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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 3 January 2021


New World's Impact Kommons Embarks On a New Phase to Nurture Global Green Technology Start-ups. Adrian Cheng: Green Tech Set to Redefine "New Normal" After the Epidemic

Local start-ups stand out with unique solutions that are committed to address the city's environmental challenges

New World Development Co., Ltd. ('New World Development' or 'the Group') is pleased to announce that Impact Kommons, Asia's first accelerator based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), is welcoming another 15 start-ups into the program and granting them access to community events, mentorship and B2B collaboration opportunities, where participants can learn from prominent industry leaders throughout the region and gain exposure through the program's extensive network. Over 60% of the start-ups in the second cohort are from Hong Kong, reflecting the strong opportunities and potential for homegrown sustainable technologies and solutions. In fact, there are technologies and solutions from start-ups in the program that can be immediately implemented for anti-epidemic measures and some have already been used by properties of the group.

Hong Kong startups lead region's charge into virtual banking

ZA Bank, Hong Kong's first virtual bank, has just 200 employees in a white and mint-green themed open-plan office on the southern fringes of Hong Kong's main island -- a far cry from HSBC Holdings' grand headquarters in the Central business district, where two lion statues guard the entrance.

But ZA, co-owned by mainland online insurer ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance and Sinolink Group, has its 155-year old rival firmly in its sights as it joins the vanguard of Asia's surge into digital banking.

ZA, which along with seven others received a banking license from Hong Kong Monetary Authority last year, opened March 24 and has attracted more than 5 billion Hong Kong dollars ($645 million) in deposits from more than 190,000 customers, or 1,000 customers a day. It also offers loans, money transfer and insurance services.

We became the "first virtual bank in Hong Kong, even during the pandemic," said Rockson Hsu, chief executive of ZA. "Being the first is a very good encouragement for the whole team."

Hong Kong startup scene remains healthy amid Covid-19

Despite the highly volatile environment resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, Hong Kong-based startups continue to attract steady interest from investors. A new report released by KPMG and Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) shows that funding for startups in the city in 2019/20 was roughly the same as in the last financial year.

Startups in Hong Kong were able to raise a combined HK$19.16 billion (US$2.5 billion) off 680 deals. Most notably, support from government incubation programmes almost doubled, growing to HK$8.13 billion in FY19/20 from HK$4.47 billion in FY18/19.

As the social and economic impacts of the raging pandemic continue to be felt, a growing number of companies are looking to use products and services of startups. According to the survey, 34% of respondents have an increased interest in the business offerings of startups, compared with only 19% for corporates. Moreover, respondents think startups are likely to face less disruption from Covid-19 than corporates, the report says.

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