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Hong Kong is calling. Alive with start-up hotspots, technological advances and a razor sharp business acuity, Hong Kong is a formidable entrepreneurial power.
“There is a new generation of young people coming back from university in the UK and the US, and they like disruption and technology,” says Simon Squibb, founder of Nest, Hong Kong’s first ever business incubator. Hong Kong is crammed full of exciting, interesting start-ups at the moment and it’s no wonder why. Hong Kong is the gateway to Asia. The city is safe, English is one of the official languages and the quality of life is envy-inducing. The world is enthralled by the sense of adventure and excitement that Hong Kong has always evoked.
Business Friendly Named last year as “the most business-friendly city in the world,” (The Atlantic) Hong Kong has emerged as one of the most important ports in the world. Combining an ideal geographical location with low-taxes, a low-regulation policy, a proximity to easy manufacturing and world-class logistics, Hong Kong is one of the top three easiest countries in which to do business. And entrepreneurs have taken note. The second StartmeupHK program, a week long event lead by Invest Hong Kong, exposed Hong Kong as the indisputable start-up capital of Asia. With all the ingredients for success, the city is an attractive place to start or develop a tech business in the region.
Simon Galpin, director general of Invest Hong Kong said, “I believe that Hong Kong’s position as one of the fastest growing start-up hubs in Asia has been confirmed. We have been helping more and more start-ups to set up presence in Hong Kong and the number of start-ups in our project portfolio has risen continuously to nearly 20 per cent. In the years to come, I expect to see this percentage grow further.”
International business are flocking to Hong Kong, recognising the advantages of starting a business in such a well-positioned city. In addition, many young people local to the city are starting their own companies, likely inspired by guys like local guy Ray Chan, founder of 9GAG, the fiercely lucrative joke meme site, which went all the way to Silicon Valley’s legendary Y Combinator programme. The result was $2.8 million raised in 2012 alongside 80 million unique visitors and 2 billion page views to the site per month.
3 of Hong Kong’s Most Interesting Startups
Spacious David Beatty and Asif Ghafoor Launched: July 2013 What’s it about: “Spacious makes it much easier to find a property to buy or rent in Hong Kong.” Spacious.hk
HotelQuickly Raphael Cohen, Tomas Laboutka, Christian Mischler, Michal Juhas, Mario Peng Launched: March 2013. What’s it about: “HotelQuickly is the largest last-minute hotel booking smartphone app in Asia.” www.hotelquickly.com, free from the App Store, Google Play, and BlackBerry World
CarryAd Hanley Li and Lettie Sin Launched: July 2013 What’s it about: “Solving Hong Kong’s plastic bag problem by replacing normal plastic bags in the wet market with 100 percent biodegradable ones. How do we do it? We fund it by turning plastic bags into a new advertising channel for companies.” www.carryad.com
An entrepreneurial dream Hong Kong stocks almost every ingredient required for a successful, burgeoning city. More international than most cities in the world, with a well-educated urban population, a sound banking system and a location unmatched by most for trade, Hong Kong is the Asian hub for start-ups, and a first choice for entrepreneurs.