Why Is Hong Kong a Unique Place for Tech Companies?

Hong Kong is becoming a hub for technology firms with strong research and development capabilities, excellent infrastructure support for industry players and robust intellectual property protection.

The Hong Kong government’s initiatives have played a major part in nurturing a conducive environment for technology companies and boosting their innovative capacity. In 2020, InvestHK’s start-up survey reported an increase of 51% in the number of start-ups from 2017.

Among them, those in data, fintech, e-commerce/supply chain management/logistics technology, information, computer and technologies had the largest number of start-ups compared to other industries.

The government has set up and backed several local organisations to form strong local and international partnership networks. This article introduces the main supporting bodies you should follow closely. The government is not only providing supportive financial programmes to start-ups and individuals to establish their companies but also an extensive network to facilitate the growth of the technology industry in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited (Cyberport)

Cyberport provides over 47,000 sq. ft. of co-working space tailored for fintech companies, currently housing more than 1,500 technology enterprises, including MNCs such as Microsoft, Lenovo and IBM. The financing programme currently at Cyberport provides applicants with financial support and extensive resources including mentorship and business advice, publicity and promotion, alumni networks, industry recognition, business development and investment connections.

Cyberport Creative Micro Fund (CCMF) - HK$100,000 cash grant and access to Cyberport’s resources and support for innovators and entrepreneurs

This programme sponsors high-potential digital tech start-up projects and business ideas. Successful applicants receive a HK$100,000 grant for expenses related to product development. You will need to implement your project within six months and the grant is disbursed in three stages:

  • Stage 1 HK$10,000 arranged upon signing the CCMF agreement.
  • Stage 2 HK$45,000 arranged upon approval of the interim report.
  • Stage 3 HK$45,000 arranged upon project completion and approval of the final report.

Eligibility:

  • Hong Kong ID holders over the age of 18 or above; or
  • Companies registered and incorporated in Hong Kong.*

*Successful company applicants must establish limited companies incorporated in Hong Kong upon admission.

This programme accepts applications all year round and applicants are required to submit an online application via Cyberport.

The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP)

The 22-hectare Hong Kong Science Park is an important I&T infrastructure in Hong Kong. It provides state-of-the-art laboratories and shared facilities that help reduce the capital investment of technology companies in product design and development, enabling rapid entry of new products into the market at a lower cost.

The HKSTP incubation programmes support you in founding your own company in three key areas: Incu-App, Incu-Tech and Incu-Bio.

Incu-App – Up to HK$860,000 financial support to cover R&D expenses

Incu-App is a two-year programme designed to help start-ups develop new solutions using existing technology. HKSTP provides designated account managers who can give you professional guidance so you can tap into industry expertise in content development, application platforms and market support value chains through partnerships with top companies in Hong Kong.

Incu-Tech – Up to HK$1.29 million financial aid

Incu-Tech is a three-year programme aimed at helping technology start-ups specialising in deep tech research to develop innovative solutions. Here, you can find mentors, strategic partners and investors and receive professional guidance from your designated account manager.

Incu-Bio – Up to HK$6 million financial aid

A four-year programme managed by the Biomedical Technology Cluster, Incu-Bio supports the development of biomedical tech start-ups in Hong Kong. You can connect with stakeholders in investment and regulatory support to develop the perfect business plan.

The following support is available to successful applicants:

  • Working space and facilities tailored to industry needs.
  • The chance to conduct joint R&D with universities and make licensing purchases from them. Access university library services and attract fresh talent through the HKSTP career platform.
  • Utilise HKSTP exhibitions, product launches, press and media services.
  • Matchmaking events connecting potential investors, technology partners, product distributors and industry partners.
  • Professional qualifications and corporate memberships.

*Eligibility:

  • A Hong Kong incorporated company established within the last two years; or
  • A 100% subsidiary registered in Hong Kong with its non-local parent company incorporated within the last three years in its home country; or
  • The founders of the Applicant collectively hold at least 51% (for Incu-All and Incu-Tech) or at least 33% (for Incu-Bio) of the company shares at the time of application submission and throughout the Programme Period. Such founders must fulfil the first two admission criteria.

* Please refer to the programme website for the specific criteria dedicated to each stream.

Download the business plan template and start your application here.

Innovation and Technology Commission

Backed by the Hong Kong government, there are 16 financial programmes under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) catering to different needs, aiming to support R&D, facilitating technology adoption, nurturing technology talent, fostering I&T culture and supporting technology start-ups.

To facilitate technology adoption in Hong Kong enterprises, the Technology Voucher Programme (TVP) has been introduced to subsidise local entities for the use of technological services and solutions to improve productivity or upgrade their business processes. Applicants must have substantive business operations in Hong Kong and the scope of the funding is limited to the list of technological services and/or solutions covered by the TVP in Annex B of the Guidance Notes for Applications.

Each applicant may receive cumulative funding of up to HK$600,000 for a maximum of six projects; one project is to be completed at a time to within 12 months. Successful applicants must contribute no less than a quarter of the total project cost.

Eligibility: 

  • Registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310); or
  • Incorporated and registered in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622); or
  • Established in Hong Kong by relevant ordinances as statutory bodies.

AND

  • Not a listed company in Hong Kong and not a government subvented organisation or subsidiary of any government subvented organisation.

AND

  • Has substantive business operations in Hong Kong that are related to the project being applied for at the time of application.

Further to the programme details, you can view our full article here.

Following the 2021-22 Budget, the Hong Kong government will continue to allocate more resources to the innovation and technology division to stimulate Hong Kong’s economy. Highlighted policies include the continuation of the Science Park expansion and Cyberport 5 development, an injection of HK$9.5 billion into the Innovation and Technology Fund, and nurturing local talent in the field of science and technology.  

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