Shenzhen lures aspiring HK entrepreneurs

2019-10-31 03:36:16 GMT2019-10-31 11:36:16(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Eric Kuo, a 29-year-old Hong Kong entrepreneur, travels between Hong Kong and its neighboring city of Shenzhen once a week and spends most of his time working in Shenzhen.

Before graduating with a master’s degree from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Kuo went to Shenzhen and was determined to start a business there.

In 2017, based on his expertise in information engineering, Kuo founded a startup making smart suitcases and bags in Qianhai — a Shenzhen-Hong Kong pilot cooperation zone in Shenzhen.

“It is difficult for us to get funding in Hong Kong,” Kuo said, “In Shenzhen, however, we can be offered startup capital and enjoy preferential treatment in terms of office rental, taxes and housing.”

Qianhai even organized entrepreneurship workshops to improve participants’ knowledge of finance, laws and intellectual property, he said.

According to a guideline unveiled by central authorities two months ago, Shenzhen is tasked with taking a lead in China’s socialist development, which has injected more confidence in Hong Kong entrepreneurs working in the trailblazing city of China’s reform and opening-up.

The guideline on building Shenzhen into a pilot demonstration area ensures that people from Hong Kong and Macau working and living in Shenzhen receive the same treatment as local residents.

“I hope Shenzhen, as a partner city to Hong Kong, can create synergy with my hometown and support us with wider openness,” he said.

Kuo’s team has expanded from its initial three to 16 in less than two years and the company has obtained 12 patents, earning it a market valuation of more than 100 million yuan (US$14.15 million).

“We take advantage of the complete industrial chain in the Pearl River Delta to turn our concepts into products and introduce them to the world through Hong Kong, which is internationally renowned for its trade services,” said Kuo, who has positioned his assembly centers in Huizhou and Dongguan, which are among the nine cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

The Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub, home to Eric Kuo’s company, had incubated 388 venture teams by the end of June — 173 from Hong Kong.

In a promotional activity jointly held by Qianhai and Hong Kong in 2016, Winson Kuo, a Hong Kong resident who used to work for a consulting company, encountered Zhao Junjian who developed competitive combat robot products in Qianhai. Inspired by their common goal, Winson Kuo joined Zhao’s Shenzhen-based startup.

Now, apart from participating in the company’s production and sales, Winson Kuo also strives to introduce their robots to Hong Kong.

“Shenzhen-Hong Kong cooperation gives us more chances to seek a better future,” he said.

In the first half of this year, more than 600 young people from Hong Kong and Macau were attracted to do internships in Qianhai. Meanwhile, the Qianhai Administration held job fairs in Hong Kong, offering more than 500 posts for Hong Kong job-hunters.

Authorities also introduced 36 preferential policies to support Hong Kong and Macau youths in internships, employment and entrepreneurship in Qianhai, said Wang Jinxia, deputy director of the administration.

Another such area, the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, which occupies a strategic location on the border of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, has become the base for many Hong Kong startups to leverage the competitive advantages of the two cosmopolises in innovation and technology.

“Shenzhen and Hong Kong are undergoing a critical period in their development,” said Eric Kuo.

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