’s predicament highlights some of the risks that comes from raising too much money too quickly.

In an internal letter that has been circulating widely in local media, Ofo’s founder and CEO Dai Wei admitted that the startup has been under “immense” cash flow pressure for the past year, and even considered filing for bankruptcy. The Alibaba-backed bike-sharing service has said that it couldn’t raise any external funding, with Dai planning “countless times” to cut all operational expenses, so Ofo can refund user deposits and repay suppliers, according to the letter.

Ofo’s cashflow problems have been driven largely by intense competition in a market that still has yet to be proven to be commercially viable, analysts say.

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