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Wednesday, November 06, 2019, 01:01
Crisis an opportunity for tech firms: Vice-tech chief
By Gu Mengyan
Wednesday, November 06, 2019, 01:01 By Gu Mengyan

David Chung Wai-keung, the Under Secretary for Innovation and Technology of Hong Kong, is addressing the opening ceremony of Entrepreneurship Parade 2019 at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Nov 5. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Hong Kong’s current economic recession could instead be an opportunity for technology startups to grow as the opportunity cost is lower than in good days, said a senior official in charge of innovation.

David Chung Wai-keung, the Under Secretary for Innovation and Technology of Hong Kong, made this comment when addressing the opening ceremony of the annual entrepreneurship showcase at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Tuesday.

Hong Kong startups embattled in the economic recession need to adjust their business models to the mainland market

Derek Chen Song, a PhD holder with PolyU

The city’s demand for information and technology talent continues to grow despite the unrest, said Chung, referring to an 18 percent increase of number of startups in the city as of 2018, with the total employment expanded by 51 percent to more than 9,500 employees, according to the latest official figure.

As the largest university-based incubator in Hong Kong, PolyU has a funding pool of more than HK$10 million (US$1.27million) that has funded more than 270 startups and over 900 young entrepreneurs since 2011. About 70 percent of these funded projects still operate, and many are expanding their markets to the Chinese mainland.

Emily Tang is displaying her product – a modular toilet for the elderly during the showcase of Entrepreneurship Parade 2019 at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Nov 5. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Also speaking at the ceremony, Lawrence Li Kwok-chang, deputy council chairman of PolyU, said PolyU has also been promoting entrepreneurship in the Greater Bay Area, including teaming up with Shenzhen University.

Derek Chen Song, a PhD holder with PolyU and now an entrepreneur running a fund-winning health tech startup, said small and medium enterprises in Hong Kong should, in a more active manner, look for opportunities across the border to showcase their products and services.

"Hong Kong startups embattled in the economic recession need to adjust their business models to the mainland market,” said Chen on the sidelines of the startup exhibition. He has one office in Shenzhen and is about to base a new research and development center in Hong Kong, given that the city’s research resources.

A total of 24 startup projects, most of which are tech-enabled, were showcased at PolyU, covering services areas such as fin tech, advertising and retail tech, gadgets and electronics design and social innovation.

jefferygu@chinadailyhk.com


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