Youth I.D.E.A.S. 05
Employment and Economic Development
Enhancing the Conditions for Technology Start-ups
30 December, 2015
The number of technology business start-ups has recently seen an upsurge in Hong Kong as the start-up ecosystem has experienced continuous growth. According to a recent survey by Invest Hong Kong, there were 1,912 start-up founders in 2015, a 71% increase from 2014, while the number of start-ups had risen to 1,558, a 46% increase from the previous year. Technology start-ups such as information technology businesses and e-commerce businesses in particular are very common.
However, Hong Kong ranked 11th in The Global Innovation Index 2015, and has fallen for two consecutive years. The knowledge and technology outputs sub-index of Hong Kong ranked as low as 31st, indicating that the innovation performance of Hong Kong is relatively inferior. Hong Kong is also inactive in the implementation and commercialisation of research and development (R&D) output into products with commercial value. Business expenditure on technology and innovation (TI) activities has gone backwards in recent years, from HK$18.1 billion in 2004 to HK$16.1 billion in 2013.
Though technology start-ups continue to appear, Hong Kong’s innovation achievement remains insignificant. It is therefore questionable whether the conditions are sufficiently favourable for the development of technology start-ups. In the midst of intense global competition, we need to take a close look at the conditions for technology start-ups in order to explore business and employment opportunities and to improve the overall competitiveness of Hong Kong.
Therefore, this Study looks at ways to enhance the conditions for technology start-ups. On the one hand, it examines the conditions for starting a business in Hong Kong. On the other, it tries to understand the problems in and obstacles to the development of technology start-ups by looking at the difficulties encountered by entrepreneurs.
This Study used an online survey and case interviews to understand the difficulties encountered by entrepreneurs and their views on starting technology businesses. In addition, experts and scholars were interviewed and gave their assessment of the conditions for technology start-ups as well as the relevant policy impact in Hong Kong.
Based on the findings of this Study, Youth I.D.E.A.S. puts forward five recommendations which focus on strengthening the ecosystem of the Hong Kong technology industry and enhancing entrepreneurship education.
 Invest HK. (2015). “Hong Kong: A promising startup ecosystem.” Retrieved from http://www.startmeup.hk.
 Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO. (2015). The global innovation index 2015: Effective innovation policies for development. Fontainebleau, Ithaca, and Geneva.
 Census and Statistics Department. (2015). Hong Kong as a knowledge-based economy – A statistical perspective 2015.