Story 2 Did the government hinder the Internet startups?

Tong Yilin

2015/5/8

The Hong Kong Economic Journal hosted the Internet Startups Summit in April 14, 2015 in Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. They invited professional experts from relevant institutions. A problem that whether the local government hindered the Internet startups was induced in the summit.

The Member of Legislative Council Charles Peter Mok, and professor Raymond Chu share their opinions with audience in the Internet Startups Summit hosted by Hong Kong Economic Journal. (Photo by: Tong Yilin)

Hong Kong people share the same habit — — whether a thing is successful or not, the responsibility belongs to the local government, said Charles Peter Mok, a Hong Kong-based Internet entrepreneur and IT advocate, who is the member of Hong Kong Legislative Council.

He repeated that people used to accuse or appreciate the government for everything. “They have problems,” said Mok. “However, they are not as poor as what the public thought.”

The government keeps prudent and democratic and they abide by the law all the time, said Mok. While the Internet and High technology industry has developed fast and the startups usually need a “looser” environment to develop their business, that is to say, they need some “special” policies.

Mok added that there is an app called Yao Yi Yao (drawing lottery and getting money through weaving mobile), which is really popular in Mainland China. However, if it comes to Hong Kong, Hong Kong Monetary Authority will investigate the company at the first time according the relevant law.

“The regulations shouldn’t be the obstructer,” said Mok, “The government should be more open minded when they look at this industry and they should adjust the policies or the regulations.”

Although the government is “staid” and “overcautious about regulations”, they did something for helping the Internet startups.

The C.Y Leung wanted to organize the Innovation and Technology Bureau to get more attention and support from the public, although the Legislative Council rejected the plan this year.

“We should understand them,” said Mok. “The money they used is the tax from our citizens, they should be serious.”

And in 2015 budget speech, financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah expanded the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation’s micro-financing scheme and injected 5 billion Hong Kong dollars into the Innovation and Technology Fund.

“You can say the government did useless things,” Mok said. “But you cannot say they did nothing.”

Raymond Chu, Assistant Professor of Institute for Entrepreneurship of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, pointed out that the government is not the key element of the development of this industry.

“The Silicon Valley, the world’s innovation hub, consists of universities, startups, large companies, venture capitals and infrastructure, while government just plays a supporting role,” said Raymond Chu.

Mok agreed with the opinion that the Hong Kong government could change and provide a better environment for the startups, but whether this industry develops well or not shouldn’t count on the government.

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