Hong Kong plans to improve the ecosystem for local start-ups, especially technology enterprises, by expanding the financing channels and strengthening business support services, Financial Secretary John Tsang said on Wednesday.
The city has seen a significant burgeoning in start-ups in recent years as the government sought to boost the economic value-addition, Tsang said, adding that more support will be provided to such firms.
Delivering his budget proposals for the 2015-16 financial year, Tsang said he will ask Hong Kong Mortgage Corp. to expand and enhance the microfinance scheme, which offers loans and training for small businesses.
This will be in addition to a planned HK$50 million new corporate venture fund from the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp. and a proposed HK$5 billion input into the Innovation and Technology Fund.
Hong Kong’s well-established business support services and sound system to protect intellectual property rights provide favorable conditions for the growth of start-ups, the finance chief said.
The number of public or private organizations providing incubation programs, business advisory services, and assistance in building partner networks for start-ups has increased tenfold over the past three years, Tsang said, noting that some of the initiatives come from world-renowned organizations such as Nest and Accenture.
Tsang also announced improved government information flow. Data will be released in digital formats online for free to encourage development of more applications by start-ups.
“We have witnessed growing interest amongst investors in Hong Kong start-ups,” he said, noting that global IT giants such as Microsoft have set up offices here to look for new businesses that are worth investing in.
Start-ups nurtured by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp. and Cyberport have also attracted hundreds of millions of dollars of investment.
Tsang also highlighted Hong Kong’s attractiveness for development of new financial technologies.
“Being an international financial center with years of experience in technology, Hong Kong is an ideal place for developing financial technologies,” he said.
Authorities will consider setting up a steering group to study ways to develop Hong Kong into a financial technology hub together with industries, research and development institutions and regulatory bodies, Tsang added.
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