Market Trend

Inside Hong Kong's Startup Ecosystem: What is The Meaning of HashKey's Journey to Unicorn Status

Asia Tomorrow Original
January 30, 2024

Hong Kong cryptocurrency company HashKey has entered the 'unicorn club' with a $100 million investment, valuing the company at $1.2 billion! OKX Ventures was the lead investor.

HashKey provides digital asset trading, custody, and blockchain solutions in Asia-Pacific, and plans to use the investment to strengthen its platform and expand its regulatory offerings.

HashKey Exchange Announces Official Uplift of Type 1 and Type 7 Licences,  Becomes the Licensed Virtual Asset Exchange to Offer Retail Services in  Hong Kong
(Source : Hashkey)

Let's take a look at the startup ecosystem in Hong Kong that has spawned such a unicorn!

1.Features of Hong Kong's startup ecosystem

Hong Kong has a strong financial sector, a unique location, and a dynamic business environment, making it a global financial center.

As a major trade hub in the Asia-Pacific region, it boasts excellent infrastructure and transportation networks. In the tech startup sector, government support and co-working spaces are fostering the development of the industry.

However, despite this growth, political instability and social issues could affect Hong Kong's long-term reliability and growth rate.

-Robust infrastructure

Hong Kong's startup ecosystem is fueled by its distinctive geographic location and strong financial system. The presence of global networks, various support programs, and the presence of major corporations further boosts the ecosystem. In addition, Hong Kong's excellent infrastructure and transportation, logistics, and telecommunications networks enable the efficient movement of goods, services, and ideas, supporting the growth of startups.

-Government support

The Hong Kong government runs a number of programs to aid startups. The Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) provides financial support for technology-based projects, and Cyberport provides office space, financing, and mentorship programs for tech startups.

The Hong Kong Science Park helps innovative technology companies with office space, research facilities, and business services. Hong Kong Startup Support Scheme provides business mentoring, networking, and help finding investors. Finally, InvestHK assists foreign investors and individuals or companies looking to start a business in Hong Kong. With all of this support, the Hong Kong government is helping startups thrive and evolve.

-Government regulations

Hong Kong is recognized as a startup-friendly regulatory environment, with a simple and transparent business incorporation process, low corporate taxes, a business-friendly atmosphere, an inclusive marketplace, and emphasized data protection. These conditions help startups to operate in Hong Kong and make the city an attractive business destination for startups from around the world.

InvestHK - Government Department of Foreign Direct Investment | InvestHK
(Source : InvestHK)

2.Hong Kong Startup Investment Trends

Hong Kong's startup investment trends are growing in a positive direction, with venture capital investments increasing in areas such as fintech, SaaS, smart logistics, metaverse, gaming, and AI. This shows that Hong Kong has the potential to yield more unicorns in the next five years.

However, the impact of COVID-19 has threatened Hong Kong's fourth-place ranking in the Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI). In response, the Hong Kong government has focused on promoting foreign talent and cultivating an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and has invested approximately US$19.1 billion in startup support over the past five years. This has led to a significant increase in the number of startups in Hong Kong, from 2,229 to 3,755.

3.Unicorn Startups in Hong Kong

-Klook: a travel activity and service booking platform, offering a wide range of travel experiences, tickets to attractions, local tours, dining and transportation bookings, and more, with more than 50,000 travel products sold globally.

-GOGOX: A logistics and delivery service platform that connects vehicles for courier and transportation work through a mobile app, and is expanding its services to several countries in Asia.

-DJI: A drone manufacturer that has an overwhelming share of the global drone market by developing and supplying innovative drones and related technologies through continuous research and development.

-Lalamove: a platform that provides on-demand logistics services, offering instant response to a wide range of transportation needs.

Seoul Social Innovation Trip 南韓社會創新之旅- YouTube
(Source : Seoul Social Innovation Trip)


At underdogs, we organized a 'Seoul Social Innovation Trip' where we invited Hong Kong university students to gain a better understanding of the social economy in Seoul.

Along with the students, we visited social enterprises in Seoul and had a fruitful time of exchange and learning. Furthermore, to stimulate social entrepreneurship, the program also hosted the 'Hong Kong Overseas Social Innovation Training' where 17 students, including students from Daegu University, explored the social innovation ecosystem in Hong Kong."

Written by underdogs



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