I’ve been in Hong Kong for the last five years and since that time I’ve seen a lot of change.
I’ve worked for a bunch of startups, notably Plum, a food delivery service that really was a pioneering concept at the time. Unfortunately, that company folded, and since then I’ve worked for other similarly well-funded entities.
For the most part, I’ve always been either an early employee or in the first wave of hires and I’ve pretty much always worked as an SEO specialist or a Growth Marketer.
In Hong Kong, like as in many other cities around the world, startups tend to fail because they expand too fast, and most of the companies I’ve worked for were a victim of that.
One company which has soared about the rest so it seems is SenseTime.
From everything I have read this VC-backed Hong Kong startup could be shaping the future of artificial intelligence software.
SenseTime can recognise who you are the second it sees you, and it seems that soon it will be able to do so even better than a human can!
The Hong Kong company is part of a growing number of AI and surveillance companies are beginning to dominate the market through advancements that they are making as a result of Deep Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
In 2017 the company signed a huge deal with chipmaker Qualcomm which manufactures parts for smartphones, and I suspect that that was the trigger that helped make it Hong Kong’s first unicorn.
The Future Of Hong Kong Startups
Companies like SenseTime are helping propel the city into the future, but they are also helping inspire the next generation of talent. Hong Kong when compared to Singapore has traditionally struggled with regards to creating successful startups.
Successful Hong Kong startups that have made it big here are few and far between, mostly because of complicated regulations and high property prices; and those are seen as being significant barriers for entrepreneurs.
A decent amount of Hong Kong Entrepreneurs have found a more favorable environment for their business in the nearby tech hub of Shenzhen on the mainland.
Hong Kong needs to think of how to come up with better regulatory environment and create a stronger investor base.
Alibaba, for example, is one company investing heavily to spark more “unicorn’s-in-waiting”, from hosting events like Jumpstarter through to actively funding dozens of companies in the city.
What About The Future?
I can’t say.
My expertise and knowledge with the startup ecosphere are somewhat limited; however, with regards to SEO, Digital Marketing, and Growth Hacking I am indeed very experienced. Whilst I don’t know too much about the specifics of the Hong Kong startup “political scene” what I do know is that there will always be demand for talent that can help ALL businesses, and not just “startups”.
I have heard, over the years, of growing calls for relaxing visa rules to get more foreign talent into Hong Kong and some say that more action is needed.
Thankfully the work we do here at Growth Hackers Hong Kong helps everyone – and not just startups.