HKTDC’s Start-up Express returns for third edition; Building connections, markets, partnerships and brand awareness

HONG KONG, CHINA - Media OutReach - 6 April 2020 - Start-up Express, a development
programme launched by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in 2018,
is returning for its third edition to help local start-ups build connections,
explore markets, seek partners and enhance brand awareness. Through power meet-up
sessions with successful business leaders and a wide range of activities,
including exploratory missions, business-matching sessions and local and
overseas exhibitions, the 20 winning start-ups can explore business
opportunities with potential investors and partners.

Assistant Executive Director
Stephen Liang


HKTDC Assistant Executive Director Stephen Liang said that Start-up Express has been giving tremendous support to local
start-ups over the past two years, helping them explore global markets. Some of
the participating companies have even sealed major orders and won international


"Start-ups can help Hong Kong diversify its economy and facilitate social
innovation, which is why supporting them is a priority for the HKTDC. To offer start-ups more opportunities to explore new markets by
participating in overseas exhibitions, we have increased the number of Start-up
Express beneficiaries to 20 this year, up from 10 in previous years. We hope to
promote Hong Kong's entrepreneurial spirit by empowering relatively mature
start-ups and helping them operate at a profit through sustainable development,"
Mr Liang said.


Beneficiaries doubled
to nurture more start-ups

Start-up Express targets start-ups with products or
services suitable for the mass consumer market and that have a strong desire to
build an international presence. The programme helps start-ups to realise their
vision by providing a platform to grow through learning and exchanging


To be eligible to apply for Start-up Express, tech start-ups must have
been established for less than five years; have raised less than US$10 million
in funding; and have core or substantial operations in Hong Kong with a focus
on artificial intelligence (AI) & robotics, big data, biotech, the Internet
of Things (IoT), fintech or smart city. The application deadline is 8 May 2020.
A total of 50 start-ups will be shortlisted for closed-door pitching, and
selected finalists will join the pitching contest in June.


Participating in overseas promotions, missions and

Start-up Express is supported by the AMTD Group as
Strategic Partner. The 20 winning start-ups will have the opportunity
to participate in HKTDC-led activities, including:

  • Local and overseas trade promotions
  • Exploratory missions to visit high potential start-up hubs
  • Power meet-ups with leaders and mentors in small private
  • Networking opportunities via business-matching activities with potential investors or partners
  • Capacity-building workshops with skills training and market intelligence

From a brand-building perspective, winning start-ups will also benefit
from extensive media coverage, locally and internationally, and become a member of the HKStartupSociety, a resource-sharing platform for successful start-up founders and


Connecting Hong Kong
start-ups with global market

One of the key drivers
for start-ups participating in Start-up Express has been the opportunity to
connect with many potential buyers, partners and investors through
HKTDC-organised local and overseas events. This has provided start-ups with the
opportunity to expand their client base and help them strengthen their core
business through new market intelligence and insights. Among the many Start-Up
Express success stories are MedEXO Robotics, a developer of wearable devices
for movement disorders, and RaSpect Intelligence Inspection, a company providing AI-powered
predictive building inspections.


, Founder of MedEXO Robotics, said: "It was a pleasure
to participate in Start-up Express, which in our view has distinguished itself
as a platform for start-ups aspiring to break into the international market.
Thanks in part to the HKTDC's unique network and international credibility,
we've managed to win awards such as the CES 2020 Innovation Award (Tech for a Better
World) in the United States while also benefitting from international media
coverage of our work."


, CEO and Founder of RaSpect Intelligence Inspection,
said: "Start-up Express has been very helpful for our business development.
Technology is a fast-moving and ever-changing area, so it's crucial to be as
connected as possible to the global market to ensure we don't fall behind. The HKTDC's
platform provided us with market intelligence and networking opportunities that
helped us realise our vision, as well as giving us direct access to tech
industry leaders who shared advice that couldn't be found elsewhere."


support for start-ups

drive Hong Kong's economy forward, we will continue our work to nurture an
international entrepreneurial ecosystem to take businesses to the next level,"
said Mr Liang.


addition to organising Start-up Express and the annual Entrepreneur
Day, the HKTDC has dedicated start-up zones at
eight of its world-class trade fairs in Hong Kong, including the HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair and
HKTDC International ICT Expo.
Last year, more than 500 start-ups took part in these eight fairs, representing
growth of 23% compared to 2018. "This year, we will offer a new 'free-trial'
online package to help start-ups and entrepreneurs expand their network of
buyers and partners through the
Sourcing platform. Besides, we are launching a 'Voice
of Start-up' marketing campaign to publicise Hong Kong start-up success stories
and promote their brands," he added.


help start-ups navigate the current challenging times, the HKTDC is working to enhance
their competitiveness and resilience through its new T-Box programme. Mr Liang explained:
"Modelled on a sandbox concept, the programme provides advisory services in
fields such as legal, accounting, human resources, advertising and marketing,
risk management and trade finance. The programme is free of charge, and
participants can join other HKTDC events at discounted fees during the
three=month participation period."


More information

Start-up Express

Click here for online

Photo download

Photo 1:

The Start-up Express Pitching Final, held during Entrepreneur Day last year, yielded 10 winners. Pictured are the judges, guests and finalists of the competition, which was held as part of the HKTDC's Start-up Express development programme

Photo 2:

The launch of HK Startup Society, the HKTDC's first start-up platform, took place in May 2019, hosted by HKTDC Executive Director  Margaret Fong  (second from right) and joined by respected start-up entrepreneurs

Photo 3:

HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Patrick Lau (centre) led a start-up mission including a number of Start-up Express winners to San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles in the United States in September 2019


Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade
Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities
for Hong Kong's businesses. With more than 50
offices globally,
including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a
platform for doing business with China, Asia and the world. With over 50 years
of experience, the HKTDC organises international
exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs,
with business opportunities on the mainland and in international markets, while
providing business insights and information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room. For more
information, please visit:

About AMTD

is a Hong Kong-founded financial
services company with a strong entrepreneur and investor network providing
three core services: investment banking, asset management, and strategic

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