Cloud computing firm Aliyun's Founder Plus scheme offers support, funding for Hong Kong start-ups
Aliyun, the largest cloud computing services provider in mainland China, is looking to burnish its credentials in Hong Kong through an initiative that supports the business expansion of local start-ups.
A subsidiary of e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group, Aliyun has formed partnerships with Hong Kong public utility Towngas as well as telecommunications and information technology giant PCCW to help provide local start-ups with a range of cloud computing services.
Aliyun vice-president Ethan Yu Sicheng announced on Monday the company’s plan to launch the Hong Kong edition of its “Founder Plus” programme later this year, providing selected start-ups with more resources to explore business opportunities in mainland China.
“Hong Kong has many excellent start-ups — including those in the gaming, mobile and finance sectors — that need secure, stable and efficient cloud computing solutions,” Yu said.
“By offering localised hybrid computing services, we hope to facilitate the rapid and more efficient business expansion of Hong Kong start-ups.”
Hangzhou-based Aliyun, which counts more than 1.4 million business users in mainland China, established its first data centre in Hong Kong in May last year through its collaboration with Towngas Telecom, the telecommunication subsidiary of Towngas.
The Hong Kong edition of Founder Plus will initially offer local start-ups with free computing hardware, office space, marketing services, mentoring, cloud computing services support, technology training, and unspecified funding.
“We are actively exploring collaboration opportunities with incubators and other Hong Kong institutes to provide more resources that will support the city’s start-ups,” Yu said.
There are more than 300 start-ups operating in the city, according to recent industry estimates.
Aliyun introduced the Founder Plus programme in mainland China early this year to support innovative domestic start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Aliyun partnered with 30 venture capital firms, 20 research institutes and business incubators, and 20 marketing, distribution and development firms.
It offers start-ups in mainland China much-needed funding, office space, guidance and mentoring, along with distribution and marketing services. Aliyun also provides each company founder between 30,000 yuan and 400,000 yuan (US$4,800-US$64,000) in cloud computing resources, as well as free training.
Founded by in 2009, Aliyun operates the network that powers Alibaba’s extensive online and mobile e-commerce operations. It also sells a comprehensive suite of cloud services available on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Yu said Aliyun expected to be involved in more than one million different start-up projects around the world as the company extended its operations and the Founder Plus programme in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia within this year. He forecast about 50,000 of those projects would be successful.
More private-sector support for Hong Kong start-ups and SMEs especially those involved in advanced information and communications technology projects, would complement recent government efforts, including a HK$1.5 billion injection into funds that support SME marketing and development programmes.