Cyberport, Hong Kong

Hong Kong-based tech community, Cyberport HK, is not your average incubator and coworking space. For one thing, it’s huge. With 1 million square feet of tech-centric office space located about 15 minutes from central Hong Kong, Cyberport is a boon to the 150+ companies that call it home and represents an expensive initiative on the part of the city’s government. Profits be damned, it will build a Silicon Pearl of the Orient .

As COO Mark O. Clift explains it, the company is technically private but its shares are 100% owned by the Hong Kong government. In some ways it acts as rentable office space for established companies—Microsoft, IBM, CSL and Rockwell Automation are tenants. “But the government only allows us to lease the office space to companies that are somewhere in the digital or tech field, or companies which support that type of company, ” says Clift, a Brit who has lived in Hong Kong since 1996.

Given its financials, Cyberport essentially amounts to an investment by the Hong Kong SAR government in its local tech credentials.

Other companies that use the campus range from tiny incubation-stage startups to small overseas companies looking to establish a beachhead in Asia; and even medium-sized, relatively established companies and Hong Kong firms. Floor plates range from 700 square feet to 70, 000 square feet. An adjacent 170-room hotel is also owned by Cyberport and serves as another source of income.

On the development front, Cyberport runs a microfund that targets university-level startup minds and new grads to be part of its pre-incubation program. “Two or three times a year we open it up for applications, ” explained Clift. “There’s a selection process, they make presentations.” Startups chosen receive a small amount of seed money – about $8, 000 – as well as six months of in-house mentoring. “After six months they have to present their idea again and by that point they should have reached a proof of concept stage.” Once complete, the fledgling startup receives another $8, 000.

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