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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 8 December 2019


Hong Kong software startup Area28 secures over $2.1m from Alibaba, Vectr, others

Hong Kong-based startup Area28 has raised a little over US$2.1 million in a seed round led by global early-stage VC firm Vectr Ventures and Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.

Local funds Apes Ventures, Bright Success Capital, and Ironfire Ventures also participated in the round.

Established in 2017, Area28 is building a commercially available cloud-based collaboration platform and game engine. It seeks to enable game developers from anywhere in the world to create projects together simultaneously in real time, improving efficiency and lowering costs of gameplay and distribution.

The startup is also developing an engine-agnostic cloud collaboration layer that could allow game developers to maintain current workflows 

It plans to use the fresh funds to scale its teams in Hong Kong and China and support the final stages of product development before a commercial launch.

Kr Space surrenders Times Square location in final retreat from Hong Kong

Kr Space has surrendered its lease in Hong Kong’s Times Square, bringing to a close the mainland co-working startup’s  ill-fated venture into the Asian financial hub, according to industry sources who spoke with Mingtiandi.

The Beijing-based operator, which completed a RMB 1 billion ($145 million) round of funding in May, is closing down its 34,000 square foot (3,159 square metre) centre in the Causeway Bay landmark just nine months after opening in the complex.

Kr Space’s sole location in Hong Kong has been put on the market by Times Square’s owner, Wharf Holdings, just seven months after Hong Kong-listed developer Chinachem filed a lawsuit against Kr Space for breaking a five-year agreement to lease 83,000 square feet in its One Hennessy office building in Wanchai.

An Uber for logistics, Hong Kong’s first unicorn Lalamove makes India entry

Hong Kong first unicorn, Lalamove, has made its entry into India, the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. 

Lalamove entered India in December last year, but started operations only a few months ago. Currently, it is present in Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, and Hyderabad. The app uses Google Maps API for navigation and tracking at the moment.

As of today, the logistics startup operates in more than 180 cities across Asia and Latin America, and claims to have clocked over 15 million registered users with two million drivers.

Last-mile delivery has always been the most challenging and expensive part of a delivery process. Today, B2B logistics startups are using technology to address the entire spectrum of logistics and supply chain needs – from demand forecasting and warehousing to freight transportation and last-mile delivery.

The logistics sector in India is expected to touch $215 billion by the end of 2020. Employing more than 22 million people in India at the moment, the sector is expected to be the largest job creator in the country by 2022.

Thailand, Hong Kong sign MoU pacts on trade, investment

Thailand and Hong Kong on Friday signed six Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) for the expansions in trade and investment links during the visit of Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam to the country starting on Thursday.

The MoUs are related parties on trade and investment, finance, securities cross-listing, creativity, innovation, human resources development and startups.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and Carrie Lam at the Thai Government House in Bangkok, co-chaired the meeting of the Hong Kong-Thailand High-Level Joint Committee.The meeting was attended by ministers of finance and industry as well as executives from Stock Exchange of Thailand, Securities and Federation of Thai Industries.

The Thai Ministry of Commerce had indicated that trade between Thailand and Hong Kong was valued at 15.5 billion U.S. dollars in the year 2018, with exports estimated at 12.5 billion U.S. dollars and imports 2.9 billion U.S. dollars. Somkid said on Friday that he is eyeing the value of the two-way trade to 20 billion U.S. dollars by 2020.

Kerry picks up 26% of Hong Kong Co-working Hub for HK$500M

Kerry Properties, a Hong Kong-listed developer controlled by Shangri-La Hotels founder Robert Kuok, has acquired 26 percent of an industrial building in Hong Kong’s southern district for HK$499.7 million ($64 million), according to a local media report citing government filings.

Land Registry documents reveal that six floors of the building known as the Remex Centre, were purchased by a company that lists as one of its directors Ip Pui Chu, who manages Kerry Properties’ real estate portfolio in the Asian financial hub.

The 23-storey industrial building in Wong Chuk Hang, which is rapidly transforming from its industrial past to a commercial future, has been repositioned by a number of co-working operators to capitalise on the area’s growing popularity as an affordable office location.

Campfire currently operates 50,000 square feet of flexible office space across six floors of the building, none of which are included in the Kerry Properties acquisition. At least three other co-working operators – D Work, Workspace Asia, and Office Hub – are also renting out desks in the Remex Centre.

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