Innovation and Technology to Hong Kong
Trends and opportunities
Hong Kong is fast-becoming known as a global innovation and technology hub.
In 2018, the Global Innovation Index ranked the Hong Kong’s innovation and
technology sector as second in the world, as part of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen
technology cluster (Source:
Global Innovation Index Report 2018, Global Innovation Index 2018). The Hong Kong Government has ramped up efforts to develop the
startup ecosystem, attract and retain overseas talent, and offer
world-class R&D facilities and infrastructure to support the sector.
For the recent 2018-2019 Budget, the Hong Kong Government committed HKD$50
billion to promote Innovation and Technology and identified four areas of
strength for development: biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart
cities and fintech. There are also numerous government bodies such as
InvestHK, StartmeupHK, and the HKTDC able to support local and
international companies in Innovation and Technology.
Startups / SMEs
Part of Hong Kong’s strengths in Innovation and Technology lie in its
burgeoning startup ecosystem. The Government’s start-up initiative,
StartmeupHK, found that as of August 2016 there were nearly 2,000 startups,
with 5,618 workstations and 5,229 staff. In 2017, the number of startups
increased by 16% and the number of staff employed in startups rose by 21%.
Startup Ecosystem Survey, StartmeupHK 2016). There are also a number of Government initiatives that have been
introduced to support young companies, such as:
Technology Infrastructure and R&D
Hong Kong boasts world-class technology infrastructure and R&D
facilities. It is home to the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and
Cyberport, which together host over 1,000 technology companies of all
business stages and run incubator and accelerator programs. Furthermore,
with upcoming mega projects such as the Greater Bay Area development and the
Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park, Hong Kong is well placed
to be the gateway for companies looking to reap the benefits of the
international Hong Kong market, as well as take advantage of its close
relationship with Mainland China. For startups, Hong Kong also has a
booming co-working space industry, providing flexible, cheaper and smart
workplaces for young companies.
Hong Kong is also well-known for its leading technology education and
research. In 2006, the Government established five R&D centres, focused on bringing innovations to commercialisation in areas of
automotive parts and accessory systems, ICT, textiles and apparel,
logisitics and supply chain management enabling technologies, and nano and
advanced materials. Hong Kong’s education in technology is also unrivaled
– according to the QS World University Ranking by Subject, in 2018, five
Hong Kong universities place in the top 100 for engineering and technology (Source:
World University Rankings by Subject: 2018: Engineering and
Technology, QS 2018).
Innovation and Technology initiatives in Hong Kong
There are numerous schemes and programs for different tech sectors in Hong
Kong. As part of the 2018-2019 Budget, the Hong Kong Government announced
inject HK$50 billion into innovation and technology. The HK$50 billion would be allocated as follows:
HK$20 billion to support the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology
HK$10 billion into the Innovation and Technology Fund
HK$10 billion to support the development of two research clusters in
healthcare technology and AI and robotics
HK$10 billion to support the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks
Key sectors which the HK Government is attracting startups from with
additional funding support include (but are not limited to) are:
Smart Cities – The
Smart City Blueprint
is a strategic plan to build Hong Kong into a leading smart city that
embraces innovation and technology with a strong economy and high quality
of living. The Hong Kong Government has also established the Energising
Kowloon East Office, which is focused on developing the Kowloon East area
into a smart city CBD in Hong Kong. A number of
smart city initiatives
have been piloted already. Furthermore, the Development Bureau of the
Government set up a HK$1 billion
Construction Innovation and Technology Fund
to encourage the construction sector to adopt new technologies and foster
an innovative working culture.
Healthy Aging – The Government has also
pledged to set up a HK$1 billion Gerontechnology Fund
to develop assistive technology to improve the quality of living for the
elderly, improve the quality of aged care services and support healthcare
professionals with their work.
AI & Robotics – The Government earmarked
to develop a technology research cluster for AI and robotics as part of the
2018-2019 Budget. The
Innovation and Technology Venture Fund
was also launched by the Government to encourage venture capitalists to
invest in Innovation and Technology, including AI as a potential investment area. The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks also run a
number of accelerator programs that have supported robotics startups, and
is also home to the
Robotics Catalysing Centre, which hosts robotics solution providers.
Co-working spaces are relatively new to Hong Kong, but the trend has soared
with 560,000 square feet of providers already in operation.The Hong Kong
co-working space market has grown by 50 per cent in the last three years
and demand has been growing the fastest in the Asia Pacific region than
anywhere else in the world (Source: Jones Lang LaSalle, ‘Hong Kong’s flexible work space offering grows 50% in three years’, 10 October 2018).
This area of real estate will only continue to grow as startups, SMEs and
also large multinational companies recognise the benefits of co-working
spaces, such as being connected to networks, sense of community,
opportunity to collaborate, and smart, flexible office spaces that boost
A directory of co-working spaces in Hong Kong can be found
The Innovation and Technology environment in Hong Kong comprises of
several key global competitors. Some of note are:
- Israel – There is strong government support for Israeli technology
companies in Hong Kong. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the
Israel and Hong Kong governments in 2014 to strengthen industrial R&D
collaborations and technology development (Source: Innovation and Technology Commission,
‘Israel and Hong Kong Strengthen Industrial Research &
Development Collaboration wih MOU’, February 2014). A delegation of cyber security companies from Israel recently visited
United States of America – In 2018, a US delegation including companies
such as AECOM, Cisco and Microsoft visited HK and organised a smart city
U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau,
‘Consulate General Strengthens Commercial Ties with Hong Kong’, 25 May 2018).
Hong Kong Productivity Council is supporting US to promote its smart
industries, advanced manufacturing and smart city technologies through
organising events and programs
(Source: U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau, ‘Consulate General Co-Hosts Showcase for U.S. Smart
Manufacturing Companies with HKPC’, 4 June 2018)
.The Hong Kong Government has specifically targeted the United States to
invest in the region as a innovation and technology hub. In 2013, the HKTDC
chose to run its
“think ASIA, think HONG KONG”
campaign in New York and Los Angeles to encourage US businesses to invest
in the Hong Kong market.
There are many innovation companies being set up in Hong Kong. You may
find a long list of case studies on Invest HK
Links and industry contacts
Hong Kong Science and Technology Park
Innovation and Technology Commission
Innovation and Technology Fund
Guandong-Macao-Hong Kong Greater Bay Area Plan
Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.
The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade – contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, governments and citizens as they:
- develop international markets
- win productive foreign direct investment
- promote international education
- strengthen Australia's tourism industry
- seek consular and passport services.
Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.
For more information on how Austrade can assist you, contact us on:
Australia ph: 13 28 78 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A list of Austrade offices (in alphabetical order of country) is also available.