6 top tech innovation activities at Hong Kong’s Jumpstarter 2023 Tech by the Harbour

  • by SCMP
  • Business
  • November 10, 2023
There is nothing like a festival to bring people together to be inspired and, when it comes to tech festivals, there is nothing like Hong Kong’s Jumpstarter 2023 Tech by the Harbour.

Jumpstarter, a not-for-profit initiative of Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF), is an annual festival that provides a platform to help entrepreneurs and young people launch their business dreams. It is attended by entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, investors and members of the public.

AEF was launched in 2015 by Alibaba Group Holding, owner of South China Morning Post.

This month’s sixth edition of Jumpstarter, which runs until November 19, features Tech by the Harbour – a series of tech activities at venues beside Victoria Harbour giving people the chance to listen to lively panel discussions featuring industry experts, view and interact with outdoor art installations and exhibitions, and take part in networking events – as well as the Grand Finale of the Global Pitch Competition

The main event – the 6th Alibaba Entrepreneur Fund/HSBC Jumpstarter 2023 Global Pitch Competition Grand Finale, on November 16 and 17 – features 30 finalists, which after several earlier rounds were whittled down from more than 1,000 teams from 85 countries and regions worldwide that originally entered to compete for honours, including the Top Winner title and prize money totalling HK$1 million (US$128,000).


“We continue to push boundaries this year by organising a two-week Tech by the Harbour event against the stunning backdrop of the Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront,” Cindy Chow, director and CEO of AEF, said.

“AEF believes that start-ups are the driving force behind the development of our society, and we hope that Jumpstarter will continue to be an important stage for them to seek recognition by the market and investors.”Frank Fang, general manager, head of commercial banking, Hong Kong and Macau at HSBC, the event’s lead sponsor, said start-ups and tech ventures were able to gain a strategic foothold in Southern China’s Greater Bay Area and further afield thanks to Hong Kong’s innovation and technology ecosystem.


Here we take a look at six of the best events, including some that are open to the public, at this month’s festival showcasing tech creativity beside Hong Kong’s iconic skyscraper-flanked harbour:

1. Art Tech Park

The creative minds behind home-grown brand design company Way of Difference (WOD), which has garnered international recognition since it was founded in 2019, have curated an immersive art display highlighting Hong Kong’s pulsating urban life and cultural diversity.


Water, mirrors and animation on a digital screen have been used to create the immersive art installation, Imagine the Future, at Art Tech Park in Tsim Sha Tsui, which forms part of Jumpstarter 2023 Tech by the Harbour.

The installation, titled Imagine the Future, combines water, mirrors and a digital screen displaying animation to create a mesmerising journey for participants.

Where & When? Clock Tower, Tsim Sha Tsui; now until Nov 19.

2. Robotics by the Harbour

The public can see spectacular performances involving more than 80 robots spanning nine genres, ranging from machines with intricate technology to those that are functional, but no less innovative. Expect synchronised dances, and scenes featuring human and machine interaction.

Where and When? Outdoor piazza of Nina Mall 1, Tsuen Wan West, Nov 12, 4pm; Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Piazza near the Clock Tower; Nov 17 and 18, 4pm

3. Vision by the Harbour – Where the Future Comes Alive

This pop-up museum at K11 Musea features a live, experiential exhibition on how technology is revolutionising our daily lives. A highlight is the Sandbox 4D experience, which provides distinct gaming experiences. It was developed in Hong Kong thanks in no small part to Jumpstarter funding.

Visitors can experience the world’s first 4D virtual-reality version of Squid Game (above), developed by Hong Kong gaming company Sandbox VR, at Jumpstarter 2023’s live experiential exhibition, Vision by the Harbour.

Sandbox, which started out in Hong Kong as Glostation, now commands 40 franchises of the location-based virtual reality (VR) game across the world from its new headquarters in San Francisco, in the United States. During the Jumpstarter festival, visitors can experience the world’s first VR version of Squid Game, which was developed by Sandbox VR.

Where & When?

6/F, Kunsthalle & Sculpture Park, K11 Art & Cultural Centre, K11 Musea; Nov 18 and 19. Free admission, but registration is required.

4. The Centre Stage – Inspiring Keynotes and Speeches

Visionary entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, global thought leaders and other industry trailblazers will gather for inspirational keynotes and lively panel discussions with Victoria Harbour providing an impressive backdrop.

Panel discussions and keynote speeches, featuring global thought leaders, visionary entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts and other industry trailblazers, will be hosted by The Centre Stage at Jumpstarter 2023 Tech by the Harbour.

Featured speakers selected from diverse backgrounds represent multinationals, start-ups and social enterprises. They will examine how technology and innovation can transform different aspects of our lives such as education, consumption and music appreciation. There will also be discussions addressing issues such as the digital, financial and gender divide, and the future of industries with artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, and a panel featuring speakers from Africa who use innovative issues to improve lives and the prospects of the continent’s population.

Where & When?

Harbourfront, Hong Kong Cultural Centre; Nov 16 to 19. Registration is required to attend.

5. Jumpstarter 2023 Global Pitch Competition Grand Finale – From Dreams to Reality

Jumpstarter 2023 aims to empower start-ups from 85 countries and regions worldwide to share their ideas. The finalists represent start-ups from sectors including deep tech/ AI and data/robotics, sustainability, biotech/life science and healthcare.

The Jumpstarter 2023 Global Pitch Competition Grand Finale will feature 30 finalists from sectors including artificial intelligence, robotics and sustainability sharing their business ideas as the vie for honours including the Top Winner title and prize money totalling HK$1 million.

Seventeen of the 30 finalists are from Hong Kong, five from mainland China, three from Singapore with others from parts of the world including Africa.

A survey last year by government agency InvestHK found there were 3,985 start-ups in Hong Kong employing 14,932 people working mainly in financial technology and e-commerce, closely followed by supply chain management and logistics technology.

Where & When?

Harbourfront, Hong Kong Cultural Centre; Nov 16 and 17

6. StartMeetUp – Collate, Collaborate and Succeed

Networking and partnership opportunities for start-ups, businesses and investors are discussed both socially and in a more formal desktop setting. It is also where venture capitalists, bankers and angel investors will rub shoulders with tech entrepreneurs and promising start-ups. Issues such as a company’s initial public offering (IPO) potential – where a private company offers its shares on a stock exchange – may be one topic of conversation.

Despite recent market fluctuations for tech stocks, listing rules are being eased in Hong Kong for companies applying for IPOs in sectors such as AI and semiconductors. The Hong Kong stock exchange’s annual report shows that 51 out of 68 IPOs in 2022 were from the new economy sector, which accounted for 72.7 per cent of capital raised during the period.

Where & When?

Attendance is by invitation only:

Business Matchmaking, Serenade 1-2/F Hong Kong Cultural Centre Restaurant Block; Nov 16-17, starting from 10am.


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