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Funding Sources

Funding Sources

Besides progressive regulatory policies, Hong Kong's government offers multiple funding schemes to help start-ups establish, grow and expand. From R&D support, favourable tax deductions, waived fees and financial hiring assistance to offering matching funds for development, fundraising and even overseas expansion, Hong Kong offers unmatched opportunities for Fintech innovation.

HK Government Funding Schemes Relevant to Fintech - One-Pager

Company Set Up

Starting up your Fintech company in Hong Kong is exceptionally easy and affordable, with regulations aimed at encouraging new business development.

  • Business registration fees HK$2,000 is waived for one year (from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021).
  • Registration fees for annual returns (HK$105 for local private companies having a share capital / local companies limited by guarantee) is waived for two years (effective on 1 October 2020).
  • InvestHK offers a wide range of customised services, company registration procedures, visa application, find office / co-work space , free of charge, for any business stage you are in.
  • https://www.investhk.gov.hk/en/setting-hong-kong/how-we-can-help.html

HKSTP Programmes

Science And Technology Entreprenenur Programme (STEP)

Turn your brilliant ideas into reality and launch successful ventures with STEP, our one-year startup support programme for tech-focused entrepreneurs. Through the programme, learn the fundamental skills you need to kickstart your business.

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Leading Enterprises Acceleration Programme (LEAP)

The Leading Enterprises Acceleration Programme (LEAP) gives startups wings to fly and fast tracks their global expansion. The growth-stage business acceleration programme is designed to support high potential startups in all industries.

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INCU-TECH Incubation Programme

Incu-Tech is a three-year programme aimed at helping technology startups specialising in deep tech research to develop innovative solutions. Work in our furnished office spaces, access world-class R&D equipment and lab services across our campus.

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INCU-APP Incubation Programme

Incu-App is a two-year programme designed to help startups develop new solutions from existing technology. We provide designated account managers who can give you professional guidance, so you can tap into industry expertise in content development, application platform and market support value chains through partnerships with top companies in Hong Kong. 

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Cyberport Programmes

Cyberport Creative Micro Fund (CCMF)

Cyberport Creative Micro Fund encourages innovation and creativity in Hong Kong.

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Cyberport Incubation Programme

Cyberport Incubation Programme supports entrepreneurs and start-ups with resources that aim to accelerate their growth.

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Cyberport Accelerator Support Programme

Cyberport Accelerator Support Programme prepares Cyberport incubatees and alumni for international markets and investors, providing up to HK$300,000 financial assistance to each successful applicant.

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Overseas/ Mainland Market Development Support Scheme (MDSS)

To continuously support Cyberport community companies, the Overseas/Mainland Market Development Support Scheme (MDSS) is announced by Hong Kong Government to provide a financial subsidy for graduates of Cyberport Incubation Programme (CIP) and Cyberport Creative Micro Fund (CCMF) to develop Mainland and Overseas market.

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R&D

The Hong Kong Government operates multiple schemes designed to offer financial, tax, research and technological support to Fintech companies as they grow and develop.

Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS)

ESS aims to provide funding support for local companies to conduct in-house research and development (R&D) work with a view to encouraging the private sector to invest in R&D.

  • Provides on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis.
  • Maximum Funding Support: $10 million per approved project.
  • Maximum Project Duration: 24 months in general.
  • Intellectual Property Rights Ownership: recipient company.
  • Recoupment of Government’s Contribution: NOT required.
  • Benefit Sharing of Commercialised R&D Results: NOT mandatory.

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Partnership Research Program (PRP)

PRP aims to support applied research and development (R&D) projects undertaken by R&D Centre or designated local public research institutes in collaboration with private companies.

  • Provide matching funding support for Collaborative R&D projects.
  • Maximum Project Duration: 36 months.
  • Industry Sponsorship: at least 50% of the total project cost.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Rights Ownership: industry co-applicant if it contributes at least 50% of the total project cost.

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Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities (TSSSU)

TSSSU provides funding to six universities to support their teams in starting technology businesses and commercialising their research and development (R&D) results.

  • Maximum funding support: annual funding of up to $8 million is provided to each of the six universities.
  • Each funded technology start-up may receive up to $1.5 million each year for no more than three years.
  • Scope of funding: essential items for setting up and operating the start-ups (e.g. furniture and equipment, legal and accounting services, rental of necessary and suitable premises, manpower, etc.), expenditure on R&D, promotion activities and marketing of their R&D deliverables, products or services.
  • Provision of funding: funding is provided to the universities on a reimbursement basis after the close of each Government fiscal year.
  • Intellectual property rights ownership: approved start-up and/or associated university.

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Research and Development Cash Rebate Scheme (CRS)

CRS aims to encourage more research and development (R&D) investment in the private sector and encourage companies to establish a stronger partnership with local public research institutes.

The Scheme provides a cash rebate equivalent to 40% of a company's eligible expenditure in two types of applied R&D projects –

  • R&D projects funded by the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) ("ITF projects"); and
  • R&D projects funded entirely by companies and conducted in partnership with designated local public research institutes ("Partnership projects").

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Enhanced Tax Deduction for R&D Expenditures

The Enhanced Tax Deduction provides for expenditure incurred by enterprises on qualifying research and development (R&D) activities in order to encourage more enterprises to conduct R&D activities in Hong Kong. 

The deduction will be 300% for the first $2 million of the aggregate amount of payments made to “designated local research institutions”(DLRI) for “qualifying R&D activities” and “qualifying expenditures” incurred by the enterprises, and 200% for the remaining amount.

There is no cap on the amount of enhanced tax deduction.
 

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Hiring

Hong Kong offers a vast talent base of college-educated IT and financial services professionals at all levels of experience, plus visa support for international Fintech R&D talent through TechTAS.

TechTAS

TechTAS provides a fast-track arrangement for eligible companies to admit overseas and Mainland technology talent to undertake research and development (R&D) work in Hong Kong. 

  • Visa for Fintech R&D Talent.
  • Eligible companies would first have to apply for a quota.
  • A company allotted with a quota can accordingly sponsor eligible persons to apply for an employment visa/entry permit within the quota validity period.
  • It also has to fulfil the requirement to employ new local employees.

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Fintech Anti-epidemic Scheme for Talent Development (FAST)

FAST aims to create new job opportunities in the Fintech sector and enrich Hong Kong’s Fintech talent pool in order to enhance the city’s competitive edge and reinforce its position as a leading international financial centre.

The Scheme has a quota of 1,000 new roles with a total subsidy of up to HK$120 million. 

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Research Talent Hub for ITF projects (RTH-ITF)

The RTH-ITF aims to provide funding support for organisations/companies undertaking research and development (R&D) projects funded by the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) to engage research talent to conduct R&D work. The RTH-ITF merged the previous Researcher Programme and Postdoctoral Hub for ITF projects.

  • Each ITF project can engage up to 4 research talent at any one time.
  • The maximum engagement period for each research talent is 36 months in general.
  • The maximum monthly allowance is HK$18,000 for research talents with a bachelor degree, HK$21,000 for those with a master degree, and HK$32,000 for those with a doctoral degree.

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Research Talent Hub for Technology Companies Conducting R&D Activities in Hong Kong (RTH-TC)

The RTH-TC aims to provide funding support for technology companies conducting or planning to conduct research and development (R&D) activities in Hong Kong to engage research talents to conduct R&D work. The RTH-TC merged the previous Researcher Programme and Postdoctoral Hub for technology companies conducting R&D activities in Hong Kong.

  • An applicant company can engage up to 4 research talents at any one time.
  • The maximum engagement period for each research talent is 36 months in general.
  • The maximum monthly allowance is HK$18,000 for research talents with a bachelor degree, HK$21,000 for those with a master degree, and HK$32,000 for those with a doctoral degree.

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Research Talent Hub for Incubatees and I&T Tenants of the HKSTPC and the Cyberport (RTH-SPC)

The RTH-SPC provides incubatees and innovation and technology (I&T) tenants of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) and the Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited (Cyberport) with funding support for the recruitment of research talents to conduct research and development (R&D) work. The RTH-SPC merged the previous Researcher Programme and Postdoctoral Hub for incubatees and I&T tenants of the HKSTPC and the Cyberport.

  • Each applicant company can engage up to 4 research talents at any one time.
  • The maximum engagement period for each research talent is 36 months in general.
  • The maximum monthly allowance is HK$18,000 for research talents with a bachelor degree, HK$21,000 for those with a master degree, and HK$32,000 for those with a doctoral degree.

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Financial Industry Recruitment Scheme for Tomorrow (FIRST)

Financial Industry Recruitment Scheme for Tomorrow (FIRST) is the first job-creation scheme dedicated to the financial industry. FIRST allows eligible employers to apply for a subsidy to make eligible new hires. The subsidy will be up to HK$10,000 per month per new hire for 12 months.

Employers regulated by the prescribed statutory bodies (see below) are eligible for FIRST:

  • Authorised by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA)
  • Licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)
  • Authorised by the Insurance Authority (IA)
  • Approved by the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA)
  • Registered with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)

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Business Development

Hong Kong provides financial support for adopting technological services and solutions, making it easier for new enterprises to scale up their operations.

Technology Voucher Programme (TVP)

TVP aims to support local enterprises/organisations in using technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes.

  • Provide funding for projects on a 3 (Government):1 (enterprise/organisation) matching basis.
  • Cumulative funding ceiling per enterprise/organisation: HK$600,000.
  • Up to 6 projects per enterprise/organisation.

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Distance Business Programme (D-Biz Programme)

D-Biz Programme supports enterprises to adopt IT solutions to continue their business and services during the epidemic. 

For each IT solution and the relevant training expenses for the employees, the funding ceiling is HK$100,000 (with funding for the relevant training expenses capped at 10 per cent of the IT solution cost). Each enterprise may receive total funding of up to HK$300,000 to undertake a project to be implemented within six months.

IT solution(s) must only be implemented after approval is granted.

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Fundraising

Tech start-ups in Hong Kong can get government funding at a very favourable 1:2 ratio to venture capital, perfect for young businesses ready to grow.

Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF)

The Government has set up a HK$2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF) in 2017 with a view to attracting more venture capital (VC) funds to co-invest in local innovation and technology (I&T) start-ups in Hong Kong.

  • Co-investment scheme targeted at eligible local I&T start-ups.
  • Matching investment ratio of approximately 1 (ITVF) : 2 (Co-investment Partner (CP)).
  • The Innovation and Technology Venture Fund Corporation's (ITVFC) matching investment ceiling:
    1) Aggregate amount of matching investments with a CP not more than HK$400 million;
    2) Aggregate amount of investments in an investee company not more than HK$50 million; and
    3) For each co-investment in an investee company, the matching investment shall constitute not more than (i) 40% of the original total target investment amount sought by the investee company, or (ii) HK$30 million, whichever is the lower.

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SME Financing Guarantee Scheme

The Scheme aims at helping local small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) and non-listed enterprises to obtain financing from participating lenders for meeting their business needs so as to enhance their productivity and competitiveness in the rapidly changing business environment. Under the Scheme, the HKMCI may provide guarantee coverage of 50%, 60% or 70% to the credit facilities of eligible enterprises approved by participating lenders.

The 90% Guarantee Product aims at providing additional support to the Enterprises, businesses with relatively less operating experience, as well as professionals seeking to set up their own practices, to obtain financing. application period will last until end-June 2022. Guarantee Fee Concessions and Further Concessions in Guarantee Fee apply to the 90% Guarantee Product as well.

The Special 100% Loan Guarantee under the Scheme started to receive applications on 20 April 2020. The Special 100% Loan Guarantee aims at alleviating the burden of paying employee wages and rents by the Enterprises which are suffering from reduced income to help minimising enterprise shutting down and layoffs. The application period will last until 19 April 2021.

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Overseas Expansion

When your company is established and ready to expand into Mainland China, ASEAN or abroad, Hong Kong operates multiple schemes to help your brand, upgrade, and export your product to new markets.

Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD Fund)

The BUD Fund provides funding support for individual Hong Kong enterprises to undertake projects to develop brands, upgrade and restructure their business operations and promote sales in Mainland China and ASEAN, so as to enhance their competitiveness and to facilitate their business development.

Funding will be provided on a matching basis, i.e. the Government will cover a maximum of 50% of the total approved project cost and the enterprise has to contribute no less than 50% of the total project cost in cash.

During the tenure of the BUD Fund, each enterprise may obtain funding for a maximum of forty approved projects and the total cumulative funding amount is $4,000,000 under the “Mainland Programme” and the “FTA Programme”.

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SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF)

Provides funding support to SMEs for their participation in the following export promotion activities to promote their own products and/or services. Such export promotion activities/platforms must be organised/operated by organisations with a good track record:

1) Trade fairs/exhibitions outside Hong Kong.
2) Business missions outside Hong Kong.
3) Local trade fairs/exhibitions which mainly target markets outside Hong Kong.
4) Placing advertisements on trade publications which mainly target markets outside Hong Kong.
5) Export promotion activities (such as placing advertisements, keyword search, listing product information, setting up or enhancing online shop, participating in virtual exhibitions, etc.) which are conducted through electronic platforms/media and which mainly target at markets outside Hong Kong.
6) Setting up or enhancement of a corporate website/mobile application of the applicant enterprise which mainly targets at markets outside Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong currently ranks No. 1 on the world's IPO market, as well as for total IPO funds raised. The city is also the fourth-largest capital market for exchange and high capital raising capability, ideal for companies ready to grow and expand.

ITVF Co-investment Partners

Mindworks Ventures

MindWorks Ventures was established in 2014. The fund management team is led by two Founding Partners, Mr. David CHANG and Mr. Joe CHAN. MindWorks Ventures seeks to make investments in growth-stage technology companies with a focus in Fintech, logistics, travel and artificial intelligence.

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Hong Kong X Technology Fund

Hong Kong X Technology Fund was established in 2016. The fund management team is led by three Founders & Partners, Mr. SHEN Nan Peng, Prof. LI Ze Xiang and Prof. CHEN Guan Hua. Hong Kong X Technology Fund focuses on investing in Fintech, big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, medical science, medicine, microelectronics, materials and energy.

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Radiant Tech Ventures

Radiant Tech Ventures was established in 2016. The fund management team is lead by Dr. Gordon YEN, Founding & Managing Partner, and Mr. CHOW Ching Ning, Michael, Managing Partner. Target sectors include internet economy, FinTech, robotics, healthcare technology, smart city, autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and new materials.

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Hendale Fund

Hendale was established in 1995. The fund management team is led by Mr. Henry LEE, Managing Partner, and Mr. Geoff LEE, Partner. Hendale looks for sectors with robust growth characteristics supported by long term trends and its investments are open to all sectors.

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Beyond Ventures

Beyond Ventures was established in 2017. The fund management team is led by three CoFounders & Managing Partners, Mr. Lap MAN, Mr. Alex FANG and Mr. Marvin HUNG as well as an investment company - Hony Capital. Beyond Ventures focuses on investments in technology, media and telecommunications, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and healthcare.

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BVCF

BVCF was established in 2005. The fund management team is led by Dr. YANG Zhi, Founder & Managing Partner, and two other General Partners, Dr. Robert LI and Ms. Vanessa HUANG. BVCF focuses on investments in international growth stage life sciences companies. Investment subsectors include biopharmaceuticals, medical technology, healthcare IT and healthcare services.

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Other Fintech Investors in Hong Kong

Bitrock Capital

BitRock Capital is a leading investment firm, with a focus on Fintech innovations disrupting the traditional financial services market.

BitRock Capital invests in rapidly growing segments including supply chain finance, consumer finance, payment, and Fintech infrastructure such as AI, blockchain, big data and cloud.

BitRock Capital is sponsored by GLP, a leading global investment manager specializing in logistics and related technology investments, with US$64 billion of assets under management in real estate and private equity funds around the world.

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SC Ventures

SC Ventures is a platform and a catalyst for Standard Chartered to promote innovation, invest in disruptive financial technology and explore alternative business models. Focused on “Rewiring the DNA in banking”, SC Ventures leverages on human-centric design, lean start-up approach and fintech enablement, while nurturing an intrapreneurial culture by empowering people to take initiative. SC Ventures delivers forward-thinking innovations through an open platform and a network of people and partnerships.

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Vectr Ventures

Vectr is a global early-stage venture studio based in hong kong that combines capital, creation and partnership to deliver game-changing impact. Vectr strives to be the ideal partner for founders that are building transformational products and looking to expand their businesses into Asia.

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Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund

The Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund is a not-for-profit initiative of Alibaba Group that provides entrepreneurs and young people with investment capital, strategic guidance and internship opportunities to help them better achieve their goals.

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HKSTP Ventures

HKSTP Ventures (officially known as the Corporate Venture Fund) is an HKSTP-created fund that gives early-stage Hong Kong technology startups a chance to fully develop their ideas and create revolutionary new tech products and services.

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