Gurus Gathered at Cyberport’s Asia Innovation Forum 2014 to Discuss the Future of Hong Kong’s Ecosystem

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Cyberport recently hosted the two-day Asia Innovation Forum 2014 (April 23-24) themed “building a more vibrant mobile ecosystem through innovation and collaboration.”

Featuring guru speakers in the IT, entrepreneurship, investment and mobile space, the aim of the forum was to chat about the latest business trends as well as dissect the problems Hong Kong’s ecosystem is currently facing.

Wednesday’s diverse afternoon panel made up of Dominic Chan (project director for CUHK’s Centre for Entrepreneurship), Stephen Ho (chairman of the Communications Association of Hong Kong), Charles Mok (Legislative Councillor, IT at LegCo) and Andrew Pang (chairman of Cyberport’s Startup Alumni Association) tackled issues surrounding Hong Kong’s ecosystem specifically.

Charles kicked off the discussion by sharing his views on the barriers to building an innovation policy. “Hong Kong needs to attract more money for startups. There is a lot of money in Hong Kong but it isn’t put into technology,” he said. “Government policy needs to figure out how to encourage more money to come into the tech sector – this is the single greatest area we need to improve.”

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According to Charles, he met with the top VC in Israel in a recent visit to the Middle Eastern country, and was surprised to learn he was from Li Ka-shing’s investment firm Horizon Ventures. While this isn’t saying that local tech startups aren’t able to secure funding from Hong Kong investors, this is one indicator that our city’s tech and innovation game needs to be stepped up.

To give a boost to the local ecosystem, Dominic suggests an existing model used in a developed South East Asian tech hub that might work in Hong Kong. “Singapore has a national research fund which is backed by the government – they appoint incubators and take a huge risk by investing 85% of the capital. Hong Kong should try doing this as an alternative scheme.”

Whether Hong Kong should borrow from neighboring ecosystems or formulate its own unique strategy, the need for collaboration still remains constant across the board.

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Chetan Sharma, an expert mobile strategist and the president of Chetan Sharma Consulting, was one of the afternoon keynotes and he said mentorship is crucial when it comes to a startup’s success. “What happens is startups will go through these ‘near-death’ phases. At these critical junctures, it’s essential to have mentors who have been there, done that and have industry relationships to influence some of these outcomes,” says Chetan.

“Traditionally, these mentorships are filled by VCs, but more and more – entrepreneurs are relying on experienced entrepreneurs – merging and learning from one another is essential.”

Cyberport on Startbase.HK: Cyberport

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Comments

  1. Patrick Lui says:

    Good stuff!