This week I am in Hong Kong at StartmeupHK Festival 2016 – a weeklong gathering celebrating the success stories of the Hong Kong startup community. This year’s inaugural festival is supported by sponsors from four industry verticals and includes a series of conferences on data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), fintech and health tech.
Highlights so far from #startmeupHK:
- My team and I attended the Venture Forum, the IoT Summit, FF16 and I spoke at the networking event Metta AfterHours where I shared my insights on the future of the retail industry.
- Elon Musk was the featured guest at the StartmeupHK Venture Forum
- The Metta AfterHours Event by Nest, the festival’s signature networking event, also featured Group CEO of Li & Fung – Spencer Fung, who joined a group of top business executives to address the attendees.
My recap of Tuesday:
StartmeupHK Venture Forum
The Venture Forum is the flagship conference which started the weeks events. The forum featured Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, and drew a wide range of high-profile speakers, including the Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong SAR Government, John Tsang, and the Executive Director of Alibaba’s Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, Cindy Chow.
John Tsang opened the forum with an introduction of the Hong Kong startup ecosystem and why Hong Kong is a great location for the launch of successful businesses, some of the reasons being:
- Hong Kong has unique advantages as a city attract companies such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which launched a fintech startup accelerator in Hong Kong earlier in January. This increased the number of accelerators in the city to 11.
- Tsang also highlighted the role of the incubation programs that have been supported by the Hong Kong government. Cyberport and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation have jointly incubated over 400 startups that are working on products and solutions in fields such as robotics, the IoT and biotech.
The event continued with two panel discussions and a brief pitching competition. Panelists included Kevin Chan, Cofounder and CEO of Insight Robotics; Paul Tomes, CEO and Cofounder of PassKit; Fritz Demopoulos, Founder of Queen’s Road Capital; Mitchell Presnick, Founder and former CEO of Super 8 Hotels (China); and Grace Xia, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Development at Tencent.
Further details from the panel are available in our report here. http://ow.ly/XAeKY
Fireside Chat with Elon Musk
Without a doubt, the highlight of the StartmeupHK Venture Forum was a fireside chat with entrepreneur and visionary Elon Musk. During his interview with CNN anchor Kristie Lu Stout, Musk spoke on Tesla’s new initiatives to sustainable energy and transportation to the human colonization of Mars. Musk opened the conversation by saying that Hong Kong has the highest number of Teslas per capita and that the city will serve as a model for high-density cities around the world to transform to a sustainable transportation future. The conversation moved from Tesla and future of the electric vehicle to the difficult challenges the world faces today, and Musk made some bold predictions. He stated that you can “definitely” power all of China with solar energy, that tunnels are the solution to traffic congestion and that the first manned mission to Mars will take place around 2025. Musk told the entrepreneurs in the audience that running a startup is often a painful and excruciating process, but that if “you really focus on making a product that your customers love, you’ll be successful for sure.”
Metta AfterHours, Powered by Nest
At the Metta AfterHours event, organized by Nest and cohosted by FBIC, I presented the 16 key technology trends that will shape the retail landscape in 2016. After recently attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2016) and the National Retail Federation’s Retail’s Big Show, the trends I highlighted included the IoT, IoT-driven partnerships and mobile health.
Spencer Fung joined a group of top business executives to discuss Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial heritage and future, and how companies such as Li & Fung need to continue adapting to a changing world of disruption and opportunity.
The StartmeupHK Festival 2016 will continue today through to Friday, with the start of the LAUNCH Consumer IoT Summit, where Fung will deliver a keynote address. The FBIC team will be in attendance so stay tuned for our observations in our second report on the festival.