Google's Eric Schmidt launches programme to help young Hong Kong entrepreneurs

Partnership with Chinese University of Hong Kong will provide mentorship and assistance with startup costs and city's notoriously high rents

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 10:51am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 7:38pm

Google chairman Eric Schmidt visited Hong Kong today to boost the US technology giant’s ties with local tycoons and the city’s future business leaders.

In a speech at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Schmidt announced a new partnership with the university to help its students grow into “the next generation of digital innovators in Hong Kong”.

“Hong Kong has been one of history’s most successful incubators for entrepreneurs,” Schmidt said in a joint statement before the speech.

Under the agreement, Google and Chinese University, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, will launch a one-year programme to give Hong Kong entrepreneurs access to “mentors that can often be hard to reach in Hong Kong”.

Google will sponsor a trip for outstanding participants of the programme to the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, to meet Google experts, the statement said.

The firm will also help some young Hong Kong entrepreneurs to “overcome the startup costs and isolation that come with high rents”, it said without giving financial details.

Hong Kong has faced growing competition in recent years from mainland Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, as well as would-be regional financial centres in Europe and Southeast Asia.

High rents have killed many small businesses in Hong Kong and given rise to much social discontent.

See related story for an interview with Eric Schmidt after he gave his speech.