HK can 'stand up to Shenzhen's challenge'

Updated: 2015-06-17 08:54

By Sophie He in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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Hong Kong is still an ideal place to start technology firms although Shenzhen and other major mainland cities have been luring young entrepreneurs to start businesses there, says Mark Clift, chief operating officer of Hong Kong Cyberport Management Co Ltd (HKCMC).

The SAR is extremely competitive in terms of attracting tech companies, but chief executives of overseas tech enterprises would still pick Hong Kong when they come to Asia and, for startups, the city has a business-friendly environment with a simple and easy-to-understand tax regime, Clift told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

"Anybody can set up a 'cyber park' in any city, but that is only part of the story - it is only the hard infrastructure," he said, adding that Hong Kong boasts a business-friendly environment and an international regime that enable people of all nationalities to settle down and feel comfortable doing business here.

Besides, Hong Kong is also labor friendly, which means it's very easy to move people or capital in and out of the city whenever startups need to expand to the mainland or Southeast Asia.

HKCMC owns Cyberport - the home to 320 technology and digital companies, including 200 startups in Hong Kong, and is wholly owned by the SAR government.

Cyberport has an important role to play in facilitating technology startups, Clift stressed, and it has been encouraging young tech entrepreneurs to start businesses by launching incubating projects and providing facilities at affordable costs.

"For example, we opened our first smart space in 2009. It was probably the first co-working space in the city and now we have 35 smart spaces with more than 200 tech startups using them," he said.

Cyberport also runs a Creative Micro Fund program that grants a HK$100,000 seed fund to high-potential, creative and innovative startup projects or business concepts in ICT (information and communications technology)-related areas to encourage innovation and creativity.

According to Clift, the major challenge facing Hong Kong startups is that despite the city's status as an international financial center, budding businesses often find it hard to secure funding.

"Investors are looking for opportunities in Hong Kong all the time, and the challenge is to get them to look into our startups."

But he believes that with the support of the government and local communities, as well as the passion and can-do spirit of young entrepreneurs, startups will have a bright future.

HK can 'stand up to Shenzhen's challenge'

(HK Edition 06/17/2015 page10)