Tech industry applauds support to city's startups
Updated: 2017-01-19 07:35
By Honey Tsang and Wang yuke in Hong Kong(HK Edition)
The Hong Kong Science Park in Sha Tin, home to a cluster of startups in the city. The government has pushed forward a slew of initiatives to aid the SAR's march toward an innovation and technology hub in recent years. In the 2017 Policy Address, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has proposed to go extra steps to quench the thirst for funds among startups. Parker Zheng / China Daily
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's latest Policy Address has lavished a large amount of resources on tech startups, with at least two new promising facilities - InnoCell and Inno Space - soon to be established in a bid to create a startup boom.
Following the new Policy Address, industry stakeholders said the government's efforts to help the industry were "unprecedented" and "encouraging".
InnoCell, scheduled to be built adjacent to the Science Park, aims to offer rental residential units to personnel involved with startups in the park. It will also provide convenient accommodation for overseas scientific research expatriates working in firms in the park.
InnoCell, estimated to provide hundreds of units, is expected to be completed in three years. Ancillary facilities, such as shared working spaces, will be provided for tech talents to brainstorm innovative ideas, a government source said.
Another project, Inno Space, will be set up possibly inside the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) building in Kowloon Tong. It will offer tech and equipment support for startups.
Unlike InnoCell, Inno Space offers office space with a rent subsidy, technical advice and equipment like 3D printers, for startups.
Equipment and services will also be open to all startups who wish to realize their innovative ideas, the government source said.
The source added that the government has noticed an increasing need from startups facing financial constraints to develop their ideas.
Government figures show there were around 2,000 startups in town last year - a quarter more than in 2015. Of these entrepreneurs, 35 percent were from overseas.
Eric Yeung Chuen-sing, executive vice-president of Hong Kong General Chamber of Small and Medium Business, told China Daily it was encouraging to see the government promise such strong support for local startups.
Yeung said he found it an unprecedented yet feasible move by the government.
However, he suggested the government itself should embrace locally developed new technologies. "Only if government departments take the lead in adopting home-grown technologies and products will local SMEs open and expand other markets," Yeung said.
The management of Inno Space will be handled by the HKPC. Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp will be responsible for managing InnoCell.
The government has been trying to boost the HKSAR's status as an innovation and technology hub in recent years.
In 2015, Karolinska Institute from Sweden, with a 200-year history, set up its first overseas branch in Science Park. And in June 2016, world-renowned tech institution the Massachusetts Institute of Technology set up its first overseas Innovation Node in Hong Kong.
Other than that, the government will also strive to provide more space for innovation and technology industries in the next few years. That includes an 87-hectare Hong Kong/Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park, which is expected to be built in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, and another tech park of over 50 hectares near the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point reserved by the government.
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(HK Edition 01/19/2017 page2)