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Hong Kong targets becoming Asia’s biggest tech hub

Hong Kong is making moves to become Asia’s biggest technology centre.

It’s well known that London is one of the world’s major technology hubs, but promising startups are emerging worldwide. In Asia, there are plenty of high-potential companies seeking to make a name for themselves on the tech scene – and increasingly, they’re being attracted to Hong Kong.

With its highly developed economy and established infrastructure, Hong Kong is a natural candidate to become home to growing tech firms. Like London, it’s also a major financial centre which will attract investment, and its reputation as a business hub means that tech firms are potentially in close proximity to some of their potential major customers and suppliers.

Investment has been slow to move into Hong Kong’s startups scene, but the situation is beginning to change.

 

In June, it emerged that venture capital investment in Hong Kong’s tech startups reached $6 million (£3.81 million) in the first half of this year compared to just $4 million across the whole of 2013, and the city is becoming an ever more inviting prospect.

What’s more, the special administrative region (SAR) already has high internet adoption and strong infrastructure in place. Although its population is smaller than those of other Chinese tech hubs such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, it also has 90 per cent internet access – far higher than any of its rivals. Average internet speeds are around 55 MBPS, compared to just 5 MBPS in Shanghai – and its internet is not censored.

 

All of these factors are likely to have contributed to the burgeoning tech scene in Hong Kong; between 2009 and 2012 alone, membership of StartupsHK.com rose from just six to more than 5,000 – a figure that continues to grow.

Government-run business association Invest Hong Kong is seeking to emphasise this potential with its second StartmeupHK Venture Forum this week (November 10th-14th) – a week-long campaign involving events, mentoring sessions and the final of a major global competition to find some of the most promising business ideas out there.

In an article for CityAM, the event’s UK ambassador Nick Giles explains that Hong Kong is particularly focusing on fintech, smart cities and data analytics – all fields that speak to the unique challenges of a huge urban area and financial centre. But Hong Kong’s potential is likely to keep spreading far beyond its own borders.


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