23 February 2019

HK investors reluctant to take big risks on start-ups: survey

Hong Kong investors are rather conservative when it comes to betting on start-ups even though the support system for entrepreneurial ventures has improved over the past five years, a survey showed.

While the start-up ecosystem has been boosted due to help from universities, angel investors and incubators, investors here are generally more conservative and reluctant to take risks on new ventures, according to a survey conducted by Google Inc. and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Only 6 percent of some 600 interviewed entrepreneurs said they availed of bank loans to secure initial capital, while just 8 percent said they used funds from risk-bearing investors, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Wednesday.

As opposed to Silicon Valley in the United States, Hong Kong investors are more conservative in betting on start-ups, scholars were quoted as saying.

However, as entrepreneurial environment continues to improve, risk-taking is expected to gather pace.

A food and nutrition graduate from the University of Hong Kong took a chance two years after graduation, as he gave up a project management role and took up an entrepreneurial program organized by Hong Kong Startup Weekend this April. He led a team and won a prize with a smartphone app for mobile transactions. The app was created in just three days.

The winning P2P local payment system and e-wall app drew interest from The Cyberport Creative Micro Fund, which has promised seed funding of HK$100,000 (US$12,903). The team, however, says it may need additional funding of up to HK$1 million to start up the business.

The survey found that more than 70 percent of the interviewed entrepreneurs were male and 83 percent were university graduates. Fifty-eight percent hold bachelor degree holders and 38 percent were in the age group of 21 to 25.

– Contact us at [email protected]


Freelance journalist

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe