Is HK a good place for start-ups?

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  1. #1

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    Is HK a good place for start-ups?

    I have a few ideas for services I want to create as part of a seed-stage startup. The main question I have is, Is HK a good place for a technology based seed-stage start up company requiring VC or Angel Investment?
    I'm actually about to embark on an MBA (in HK) to try to shore up my knowledge and ideas in business organization processes and management. (Starting a company is just one option). But was wondering whether for the tech industry, HK is a good place to recruit and find funding? (as opposed to say, Silicon Valley)


  2. #2

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    Not really ... first, the VCs here are lazy in terms of taking risks. Next, if you're not chinese and trying to create a facebook clone you've made your pool of available funds even smaller.

    Rent is high here. Silly Valley rents are still cheaper.

    Then there's the problem of finding seriously talented people who are creative and not corrupted by investment bank bonuses.

    So, unless there is a very specific reason for starting up in HK, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.


  3. #3

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    I have to agree with KIA, Hong Kong would be a very limited market, amongst a business population that won't care about your idea. USA, UK, Australia, NZ and the EU is where the talent is, and the specialisation.

    Also consider that Hong Kong is socially about 15 - 25 years behind the rest of the world, they still buy Karen Carpenter greatest hits CD's, what does that tell you..... In my opinion also, the way that business is done here, blind freddy could be a billionaire if the amount of insider / behind closed door activity that goes on here, and its far from the transparent market that so many people boast on about. Quiet a few area's of how business is done, would end you up in jail back home... Hong Kong loves its monopolies and Hong run cartels... Nothing is going to change, and unless you are geared toward a business that interests them, you will have buckleys and no hope getting venture capital raised. You'd have a simpler task raising capital to open a new start up airline, than what you're proposing lol...

    USA is where I would be investing my time, I'd probably consider a US based institution over a HK one, if you plan to be accepted in the USA. Most Americans think Hong Kong is in Japan.... That may be a good, or could be a bad thing...

    Last edited by Skyhook; 22-04-2008 at 03:34 PM.

  4. #4

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    I run a technology startup in Hong Kong, it has pros and cons like all places. Unless you are working with a university and can push significant time on a project it is difficult to find suitable talent. The preference is to buy from abroad. The local population appears too low to reach the critical mass to nurture and foster technological innovation.

    I love to be proven wrong, I am slowly discovering some interesting local projects. Unfortunately a lot of projects are discarded due to poor management and direction, visit the HKUST R&D Corporation page for a great example, not updated since 2003 and barely functions:

    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology R and D Corporation Limited

    Last edited by MrMoo; 22-04-2008 at 06:45 PM.

  5. #5

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    Thanks, all good information. My main focus is Asia (I'm in Japan at the moment) Hence why I chose to study in Hong Kong (I applied to 4 US schools, rejected from 2, accepted in 1 and withdrew from 1 after acceptance to HK).

    Tech company is just one option i'm investigating. One thing that I'm noticing is the move of R&D activities from Western Companies over to China. So maybe there is feasibility for a seed-stage company to set up in the mainland.

    Local VC sounds like it may be an issue, would VC's in the west normally consider business plans from the East or do they stick with their own region?


  6. #6

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    All the big VCs (East and West Coast) and tons of smaller ones have significant presence in HK / Shanghai.

    Key is to get to a partner locally...


  7. #7

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    Hoista, if you have a solid business plan and proposal, it might be worth a shot sending a portfolio of your idea in detail to Virgin.com - Got a Big Idea? Tell us and you never know your luck. You might get what you want, with a dynamic company backing you.

    I am a very big fan of Sir Richard Branson, he's the man, in my opinion.


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoista:
    One thing that I'm noticing is the move of R&D activities from Western Companies over to China.
    Examples? Generally I find China the last place you would want to invest for technology projects, the language barrier is just too high. Taiwan is usually the first destination from Hong Kong. Popular destinations for out sourcing are India, Thailand, and slowly, Vietnam.

  9. #9

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    Nokia has a huge R&D base in Beijing
    Google also has a huge R&D Presence
    Microsoft as well.
    In R&D, China Is No. 2


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoista:
    Nokia has a huge R&D base in Beijing
    Google also has a huge R&D Presence
    Microsoft as well.
    In R&D, China Is No. 2
    The software houses presence is just for localisation, if they're in Beijing it's also for Party sycophancy (news agencies). Google China has only made one product so far (Pinyin input) and it was discovered that the database had been copied from Soho.

    I just spent a while looking through the HKTDC's technology page, quite interesting if typically not well maintained. It's surprising how many technology societies, organisations, and federations exist in Hong Kong.

    The HKITC awards have awesome long titles, hello China influence:

    "Best Digital Inclusion Award Promoting social harmony"
    Last edited by MrMoo; 24-04-2008 at 01:18 AM.