Hong Kong has lagged far behind mainland China and the United States in the field of big data.
The government has been reluctant to allow access to public data, and most corporates have no idea how to apply data technology to enhance their businesses.
Now there is a chance for the city to catch up.
Cyberport and Innobator have organized B4B Challenge (Big Data for Business Challenge) targeting local talents.
The competition is sponsored by New World Development Co. Ltd. (00017.HK), Value Partners Group Ltd. (00806.HK), Fung Group and Prudential Plc (02378.HK).
Four leading local universities are supporting the event.
Sponsors will not only offer funds, but also assign senior management as judges or mentors, while some will even offer access to their databases, said Innobator’s chief executive Francois Lee.
A top China payment company will provide some of its transaction data over the last 12 to 18 months.
Organizers are also in discussion with Kowloon Motor Bus for access to its transport data.
There will be four streams in the B4B Challenge.
Start-ups can compete in three areas: fintech, supply chain management and smart City. There is also one for individuals and students.
Applications will be accepted until Nov. 12, and all participants will go through the first assessment interviews.
Three teams will be selected for each of the four streams for the final competition.
The 12 teams qualifying for the final competition will go through a three-month mentorship program and participate in the Shanghai Energizer Week.
Roadshows will be arranged for the winners to help them find suitable investors.
Although there is no prize money for the winners, participants will gain access to valuable data resources as well as high-caliber mentors from sponsors and business partners.
Herbert Chia, former head of the data committee and vice president at Alibaba Group, will also share his experience in a speech.
Stephen Lau, the city’s first privacy commissioner for personal data, will serve as adviser.
Lots of companies are interested in big data but they just don’t know where to start and how to deploy it, Innobator’s Lee said.
As a global financial hub, Hong Kong has a lot of talented young people who are full of new ideas about how to apply the big data technology.
In fact, six local universities have set up big data courses, Lee added.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 13.
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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