Email this article
Speech by FS at StartmeupHK Venture Forum 2016 (English only) (with photo/video)

     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the StartmeupHK Venture Forum 2016 at the Conference Hall at Central Government Offices in Tamar this morning (January 26):

Thank you very much, Simon. Ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning.

     And indeed a very good morning, as well, to those of you watching via live webcast. Presumably in your pyjamas.

     It is my great pleasure to be here for this StartmeupHK Venture Forum - a highlight of the inaugural StartmeupHK Festival.

     I am told that more than 20 events are taking place during the StartmeupHK Festival. A full week of non-stop networking, a full week of start-up business and investment talk, plans, pitches and promising partnerships.

     So you have pretty much everything that you need to understand what Hong Kong can offer you as a start-up or an angel capitalist. The only thing that we need, is perhaps a good, rousing theme song, I think, opening to capture the start-me-up enthusiasm I am sure we all feel today.

     On that note, and given my age, I think the Rolling Stones' riff-rocking single "Start Me Up" seems ready-made for the festival. I am sure a lot of you probably haven't heard of that.

     Then again, given that Elon Musk will join you later on this morning, perhaps Invest Hong Kong could pave the way with "Rocket Man", in honour of this pioneering technology innovator behind SpaceX and Tesla. You may well hear more about that in his "fireside chat" later on this morning.

     In any case, you are in for a special morning. Aside from Musk and Mars, today's forum will spotlight four areas where Hong Kong enjoys a clear competitive advantage and they are financial technology, IoT (Internet of Things), health tech, and data analytics and e-commerce.

     Hong Kong's prominence in the global economy has long been underscored by our extensive trading network, world-class professional services, unparalleled connectivity and our money prowess as an international financial centre.

     And with these strengths, Hong Kong also is developing fast into one of the world's most attractive hubs for start-ups, for young and not so young, but definitely energetic, entrepreneurs from every corner of the world with innovative and audacious ideas, and also for a world of investors and capitalists looking to tap the ever-expanding China market as well as the overall Asia markets.

     In my Government Budget last year, I decided to introduce a host of initiatives to further improve our start-up ecosystem. These new initiatives, from precious seed funding to affordable office space, and from sound business advice to valuable access to investors and global markets, will help kick-start these new companies to grow and to thrive.

     Thanks to the concerted efforts of many of you here today, I am pleased to report that Hong Kong's start-up scene has experienced phenomenal growth in recent years, with now more than 1,500 start-ups in our city, increased by nearly 50 per cent when compared with 2014. These ventures are led by entrepreneurs, led by investors, corporations, universities as well as Government. All passionate about contributing to our own future.

     Hong Kong now counts no less than 11 private innovation labs, incubators and accelerator programmes, including the renowned Accenture, Nest as well as the fintech innovation lab launched by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia just last week. These projects and programmes complement as well as supplement quite nicely the expanding incubation programmes at government-funded organisations, such as Cyberport and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks.

     The Cyberport has nurtured more than 160 start-ups over the past decade, with a smart focus on information and communication technology (ICT). Its Cyberport Creative Micro Fund helps budding "Elons" develop prototype products, bringing their innovative ideas to life. We have also recently announced the setting up of a Cyberport Macro Fund for investment in ICT start-ups.

     Hong Kong Science Park, on the other hand, is home to a great diversity of companies, from multinationals and SMEs to start-ups working in its various incubation programmes. When the Park's Phase 3 is completed, later on this year, it will count some 240 start-ups in clusters ranging from electronics and green technology to biomedical technology and information and communications technology. Science Park start-ups are focused primarily on robotics, smart cities, IoT and healthy ageing - all areas of significant interest to Hong Kong.

     Money of course is the essential nutrient to start-ups. And the Government is doing everything it can to support a strong and prosperous growth of the start-ups.

     We are setting up a new Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living to finance projects that make good use of innovation and technology to improve daily life. I can think of a few life enhancers myself, and I am not exactly start-up material. So I am sure you can do better than that.

     And there is also the new Innovation and Technology Venture Fund. The money will be used to invest in local innovation and technology start-ups - on a matching basis with private-venture capital funds.

     Government aside, the angel investment scene is also gathering steam. The flow of institutionalised venture capital investment into Hong Kong is indeed encouraging. Last year, we took in US$324 million, according to the Hong Kong Venture Capital Association. That's well more than double the US$139 million in institutionalised venture capital investment that was found in Hong Kong in 2014.

     As we continue to attract innovative and scalable start-ups to Hong Kong, I am confident that more established investment firms will also turn to Hong Kong.

     Good reason to be celebrating the start-up industry here. So I am glad that you have made it here, to our vibrant and business-friendly city full of promising opportunities.

     I wish you all the best of business at today's Forum and the rest of the StartmeupHK Festival. As well as a healthy and rewarding 2016, whatever it is you plan on starting.

     Thank you very much. Have a great day and a great week.

Ends/Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Issued at HKT 12:29


Print this page