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Friday, November 08, 2019, 20:08
HK urged to foster entrepreneurship spirit and improve funding access
By Oswald Chan
Friday, November 08, 2019, 20:08 By Oswald Chan

Hong Kong must rekindle the spirit of entrepreneurship and boost access to funding to foster innovation so it can assist Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area cities in developing technology and innovation.

A new study by Deloitte China on innovation and technology across the Bay Area found that Hong Kong lacks endogenous innovation drivers. 

Hong Kong should leverage its higher education resources and advantages in basic scientific research, attraction to international talent, and policy support from the central government and SAR government to complement other Bay Area cities in developing an industrial ecosystem in the region

Philip Law

an audit and assurance partner at Deloitte China

Entrepreneurs believe advanced products, lack of a spirit of mass innovation and an incentive mechanism are key reasons behind the growth of startups, according to the study.

The study was based on two surveys conducted in the third quarter; some 90 established entrepreneurs and 40 student entrepreneurs were interviewed.

The cost of doing business (74 percent), market size and dynamics (50 percent) and access to talents (36 percent) were the three key factors that need to be tackled to improve the city’s innovation and technology environment, the survey found.

“Hong Kong should leverage its higher education resources and advantages in basic scientific research, attraction to international talent, and policy support from the central government and SAR government to complement other Bay Area cities in developing an industrial ecosystem in the region”, said Philip Law, an audit and assurance partner at Deloitte China.

A few entrepreneurs also believe the Hong Kong government should do more to cultivate local technology talents and improve procedures for providing funding.

“I recruit my staff through different universities and it turns out that I can only recruit mainland graduates to perform research and development jobs,” said Jonathan Lee, executive director at sensor technology product provider IOE Technologies. “Local university graduates may not be willing to pursue careers in engineering.”

Lee also said the procedures in applying government funding are becoming increasingly cumbersome. It takes 14 months to obtain government funding, even longer if the company has to finish product development by the 12-month deadline.

“The government attitude in granting funding is more like a lender who cares more about getting the money back rather than an investor who cares about the long-term financial returns from the startups,” Lee added.

Christine Huang Yuan, chief operating officer at life science company Cellomics, said Hong Kong’s mature financial system can provide funding access for biomedical companies in the city.

“Although Hong Kong’s financial system is well established, biomedical companies may still want to pursue a listing on the US Nasdaq market because these companies could solicit more market attention after listing. 

“I think Hong Kong should develop a segment of professional investors in the biomedical industry so that these companies will be willing to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange,” Huang noted.

IOE Technologies and Cellomics were among the winners in the 2019 Hong Kong Technology Fast and Rising Star Program organized by Deloitte China. Taxi app service provider hktaxiapp.com and financial technology service provider OKLink Fintech are other winners in the program.


oswald@chinadailyhk.com


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