Cyberport readies HK$200m to aid start-ups

The funds, to be spent over three years, aim to spur expansion abroad and on the mainland

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 5:05am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 5:05am

Cyberport announced yesterday that it would invest HK$200 million to support new technology companies over the next three years, with an emphasis on helping Hong Kong-based start-ups expand overseas and on the mainland.

"Hong Kong itself is too small. We will focus on boosting start-ups' fundraising capability, connecting them with funding sources overseas … and building collaborations with international partners," Cyberport chief executive Herman Lam Heung-yeung said.

In the past year, the hi-tech campus had established an e-commerce exchange and a young entrepreneur programme with Guangdong province.

It has also set up a Shanghai representative office to help Hong Kong start-ups operate more effectively on the mainland.

The amount the government venture has committed to spend from next year to 2017 is double the amount it invested during its previous three-year plan, which largely went towards incubation, training programmes and "micro funds" for more than 200 start-ups.

The complex has been criticised in the past for not giving enough back to the local community - 60 per cent of its incubated companies were founded by non-native Hongkongers.

A founder of a company who is currently being incubated by Cyberport, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: "Many entrepreneurs see Hong Kong as a base in which to expand across Asia. We think that Cyberport can help us expand to mainland China by connecting us with relevant local partners.

"But this unfortunately doesn't address the problem in Hong Kong, where there is a large cash pool but investors don't want to invest in the IT industry."

Yesterday, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation - which also supports start-up firms - announced the official launch of its Hong Kong Science Park Venture Capital Partnership Programme. The initiative aims to bridge local and overseas venture capital firms with investment-ready tech-nology enterprises.

Cyberport has mostly incubated those companies that are involved in mobile-phone technology, educational and lifestyle applications, cloud computing and e-commerce programs.