Tencent CEO Pony Ma: Something is missing in Hong Kong’s innovation, and this is what they can do

CEO of Tencent Pony Ma spoke on Tuesday at the launch event of Hong Kong X-Tech Startup Platform, claiming that a lack of support from local government and colleges may pose formidable barriers to technological innovation.

“Hong Kong has many advantages, be it top-ranking universities with international talent, or easy access to the huge market of mainland China,” said Ma, appointed as the honorary president of Hong Kong X-Tech Startup Platform. “But in terms of technological innovation, it feels that something’s missing.”

Ma said that the missing part may be divided into two. On the one hand, local government support is indispensable, and must be enhanced. He recalled that over a decade ago, Shenzhen-based Tencent had problems collecting capital until the local government established a high-tech fair. Tencent got from the fair its first offer of venture capital: something that, in those days, flooded into Beijing but rarely trickled into Shenzhen.

On the other hand, Hong Kong colleges and universities must make clear policies to encourage accomplished professors to apply their findings to practice by running a company and obtaining shares. Ma said that universities such as Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have set a good example: a fruit of their innovation support is HKST graduate Wang Tao, who founded DJI, a unicorn that now leads the world in drone technology.

Ma also offered three suggestions for young entrepreneurs:

I. Find good mentors and partners, as project review and teamwork is vital.

II. Discover opportunities by using technologies to integrate different industries such as new materials, big data, biotechnology, etc.

III. Make the most of preexisting platforms. Platforms ranging from cloud services, social networks to e-commerce, will all help entrepreneurs focus more efficiently on their own business for greater innovation.

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