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Entrepreneurs head to London


HKTDC boosts connections between technology hubs by bringing Hong Kong start-ups to Tech Week in the UK.


London and Hong Kong are both globally renowned technology hubs, with leading universities, strong financial sectors and large, diverse talent pools creating vibrant start-up ecosystems.

A Hong Kong delegation went to London Tech Week this month, formed by 18 entrepreneurs from 12 homegrown tech companies spanning across the fields of AI, agrifood tech, fintech, proptech and customer relationship management.

Hong Kong enterprises represented at the Week included personalised AI physical-digital product start-up and agri-prop pioneer Farmacy HK, who are both winners of the Start-up Express programme organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

During the week-long visit in London, the HKTDC London office joined hands with Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, the UK Department for Business and Trade (DBT), and London & Partners (L&P), to curate a programme of insightful seminars, visits-briefings, and networking events that provide the delegates with market intelligence and access to the local ecosystem that would better prepare them for business expansion to the UK.

In preparation of the delegation visit, HKTDC London office provided exhibitors at the Week with the delegates’ business profiles to gauge their interest in meeting selected companies. Some individual business-matching meetings were held during the Week. HKTDC’s accurate matching and targeted outreach received positive responses. One delegate even shared that the matching was so effective that a follow-up meeting was immediately arranged for more detailed discussion within the same week.

In addition to targeted matching, the delegates also delve into the thriving ecosystem in the bustling capital of the UK. They engaged in an intimate roundtable discussion with local experts from the government, trade association, university and private company under the theme “Incubators’ Insight: Opportunities and Insider Tips for Entering the UK Tech Ecosystem”. The event provided the Hong Kong entrepreneurs with a comprehensive understanding of the local business landscape from the various perspectives, as well as  top tips for capturing non-equity public funding and finding business partners in the UK. The visit to The Mills Fabrica, a sustainability-focused accelerator and co-working space in the city, also served to connect the agrifood tech entrepreneurs with the incubation support and resources they could leverage.

To further support the Hong Kong business to nestle in London’s business environment, HKTDC London office also arranged a seminar with an internationally leading London-based accounting and advisory firm covering practical information about business operation in the UK, which included taxation, visa arrangements, ownership and other legal restrictions businesses should be aware of when setting up offices in the UK.

Other fringe events and networking occasions organised by the InvestHK, DBT, L&P and Tech West England Advocates, also provided ample opportunities for the delegates to meet some of the key industry players.

The HKTDC London office hoped that participation in the UK events would lift Hong Kong’s profile as an international hub for innovation and investment.

Joey Ko, HKTDC Director for the UK, Nordics and Ireland, said that Hong Kong’s vibrant technology ecosystem, robust research and development capability, friendly business environment and trusted regulatory regime would continue to attract overseas start-ups and investors looking to expand their footprint in Asia.

She pointed out that Hong Kong has emerged as a global technology hub with over 4,200 start-ups, including more than 10 unicorns, securing the second spot internationally and first in Asia among emerging ecosystems according to the 2023 Global Startup Ecosystem Report. Abundant public and private fundings, supported by mature professional service sectors, IP and common law regime, as well as low taxation, make Hong Kong an ideal fundraising hub.

Ms Ko invited UK start-ups to join the Start-up Express International programme to enjoy exposure and pitching opportunities in Hong Kong and Asia. Last year’s edition attracted over 50 start-ups across 15 countries and regions.

She also invited UK investors to join Asian Financial Forum (AFF) in January next year to hear from regulators, market experts and the enthusiastic entrepreneurs and startups in the financial sector in the region.

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