Category Archives: Innovation

Shenzhen splashes startup cash

Shenzhen wants everyone to be an entrepreneur, it seems. The city has doubled basic allowances for “startups” and widened their definition to include, well, just about the entire population that works for itself, rather than for corporate titans such as Huawei, Tencent, and Ping An, from what we can see.

According to the Shenzhen Daily News, the basic subsidy for “start-up enterprises”, which can be individuals, has been doubled, from RMB 5,000 to RMB 10,000 yuan. In the case of “partnerships”, i.e., limited liability companies, it goes from RMB 50,000 to RMB 100,000.

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Unmanned ships on the way

Robotaxis are passé. Unmanned aerial vehicles are a crowded space. Self-guided ships seem like the next natural frontier of development in autonomous vehicles – and one in which Zhuhai appears determined to take the lead.

The country’s first unmanned ship R&D and testing base, the Xiangshan Marine Science and Technology Port, was officially completed recently and is expected to open before the end of the year. According to Nanfang Daily, the base will become a “public technology service and innovation incubation platform” for the design, research and development of marine-based unmanned systems and intelligent equipment.

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Founders Space settles in Songshan Lake

Dongguan welcomed the arrival of a top Silicon Valley brand today, as one of the world’s best-known incubator/accelerator companies, Founders Space, opened an office in the Songshan Lake hi-tech district.

The opening ceremony was attended by local government officials as well as the founder of Founders Space, Steven Hoffman, Stanford Research International’s Phillip Whalen, and mayor of the city of Dublin (the one in Silicon Valley), David Haubert. 

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Guangzhou-Hong Kong tech park under way

While Hong Kong gears up for another day, another protest, the provincial capital is building a tech park to cement ties between the two cities. Yesterday saw the Guangzhou-Hong Kong Science and Technology Cooperation Park launch 13 major projects, unveil five innovative platforms, and sign 18 industrial projects.

How much is all this worth, you may ask? Try RMB152.3 billion.  

The park is being jointly developed by Guangzhou’s Huangpu district government, the Guangzhou Hi-Tech Park, and the Hong Kong government. Located in the Guangzhou Development Zone, the park covers an area of 14.5 sqkm. The 13 major projects include strategic emerging industries such as hydrogen energy, AI, and smart wearables, with many funded by Hong Kong companies or joint ventures between Hong Kong and Guangzhou enterprises. 

One of the key projects is the Beijing-Guangzhou Collaborative Innovation Center. It is the first collaboration between two national-level development zones, which formed a strategic cooperation relationship in July. The project aims to promote technology and industry partnerships among the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau.

Ping An boosts biotech incubator

Ping An-Dapeng International Bio-Valley, a joint venture between Ping An Urban Tech and the Dapeng district government, has recently teamed up with the Kotler Marketing Corp., a consulting firm based in Washington, DC, to cooperate on building the incubator base as well as raising a startup fund for biotech innovation. 

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Slush comes to Shenzhen

Slushhas arrived in Shenzhen. Not the stuff that comes after a heavy snowfall, but Europe’s leading startup and tech event – all the way from Finland.

Slush has been described by its organisers as the coolest tech conference on the planet, a description that has been well-earned since it was founded in Helsinki over a decade ago. Spreading from Finland to Japan, Singapore and China, the brand is growing in its efforts to bring together thousands of start-ups, entrepreneurs and investors under a global umbrella of cool.

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HK’s first unicorn set to close

A cautionary tale from Hong Kong today: Tink Labs, Hong Kong’s first billion-dollar startup founded by a 25-year-old entrepreneur, is set to shut down after quietly laying off nearly all its employees.

According to the Financial Times ,the Softbank and Foxconn-backed platform was founded in 2012 and provided free-to-use smartphones for hotel operators to promote their services, either in the room or being taken out as a city-guide mobile device. At its launch, the company aimed to be available in 1 million rooms by the end of last year. 

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Shenzhen to add 2,000 tech firms

The Shenzhen Hi-tech Zone began as a patch of 11.52 sq km in the Nanshan district and has mushroomed, particularly over the past decade. This widely known fact was recognized in April this year, when the “zone” was officially expanded to 159.48 sq km, covering not only Nanshan but the Pingshen district as well. (To understand what exactly a Hi-tech Zone is, read our explainer.) 

Now, the city government has announced that, far from resting on its laurels as the tech capital of southern China, it plans to accelerate the development of this zone. In so doing, it plans to attract and/or develop no fewer than 2,000 new hi-tech enterprises this year. These will be focused on building commercial applications for AI, new energy, integrated circuits, robotics, and new materials. 

At the same time, Shenzhen will focus on building an integrated supply chain in the hi-tech sector, starting from basic research, through manufacturing and financing. It will also construct a number of key scientific and technological infrastructure projects and build a number of key laboratories and pilot bases. These will include high-level innovation incubators, research institutes, and a group of professional technology service institutions.

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GBA firms look to accelerate tech upgrades

As covered in yesterday’s news, the Guangdong government is pushing new credit toward SMEs in different sectors. One way of doing this is to make cheaper loans available to companies in need of “technological upgrading”. Such companies would be following a well-worn path. As we reported recently in another news item, Guangdong companies have spent xdxx over the past xx year on upgrading. In fact it could be said that the story of the GBA is the story of a region that is constantly engaged in the never-ending process of technological upgrading. 

Nevertheless, sometimes it takes the China Daily to make crystal clear what the government’s priorities are. And so we read today that: “As the shadow of escalating Sino-US trade tensions looms over China, tech companies in the Greater Bay Area have been accelerating their upgrades to innovation and technology.” 

“Onshoring” is a game two can play, the state-run media group seems to be saying, pointing out that Hong Kong robotics startup, Roborn Dynamics, has shifted its market focus from the US to the mainland. 

It’s not just in production, but research as well. Hong Kong-based unicorn SenseTime has been “adhering to independent R&D in artificial intelligence”, it says.

Shang Hailong, the company’s managing director, encapsulates the prevailing sentiment in suggesting the region should: “ Further deepen the collaboration of enterprises, universities and research institutions to drive the innovation and technology companies forward and turn the crisis into opportunities.”

George Leung Siu-kay, an adviser of the HSBC’s Asia-Pacific business, said on an HSBC forum that the US-China trade dispute could speed up the development of the Bay Area, as China will focus more on domestic consumption to drive the country’s economy and the region could be a strong momentum for the economic growth.

We couldn’t agree more.

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IBM innovation center opens at HKSTP

IBM announced that it has opened an Innovation Center in the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park. The center will connect the company’s global research and development resources to the city, and enable collaboration and co-innovation with partners, clients, government and academia.

It aims to enable digital reinvention of five major industries, including: banking and financial services; insurance; retail, distribution and trading; manufacturing; and travel and transportation. Areas of innovation will focus on Fintech, InsurTech, Smart Retail, IoT, Video Analytics, Blockchain, AI and robotics, among others.

The Center is designed as a studio setting to facilitate design thinking workshops or Garage methodologies for ideation and co-creation, as well as realization of concepts.

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