To sustain the growth momentum of Hong Kong’s Innovation and Technology (I&T) sector, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) announced new initiatives to further strengthen the I&T ecosystem, focusing on creating a culture and environment where tech entrepreneurs and enterprises can flourish.
These initiatives are aimed at building on top of the major milestones HKSTP has achieved for Hong Kong’s I&T sector.
Some of these achievements include growing Science Park’s I&T community to more than 800 companies coming from 22 countries and regions and nurturing more than 640 incubatees from its world-class incubation and acceleration programmes. In the area of investments, to date, HKSTP has helped partner companies and incubatees raise more than HK$0.6 billion.
From the HK$10 billion government funding support announced in 2018, HKSTP’s incubation programmes were boosted and they received overwhelming interest from the start-up community.
The Science and Technology Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) received more than 300 applications from individuals and business entities, with 70 teams now admitted in the programme. The increased financial support for Incu-App, Incu-Tech and Incu-Bio incubation programmes also attracted over 600 applications and enquiries in the past year.
New Initiatives to Strengthen the I&T Ecosystem
Acquiring high-calibre talent and enabling the exchange will be crucial if Hong Kong is to leapfrog and accelerate I&T development into new areas.
In June 2019, HKSTP rolled out the ELITE programme, a major partnership initiative to attract high-potential tech companies from local and around the world with pioneering R&D capabilities to set up or expand their R&D operations at Hong Kong Science Park.
Partner companies with successful application will receive HKSTP’s funding support for R&D operating and capital expenditure, as well as rental subsidies. To date, five companies have been admitted in the programme and they focus on R&D in bio-medical, electronics, and information communications technologies (ICT).
To reflect HKSTP’s increased commitment to supporting tech innovators at the various stages of their start-up journeys, the highly successful pilot funding programme, Corporate Venture Fund (CVF), is rebranded as HKSTP Ventures.
First launched in 2015 and operating under a corporate co-investment model, the fund connects high-calibre start-ups with public and private funding in Hong Kong and beyond. In FY2018/19, every HK$1 of the CVF fund was matched by HK$13 from the private sector. Up to September 2019, approximately 35 private sector investors were engaged under the fund.
HKSTP Ventures signifies the new position HKSTP holds in the area of investments, aiming to connect venture capitalists, strategic investors, angel investors and family offices to investment opportunities in deep technologies, especially in AI & Robotics, biotech, fintech and smart cities.
Expansion and Development for Sustained Growth
The first stage of the Science Park Expansion Programme has been completed. Two research clusters under the InnoHK initiative, AIR@InnoHK and Health@InnoHK, will soon start operations and look into ground-breaking R&D for AI & robotics and healthcare.
The soon-to-be-launched Robotics Catalysing Centre 2.0 will focus on driving robotics development and adoption in various industries, such as manufacturing, construction and healthcare.
HKSTP is also exploring avenues to extend its footprint beyond its current premises through collaborations with the larger Hong Kong community.
The Park has started a new university collaboration model that will drive knowledge transfer, strengthen academia-industry alliances, nurture young technopreneurs and commercialisation opportunities of university spin-offs.
To align with the HKSAR Government’s re-industrialisation initiative, HKSTP has engaged local and overseas manufacturers and new economy industries to understand their requirements for advanced manufacturing.
Based on their insights, HKSTP is currently installing advanced facilities and support services that will meet the stringent requirements of their production processes, such as intellectual property (IP) protection, intensive R&D, proprietary fabrication and testing techniques.
These moves will also give existing companies in the three HKSTP-managed industrial estates an opportunity to upgrade their current processes for enhanced productivity and improved quality of production.