Press Releases in Hong Kong

Starting a business a ‘treacherous journey’

This undated file photo shows Wiva Wei Jiajun, Hong Kong-based entrepreneur. (RAYMOND CHAN / CHINA DAILY)

The road to entrepreneurship is often treacherous, with numerous unforeseen detours.

That’s what 27-year-old Hong Kong-based entrepreneur Wiva Wei Jiajun found in his foray into Chinese mainland cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Hong Kong is the starting point, but the market here isn’t big enough. The opportunities in the Greater Bay Area are almost 10 times that of Hong Kong. So is the competition.

Wiva Wei Jiajun, Hong Kong-based entrepreneur 

He said that helping Hong Kong’s young would-be entrepreneurs, who seek opportunities in the Greater Bay Area but lack information and connections, is vital for startups on the mainland.

“Starting from scratch on your own is a far cry from that of starting with guidance and comprehensive information,” Wei said.

After graduating from the University of Hong Kong, Wei and a friend set up a technology company in the city five years ago. In 2018, they launched a 3D holographic imaging system using Infanity3D — a technology they had researched and developed.

“Our product, applying vision technology and high-intensity LED technology, could display 3D images in midair without a physical headset,” he said.

The technology and design soon caught the eye of some high-end brands and were used in shopping malls and retail shops to attract customers. Wei later decided to expand his operations on the mainland.

“The Greater Bay Area, with 72 million people and similar cultural backgrounds, is a great springboard for business,” he said.

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Wei opened his first mainland office in Shenzhen. He likened taking his business northward to “crossing the river by feeling the stones”.

As Wei’s company merely offers technology products and creative advertising proposals to customers, he realized that Shenzhen’s supportive policies and industries don’t fully meet its demands. “Shenzhen’s policies and advantages are heavily tilted toward high technology.”

In this undated file photo, entrepreneur Wiva Wei Jiajun talks to colleagues at his office in Kwun Tong. (RAYMOND CHAN / CHINA DAILY)

With the help of seasoned entrepreneurs, Wei got a clearer picture of the advantages, policies and supporting industries of various mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area. He subsequently relocated his business to Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong province. “Guangzhou is friendlier to enterprises in the cultural and creative industries,” he said.

Although he sees the investment and time he had made and spent on the mainland as a “tuition fee”, Wei hopes that young entrepreneurs first seek the help of professional platforms or institutions.

He applauded a plan unveiled by the Hong Kong government earlier this year that aims to help young entrepreneurs looking for opportunities on the mainland.

Under the program, the special administrative region government will subsidize 16 nongovernmental organizations with about HK$130 million (US$16.73 million) in implementing youth entrepreneurship projects, as well as 230 startups for youths. More than 4,000 young entrepreneurs will receive better support and incubation services. “This will help young entrepreneurs avoid some detours,” said Wei.

He has high hopes for another program called the Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme. The plan, launched in December, will subsidize enterprises operating in Hong Kong and other cities in the Greater Bay Area in recruiting graduates from the SAR to work there.

Wei is among employers who intend to join the program. As a Hong Kong-based enterprise, his company plans to cultivate a management team that’ll be familiar with its products and technology, as well as Hong Kong and mainland culture and markets.   

Wei has been collaborating with more than 200 top-notch brands from 15 countries and regions, having started operations in four mainland cities, including Chengdu and Hangzhou.

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“Hong Kong is the starting point, but the market here isn’t big enough. The opportunities in the Greater Bay Area are almost 10 times that of Hong Kong. So is the competition,” he said.

kathyzhang@chinadailyhk.com