Hong Kong launches HK$2 billion fund to support tech start-ups
Hong Kong has launched a HK$2 billion (US$256 million) fund to encourage investment in local innovation and technology start-ups, in an effort to boost new economic activity.
The government said on Friday it is inviting venture capital funds to apply to become co-investment partners of the new Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF).
“The ITVF will help fill the funding gap for local technology start-ups. We are confident that having this new fund will be conducive to developing a more vibrant Hong Kong innovation and technology ecosystem,” said Nicholas W Yang, the secretary for innovation and technology.
The Hong Kong government and each venture capital fund will enter in an agreement and invest in eligible start-ups at a ratio of around 1:2.
The selection of funds will be based on a number of criteria as well as the recommendation of an independent advisory committee comprising veterans from the business and investment sectors, professionals and academics.
The ITVF is open for applications funtil January 15, 2018, according to a statement from the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC).
For the past two decades, the government has been trying to develop the city’s hi-tech sector and shift the economy towards a model based on innovation and technology – the foundations of a so-called new economy.
In 1999, it established the Cyberport, aiming to create a cluster of hi-tech companies and nurture youth, start-ups and entrepreneurs. In the same year, the government set aside HK$5 billion to create the Innovation and Technology Fund, injecting an additional HK$5 billion in 2015 to finance projects related to innovation and technology.
Hong Kong’s economy has largely been dependent on four sectors: trading and logistics, financial services, producer and professional services, and tourism.
In 2015 – the most recent available data – the four industries accounted for 22.3 per cent, 17.6 per cent, 12.3 per cent, and 5 per cent, respectively, of Hong Kong’s GDP.