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Monday, February 2, 2015, 09:04

Alibaba launches HK$1b fund for startups

By GLADDY CHU in Hong Kong

To encourage small and medium-sized enterprises in Hong Kong to explore the opportunities of e-commerce, Alibaba Group launched a HK$1 billion fund on Sunday to assist young Hong Kong entrepreneurs to develop online business.

What’s more, Alibaba said it will provide internship opportunities for 200 graduates in Hong Kong each year to work in Alibaba or other companies in the Alibaba e-commerce ecosystem.

Jack Ma Yun, executive chairman of Alibaba Group, said that the newly launched fund aims to motivate young people to develop their creativity and entrepreneurship so that they can benefit from the many opportunities brought about by modern technology.

The core purpose of the fund is to help Hong Kong entrepreneurs build their startups on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms, including, through which they can sell their products and services to online consumers.

A group of investment professionals have been put in charge of the selection and management of the investees.

In addition to seed money, Alibaba will also offer technical support and training programs to recipients when they start their online businesses.

Stephanie Holland, co-founder of AURZA, started her business in Hong Kong by setting up the tailor-made dress company in September 2013.

However, she had difficulties selling her idea to potential investors who were only interested in placing their bets on the local financial industry.

Anthony Leung Kwok-chu, former president of Junior Chamber International Hong Kong, explained that the amount of venture capital injected into Hong Kong enterprises is quite limited compared with the Chinese mainland. “It also shows that valuable projects in Hong Kong are relatively rare.”

“Hong Kong’s innovative industry has great developmental potential,” Leung said. Alibaba is offering an opportunity for local startups to expand into the vast mainland market, he said.

Ma is scheduled to speak today (Monday) in Hong Kong to encourage local young entrepreneurs to take advantage of the new opportunities in the e-commerce era.


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