Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund is yet to take any significant initiatives following its launch earlier this year, prompting questions among some observers about the fund’s real intention, Apple Daily reported.
In February, Ma unveiled a HK$1 billion fund to support young Hong Kong entrepreneurs. The fund was expected to begin investing in start-ups in the second half of this year. Plans were also outlined for offering internship opportunities at Alibaba for 200 university graduates from Hong Kong.
The promises, however, have not been delivered as of now, according to Apple Daily.
The paper said it has been informed by the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong that the institutions haven’t had talks with Alibaba on the internship issue.
But they expect the Entrepreneurs Fund’s representatives to seek meetings in the future.
An Alibaba spokesman was quoted as saying that the company will soon publish details on the fund’s management, investment rules and application methods, and that it will take the first batch of graduate interns from Hong Kong next year.
Charles Mok, a lawmaker representing the information technology sector, pointed out that it’s not hard to set up entrepreneurship funds in Hong Kong. A fund can begin operations as soon as it registers with relevant authorities, he said.
Mok says Ma’s real aim in setting up his fund could be expansion of Alibaba’s business in Hong Kong through acquiring start-ups.
The fund may only invest in ventures related to Alibaba’s business, rather than merely serve as a support vehicle for Hong Kong youth seeking to launch start-ups, Mok was quoted as saying.
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