(Yicai Global) Nov. 22 -- Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund under Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA] has invested in 14 Hong Kong startups since its founding in 2015, covering e-commerce, online-to-offline (O2O), logistics, sharing economy and financial technology (fintech). It will invest an additional HKD1 billion (USD128 million) in Hong Kong in the future to support local young entrepreneurs to build their own business, the 21st Century Business Herald learned from Jumpstarter 2017, a startup pitch event in Hong Kong, yesterday.
The event is co-organized by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, Hong Kong Electronics Technology Company Cluster, Hong Kong Cyberport Management Co. and Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corp. to help promote the development of startups in Hong Kong. Jumpstarter participants reached the final round yesterday. Three winning startups in the final competition will each receive up to USD1 million in investment.
The event has received applications from nearly 600 project teams, but only 0.5 percent will receive investment from the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, meaning a very low success rate, said Joseph Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba and the Fund. He believes that a successful entrepreneur must be persuasive and have firm beliefs about his business ideas, innovations and products. "As an entrepreneur, you need to be confident, whether you are speaking on the stage or to your own employees."
Tang Xiaoou, founder of China's largest artificial intelligence (AI) startup SenseTime Corp. and a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, believes that Hong Kong boasts a unique location as a city linking China and the world and leads other cities and regions in the era of AI. "Hong Kong's rule of law, financial, accounting and other supporting services it provides make the city very suitable for starting a business," he said.
However, Hong Kong has its own shortcomings such as elevated home prices and insufficient openness, which constrain innovation. "I believe a top priority for Hong Kong is to open its borders so that talent can come in. Talent is critical for AI. If we just rely on talent in one city, industry concentration cannot be achieved," Tang explained.