HK has a lot of catching up to do to achieve tech hub dream

July 25, 2018 16:59
Results of a recent survey indicate that Hong Kong's ecosystem to support entrepreneurs is lopsided, emphasizing hardware and physical infrastructure. Photo: Bloomberg

In a recent survey, respondents rated Hong Kong as the third best place to start a company.

The study, Transforming Hong Kong Through Entrepreneurship, was jointly carried out by KPMG China and the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.

The report was based on responses from 100 entrepreneurs and over 300 university students, as well as views from government representatives, academics and other key opinion leaders.

Fifty-four percent of the student respondents in the survey rated China's Greater Bay Area as the best place to start a business, followed by Singapore (40 percent) and Hong Kong (39 percent).

That our college students prefer Singapore to Hong Kong is a rather negative sign; it indicates that not enough has been done despite all the talk about promoting technology and innovation.

When asked what are the key advantages Hong Kong can offer to startups, 53 percent named convenience of doing business, 43 percent said geographical advantage, and 32 percent named tax regime and other government incentives.

However, only 15 percent of those surveyed said they believe the city’s entrepreneurial mindset is a key competitive advantage.

While co-working space and incubators in Hong Kong are considered handy sources of support, only 10 percent of the entrepreneurs said they have received proper mentoring.

This shows that the ecosystem to support entrepreneurs is lopsided, emphasizing hardware and physical infrastructure.

Another point is that although the Greater Bay Area is seen as the best place to set up a startup, only 31 percent of the entrepreneur respondents believe Hong Kong startups have achieved good connection with the Greater Bay Area.

If anything, the survey helps to identify what areas Hong Kong still has to work on in order to realize its tech hub dream.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 25

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist