Hong Kong’s annual StartmeupHK Festival became a virtual event for the first time this year. Organized by Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), StartmeupHK Festival is the startup showpiece of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).
On the final day of the Festival, at the HKFIA 2020 Forum organized by Sina Finance, Paul Chan, Financial Secretary, the Hong Kong SAR Government, spoke about Hong Kong’s resilience while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that despite its many challenges, Hong Kong is still faring very well and again led the world last year in funds raised through initial public offerings.
“I have no doubt that we’ll be in the running again this year, despite the turbulence out there. After all, Hong Kong has become a much sought-after place for secondary listing of Chinese companies. Just ask video game developer NetEase and e-commerce retailer JD.com, both of which listed in Hong Kong last month, following in the welcome wake of tech giant Alibaba’s secondary listing here last November,” Chan said in a press statement.
Held on July 6-10, the StartmeupHK Festival hosted 471 speakers from 97 countries and territories. It attracted a total of 181,770 attendees and featured 199 exhibitors.
Speaking at the Startup Impact Summit organized by WHub, Carrie Lam, Chief Executive, the Hong Kong SAR Government, outlined a roadmap for startups and small and medium enterprises.
She highlighted the government’s pro-innovation procurement policies and support for Hong Kong’s local startup base. Lam also pointed out the far-reaching promise of the Greater Bay Area. She cited the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in concert with the Shenzhen Government.
The Festival started with the Connected Cities Conference, organised by KPMG, during which Alfred Sit, Secretary for Innovation and Technology, the Hong Kong SAR Government, led a discussion on what it takes to build a smart city with reference to Hong Kong. The government plans are outlined in the Smart City Blueprint which puts forth over 70 initiatives under six smart areas to maintain Hong Kong’s position as a leading city for innovation and technology.
Impact of pandemic
Coping with COVID-19 was also a recurrent theme. The Startup Impact Summit took a look at the impact of the pandemic on fundraising for startups.
Angel investor and podcaster Jason Calacanis said events like the StartmeupHK Festival are very important for startups. Calacanis spoke from his home in California.
“One meeting can change the course of an entrepreneur’s life,” Calacanis said.
He added that it is all about finding the right company, with the right founders, in the right market at the right price.
The HKFIA Forum on the final day covered a range of topics, including gender inequality in the workplace. A lively panel discussion covered the advantages of having women in positions of power.
Meanwhile, Stephen Phillips, Director-General of Investment Promotion at InvestHK, encouraged startups to stay resolutely optimistic in these challenging times.
“I know that entrepreneurs — just like you — will play a vital role in leading us to a better future.”