Macau and Hong Kong Firms join GBA startup hub

Macau and Hong Kong companies are flocking to a new startup hub in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.

As part of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) initiative to integrate the economies of southern China, the Greater Bay Area Youth Innovation & Startup Hub in Yuexiu aims to help startups and entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and Macau to establish a presence in the massive economic zone by offering free office space, policy consultations and other support services.

Since its launch in July 2021, the hub in Guangzhou’s Yuexiu district has provided startup facilitation services to over 30 enterprises led by young entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and Macau, spanning sectors such as healthcare, international education and cultural creativity.

The hub has also attracted top talent from prestigious institutions, including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, MIT, the University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, to engage in educational and cultural exchanges in the GBA.

“Our hub also houses the Hong Kong and Macao Youth Home Secretariat and an Innovation and Startup Service Department. It is equipped with facilities like personal live-streaming rooms and a shared coffee room,” said Deng Jingqian, the hub’s director.

He articulated his optimism that by organizing a range of high-quality cultural exchange events, they could effectively cultivate a positive global perspective and expand the international outlook of the youth in the area, thus promoting greater interaction, thorough communication, and strong integration among them.

Fu Liu, Chief economist and party member, said the guide focuses on four scenarios – leisure traveling, living, working and studying, and investment and entrepreneurship.

“We’ve gathered information from more than 10 departments across the region. There are introductions to our industrial and entrepreneurial policies for those who come to work and start a business,” said Fu.

“There are also contents related to our tourist destinations and document processing that may interest those coming to live here or travel here,” she added.

Meanwhile, Long Tianxiang, chairman of Guangzhou Difenuo Coffee Co., Ltd. who’s a native of Macau, informed a media delegation that there has been a rising trend of young people from Hong Kong and Macau coming to the mainland for internships, entrepreneurship, or employment. “Through our ‘Wings Program,’ we have successfully provided internship opportunities to nine interns from Hong Kong,” he said.

Around 200 Hong Kong businesses attended the launch event last week, along with trade groups, youth organizations, government officials and business advisers.

The launch comes as business sentiment in the GBA has rebounded strongly in the first quarter of 2024, with the GBA Business Confidence Index jumping 11.8 points to 51.3, the first reading above 50 since the fourth quarter of 2021. Nadia Shaw

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