InvestHK StartmeupHK Festival heralds shape of things to come (with photos)
For the founders, innovators and investors attending from Hong Kong and overseas, two subjects became recurring themes, namely artificial intelligence (AI) and ecosystems. In varying degrees, usage of AI touched on subject matter each day, as Hong Kong's vibrant start-up community enjoyed the limelight, something typically the preserve of financial services. The value of a good ecosystem, too, was touted as a prerequisite for further development of the start-up sector.
The centrepiece for the festival was InvestHK's StartmeupHK Venture Forum in the evening on January 17 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event combined talks, panel sessions, presentations and a touch of magic.
Speaking at the Venture Forum, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, said entrepreneurs come to Hong Kong as it has been ranked as one of the fastest growing start-up hubs in the world and has become a hotbed of innovation and a hub for every stage from ideation to commercialisation. "With the vibrancy and entrepreneurial spirit the city is famous for, Hong Kong has a good environment and all the ingredients to facilitate this whole new generation of disruptors to create, test, show and launch their new businesses, right here in our city," he said.
Mr So commented on a big talking point during the week, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments' signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop. "This will be the largest innovation and technology platform ever established in the history of Hong Kong," he said.
The StartmeupHK Venture Forum, attended by 1 000 delegates, had speakers including best-selling author and founder of the Moven mobile banking service Mr Brett King; the Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Dennis Lo; cyber illusionist Mr Marco Tempest; Internet pioneer and Chairman of VeriFi (Hong Kong) Mr Pindar Wong; and co-founder of Ethereum and founder of ConsenSys Mr Joseph Lubin.
The festival started on January 16 with the "Retail's Cutting Edge" forum, organised by Inside Retail Asia which looked at how disruptors are using technology in the retail space to grow brands, select products and make purchases. The fast-moving nature of this area of retail means Hong Kong consumers can expect to see changes in the high street within months rather than years. This event was followed by the FashionTechAsia show organised by BeFast TV.
A session entitled "The Connected City", organised by KPMG and the Smart City Consortium, on January 17 saw much discussion on the changing dynamics, demographics and growth of megacities, along with the need to make them liveable, feasible and sustainable. Key talking points included the Internet of Things, data analytics and the growth in renewable energy.
The Next Money FinTech Finals 2017 took place on January 18 and 19, with 24 outstanding start-ups selected from around the world pitching their business plans to compete for the Best in Show Prize of US$10,000, as well as Best Early Stage, Best Growth Stage and Best Mature Stage Startups. The winners were Ayannah, Bambu, DarcMatter and BIMA.
The festival wrapped up today with HealthTech Asia 2017, organised by APAC BioHealth, which offered a fascinating look at the future democratisation of healthcare as new technologies and better processes bring down costs, making it more affordable for all. Hong Kong has a number of health technology start-ups, notably in areas such as DNA profiling and genome testing – and editing – that are growing a regional presence.
"It has been a fascinating week during which the talent pool, range of support services, overall ecosystem and growing relationship with Shenzhen were cited as reasons for the 24 per cent increase in the number of start-ups in Hong Kong during the past year," the Acting Director-General of InvestHK, Mr Charles Ng, said. "Our research shows it is a truly multinational, multicultural start-up community that we have here and that is a major reason why Hong Kong is such a popular place for small and medium-sized enterprises to base themselves."
For more details, please visit the website at www.startmeup.hk/festival2017.
InvestHK is the department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government established in 2000 to attract foreign direct investment and support overseas and Mainland businesses to set up or expand in Hong Kong. It provides free advice and customised services to help businesses succeed in Hong Kong’s vibrant economy. For more information, please visit www.investhk.gov.hk.
For event photos, please visit www.flickr.com/photos/investhk/albums/72157677868481800.
Ends/Friday, January 20, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:00
Issued at HKT 17:00