Why and how to support Hong Kong startups to thrive?

Over the past few years, we have seen a rapid acceleration in digital transformation across all industries in Hong Kong, driven by a number of factors. Startups are playing a key role in Hong Kong's digital transformation as they are developing innovative products and services that are helping businesses and consumers alike to benefit from digital technologies. Not only so, the startup ecosystem is in fact making a growing share of economic contribution to the city with the amount of funding they secure and the talents they are hiring. As they thrive, however, they are also facing a number of hurdles: access to technology and funding resources, market opportunities, as well as talents.

As Google Hong Kong remains committed to digitising Hong Kong for good, we will continue to work with partners to provide startups with the resources and support they need to succeed.

2023: “Rocketing to new heights: Accelerating the development of Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem”, latest edition of the Smarter Digital City research series

Since 2017, Google Hong Kong has published a series of whitepapers and research reports to explore opportunities to accelerate digital transformation across various sectors in Hong Kong - from retail, finance, travel to exports and FinTechs.

With a commitment to supporting the city’s broader startup ecosystem, we have launched the latest edition of “Smarter Digital City - Rocketing to new heights”. With this comprehensive research, we went beyond FinTechs to identify the key challenges and opportunities that startups are facing, and offer recommendations on how to support the growth of the ecosystem.

Download “Smarter Digital City - Rocketing to new heights” Research Report

Technology enablement: Startups are passionate about investing in and adopting emerging technologies, with 52% of them planning to invest in Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning.

Funding: Although the Hong Kong startup ecosystem achieved US$9.7 billion in private funding in 2022, still 49% of the responded startups need most support on funding; 53% of startups rely on their founders’ own funds to get started.

Talent: There is a huge demand for STEM talent with priority being those with Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML), Programming, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, and Project Management skill sets; yet the limited local STEM talent pool and high wages are the main challenges in startups' hiring process.

Digital adoption: Startups see difficulty accessing the right stakeholders, competition from established businesses, and a lack of credentials are being the top three challenges when seeking collaboration opportunities with corporates

Growth: 51% of Hong Kong startups have expanded overseas and 86% are planning to in the coming three years, with the Greater Bay Area and Southeast Asia being the most popular markets, while Europe and the Middle East remain underexplored.

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