In the thriving neighborhood where Singapore and China’s Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai are leading the way of technological development and have dominated the forefront of global innovation, Hong Kong is making its way to the very top, despite the strong competition. However, its soaring success is not only reflected in receiving the official status of the world’s most competitive economy, but the city is in fact striving to have an even greater impact in the field of international technological innovation.
While the initial struggles for Hong Kong’s startups only a few short years ago revolved mostly around the lack of venture capital and sky-high real-estate prices, the environment of the city has changed significantly to become a home to a more business-friendly climate. However, with startups mushrooming in the region with increasing funding opportunities, they no longer ought to be overshadowed by Asia’s technological capitals such as Singapore. Hong Kong’s best and the brightest deserve to be in the spotlight of the world.
The latest government decision that will support such aspirations includes starting a HK$2 billion fund (the equivalent of US$256 million), aptly named the Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF) to support local entrepreneurs and bring massive investments to the tech-startup community. Then there is Beyond Venture, another fund which aims to provide tech startups with over HK$1 billion, focusing primarily on B2B companies, in order to expand the reach of the region.
But in such blooming eco-system, with a large number of startups competing for funds, too many are struggling to remain above the surface. How can these new business entities overcome the hurdles every Hong Kong startup faces, and which strategy will show the greatest promise in elevating the city’s startup scene to a new level of success?
Raising digital awareness
Even though for the longest time Hong Kong’s talent has been concentrated within its geographical borders on its seven million inhabitants, while the likes of Beijing and the famous Silicon Valley have spread their wings to become internationally recognized for their innovative technological solutions, the city is slowly leaving its business cocoon of localized operations. As a result, digital marketing is expected to play its part here, opening doors for all those who are striving towards a broader, bigger business model on a world-wide scale.
Namely, agencies like Elevate Digital have decided to gather a group of ambitious minds who will bring their SEO and digital marketing knowledge and expertise to the region. Aaron Weller, company CEO highlights how Hong Kong still hasn’t caught up with the rest of the world in terms of choosing the best branding and communication methods. He states that: “While the city seems like a fertile ground for digital marketing, many are shifting their focus and funds to alternative advertising methods. Retail especially is relying on print – discounts and loyalty cards. Nevertheless, with the whole world moving online, even Hong Kong consumers cannot resist the on-the-go solutions when stuck in the middle of this bustling capital’s traffic. This is where Elevate Digital saw the opportunity to establish itself as a reliable partner to all young entrepreneurs, startup companies and SMBs. We don’t want anyone’s voice to remain unheard; we believe that strategically-designed digital advertising campaigns are the most powerful tool for building a path to success.”
Education for innovation
Now, although the region is known for its globally recognized educational institutions, such as The University of Science and Technology which ranked 44th on the latest World Universities Ranking, graduates are still inclined to choose a safe career in, for instance, banking. The appeal of a financially secure existence in this expensive region often trumps the rewards of risk-taking by joining the entrepreneurial ranks.
If Hong Kong wishes to encourage its youth to take the path less traveled, then greater collaboration among investors, innovators and universities should bridge the gap of understanding the grand scheme of things. In the form of tax incentives, greater fund-raising opportunities, and enabling them a level of security they are so eager to establish.
It will mean teaching young minds to embrace the challenges of the future and contribute to its development, all the while making history and changing the perception of the once overlooked, but increasingly powerful region of Hong Kong.
The bottom line
Once these young tech-savvy minds are catapulted into the harsh, competitive business world, the support they really need should come from those who will not just provide the sufficient funds to carry out the initial idea, but help them earn more, grow and evolve from a frail startup into a well-established enterprise. And properly conducted SEO campaign will help do just that – drive targeted audience to businesses that offer the much-needed solutions and help convert these website visitors to loyal customers by building strong, long-lasting relationships.