In response to the new circumstances that Covid-19 has brought about, the Skolkovo Foundation created the project, “Online Business Mission.” This is a quick and efficient means for developers of technological solutions to link up with foreign partners, and online missions with companies from China, Germany and France having already taken place. 


Photo: The Hong Kong Science and Technology Park. Source: https://www.hkstp.org/.

 
Today’s webinar consisted of presentations from representatives from Hong Kong’s InvestHK, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park Corporation (HKSTP), and Skolkovo startup representatives that have offices in Hong Kong. The focus of the webinar was to give insight into the openness of the Hong Kong market and its role as a gateway for foreign business into Asian markets.

The Hong Kong government offers tax incentives such as no capital gains tax, tax deduction for R&D expenditures, business registration fee waivers, and many more. It also funds R&D programs, enterprise support schemes, patent application grants, incubation programs, and corporate venture funds. On a side note, much of the Hong Kong population speaks English as a second language, making it easier for CEOs looking for a launchpad into mainland China’s market without a knowledge of Chinese.

Wendy Chow of InvestHK talked about the StartmeupHK initiative, which aims at helping founders of innovative and scalable startups from overseas to set up or expand in Hong Kong. It provides information about the Hong Kong startup ecosystem and connects people with the startup community. It aims to attract global innovative, scalable and high-impact ventures, and encourage collaboration between overseas entrepreneurs and Hong Kong-based startups/companies. According to Ms. Chow, 34% of startup founders there are from the US, China, UK, France, etc., while 59% are locals. The StartmeupHK Festival is due to take place online from 6-10 July 2020.

The HKSTP is a government supported multidisciplinary science hub that harnesses cutting-edge research to innovate and educate and is similar in many respects to the Skolkovo Technopark. Representing it were Peter Luk, Wesley Wong, and Spencer Yung who delivered presentations on what the HKSTP has to offer to foreign companies seeking entry into the Hong Kong market and the broader Chinese market. The HKSTP focuses on AI & robotics, smart city, healthcare technology, and FinTech. Like the Skolkovo Foundation, it offers all-round startup support in the form of premises, business development, mentoring, investment, networking, talent, matching, and consulting.

The Skolkovo resident company representatives taking part in the webinar were Vitaly Pentegov from the UrbanChain Group, which works on smart city technologies, and Alex Zhaavoronkov of Insilico Medicine, which is an artificial intelligence platform for drug discovery, biomarker development and aging research. According to them, Hong Kong is the place to be for young companies aiming to expand into Asia, given the city’s geographical location and its openness to business. Mr. Penegov highlighted the Hong Kong government’s efficiency in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and its general active support of foreign businesses. Mr. Zhavoronkov likewise expressed a similar opinion and pointed out the similarities between the HKSTP and Skolkovo.

Today’s webinar showed the many opportunities Hong Kong has to offer for foreign business seeking a gateway into Asia. On July 13-14, the main B2B Skolkovo resident pitch sessions will take place in front of Hong Kong investors, and the main topic will be healthcare.