Former financial secretary John Tsang looks to start fund for budding Hong Kong entrepreneurs

Plans announced during a 40-minute Facebook live interview with Citibank on Monday

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 7:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 7:00am

Former Hong Kong financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah announced plans to set up a fund to help aspiring entrepreneurs in the city on Monday.

Revealing the idea in a Facebook interview with Citibank, Tsang said he hoped to use his network of contacts to help young people set up businesses.

Tsang, who turns 67 next month, added he did not see himself as a retiree, more than a year since he resigned from the government to run for the city’s top job, ultimately losing to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

While he has remained active since the election defeat with frequent media and public appearances, the 40-minute interview offered rare insight into the popular figure, who has nearly 134,000 followers on Facebook.

Responding to a question from a Facebook user on whether he would set up an NGO or charity, Tsang admitted he was actively planning to “enter a new page” of his life.

One project he was considering to take on is to set up a platform or fund to help young entrepreneurs or budding start-ups, although he stopped short of giving details.

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“A lot of young people have limited knowledge about business operations. I’ve met a lot of those who have not even seen a balance sheet,” he said.

“I know many friends who are familiar with such knowledge and are willing to help, so I’m thinking how I can match these people.”

On a separate topic, Tsang was asked by the host whether Hong Kong’s financial industry was lagging behind in adopting technology. One most common argument revolved around the lack of mobile payment platforms in the city, a far cry from the mainland where most daily transactions could be completed over the phone.

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“I don’t think our banks and financial institutions are at any disadvantage. From my understanding they started making preparations years ago,” he said, giving examples of blockchain, sandbox and other trial schemes.

His comments differed from those of former Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, who had urged the government to invest in a more advanced payment system.

On a personal level, Tsang said he had no idea how much he was spending each month, since his wife was in charge of his finances.

“All I need is my Octopus card,” he joked.