中國訂單急升!罐裝加拿大「空氣」$239 RMB照搶

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中國空氣污染問題到底有幾嚴重?從經常聽到各大城市受到霧霾威脅的消息已可略知一二。現時想在中國吸一口新鮮空氣並不是易事,不過有人卻從中找到商機,因為最近加拿大公司 Vitality Air 就將當地的空氣放到網店發售,並且更成功吸引到不少中國消費者選購。

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Vitality Air 是由加拿大華裔青年 Moses Lam 成立的公司,而他之所以能創業其實只是誤打誤撞,因為之前他眼見不少地方都受到污染問題影響,於是便決定將一包裝有當地旅遊勝地 Banff 的空氣放到 eBay 上出售,殊不知其後竟然有人以 168 美元(約 1,302 港元)的價格購入。眼見「賣空氣」竟然都可以賺大錢,於是 Moses 便決定擴展業務,最後更成立了 Vitality Air 這間公司。

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Vitality Air 現時主要收集當地 Banff 及 Lake Louise 的新鮮空氣,並以人手製成一支又一支「空氣樽」,雖然整個收集過程相當花時間,故大大提高了該產品的售價,但由於當中的空氣標榜潔淨,再加上來自海外,所以自推出後每月平均能賣出約 300 支。現時大家已可於淘寶網等地方看到這款產品出售,當中分別有 7.7 及 3 升兩個版本,兩者的空氣最多可以吸 150 及 80 次,至於價格方面各售 239 及 179 元人民幣(約 286 及 214 港元)。

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來源:Initium

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Silicon dreams: Can Hong Kong cultivate a successful start-up culture?

Local entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and government officials are determined for Hong Kong to be a key start-up hub, but many hurdles remain in the path to becoming ‘Asia’s Silicon Valley’

Hong Kong's banking district, Central. The city is attempting to diversify from its key pillars of finance and construction with support for start-ups and innovation. Photo: Bloomberg
Technologically savvy, rich, minimally taxed, and with strong links to the world’s second largest economy without the restrictions and risks of doing business in China proper, Hong Kong seems ideally suited to being a major regional start-up and innovation hub.
And yet many insiders are wary about the future, pointing to competition from other regional hubs, lacklustre or misallocated government support, a conservative investment community and a deficit in talent that forces some businesses to outsource event the most basic tasks.
In his 2015 budget speech, financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah was bullish about the city’s start-up environment and promised the government would do more to support it, including expanding the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation’s micro-financing scheme and injecting HK$5 billion into the Innovation and Technology Fund.
“I hope to improve the ecosystem for local start-ups and technological enterprises to tie in with the general direction of moving our economy up the value chain and enabling local industries to diversify,” Tsang said.
Chief executive Leung Chun-ying has also pushed for the creation of a new government department to replace the disbanded Information and Technology and Broadcast Bureau, promising HK$35 million in initial funding. Though this plan has been largely placed on the back burner following opposition in the Legislative Council.
The value of promoting innovation is clear. A study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Google, released on Wednesday, estimated that the development of two per cent more newly registered Hong Kong businesses per year would create more than 338,800 new jobs and increase the city’s GDP by an additional 0.24 per cent in the next four years.
Tsang’s pronouncements however were met with a collective shrug from the local start-up community. Many local innovators feel they have achieved success in spite of government, not because of it, a view some experts agree with.
“Government-led innovation is an oxymoron,” said David Webb, deputy chairman of Hong Kong’s Takeovers and Mergers Panel.
Webb was a strident critic of Cyberport, the government funded incubator established in 1999, particularly the decision to award the development contract without open tender to Richard Li Tzar-kai, son of Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing.
“There’s a tendency for political leaders to attach their names to projects that bring hope … to get some buzz out of supporting technology with the idea that it would somehow promote the economy,” Webb said.
“They generally make things worse.”
“It’s a gigantic mistake to assume the government will do anything for you,” tech journalism veteran and co-founder of Re/Code Walt Mossberg told an audience in Hong Kong last month.
Mossberg was speaking at an event organised by StartUpsHK, which holds regular conferences and networking events for founders, investors and prospective entrepreneurs.
“We took it upon ourselves five years ago to create a community for Hong Kong,” said Casey Lau, who co-founded StartupsHK with Gene Soo in 2009.
“At that time in Hong Kong, everything was very silo-ed, everyone was doing their own thing,” Soo said.
“There were successful start-ups, like JobsDB and [restaurant review aggregator] OpenRice, but … it didn’t spread in the community, people didn’t know what was going on.”
Soo and Lau started one of the city’s first co-working spaces, an idea that has grown in popularity dramatically since.
“We take a little bit of credit for starting that, it’s the main thing StartUpsHK has done.”
Those spaces have expanded from simple shared offices into sprawling, well-funded and resourced incubators and accelerators such as Nest and Blueprint.
Launched by Swire Properties in 2014, B2B incubator Blueprint provides free office space, mentorship and connections to capital for local and international start-ups.
“Swire is a great example of how the private sector can get involved,” said Soo, though he was frustrated that the company was something of an exception rather than a rule.
“There are many traditional families and businesses [in Hong Kong] that don’t really understand this space and it would be great to have them take a greater role.”
The conservatism of Hong Kong investors is a common refrain among other entrepreneurs and start-up founders.
“Our investors are predominantly from Greater China,” said Norman Cheung, co-founder and chief executive of storage start-up Boxful.
“The VC players are much more active in China, the market there is so much larger. The money those start-ups are raising is incredible.”
“It’s easy to raise seed capital in Hong Kong. It’s much harder to find the million, two million dollar investment. We’re not a city that’s ready for this kind of growth,” said Lau.
Cheung agrees: “I think there are a lot of angel investors, but once you get into the A and B [funding rounds] it starts to get tough.”
According to the Google and CUHK study, 88 per cent of local entrepreneurs stated their major source of seed capital as self-funding, with only 8 per cent securing venture investment.
This conservative culture affects start-ups in another way as well: talent.
One start-up founder told the Post that she’d witnessed a gaggle of employers pitching their companies to graduates of a beginner-level front-end development course, so desperate were they for even moderately skilled workers.
“Hong Kong has a big shortage of technology talent, we’ve had a lot of trouble building up a good team,” said Cheung.
Richard Rayles, operations director of Philippines-based outsourcing company SuperHero, said he gets enquiries from Hong Kong companies on a weekly basis, though he was quick to point out the city is “not the only market with a digital talent shortage”.
Some start-up founders said the shortage is due to competition with finance for developers.
TT Chu, co-founder of image recognition start-up Brand Pit and a graduate of CUHK’s engineering school, said that “every year in that faculty there are 600-700 people graduating, all of these people have been trained on how to do programming.”
The problem, Chu said, is that “people love to go into investment banking”.
Big salaries aren’t the only thing causing young Hongkongers to avoid start-ups, many are afraid to take the risk that joining a new venture inevitably entails, and those who may want to are often dissuaded by their parents or friends. Some 43 per cent of budding entrepreneurs considered social and cultural norms when deciding whether to set up a business, according to the Google-CUHK study.
Tytus Michalski of venture firm Fresco Capital wrote recently that Hong Kong needs to “pass the mom test”.
“We need to convince all of the moms in Hong Kong, including the tiger moms, that entrepreneurship is a serious option for their children,” he said.
Education can play a role in this, Yat Siu, chief executive of digital media company Outblaze, told an audience at the Post’s inaugural Game Changers forum last month.
Siu said the city should learn from the Finnish education system, which places less emphasis on formal exams.
“If you think about my children going to school and the way they’re being educated … it’s still turning out bureaucrats,” he said.
Despite these hurdles, the Hong Kong start-up ecosystem has grown by almost 300 per cent since 2009, with several local firms landing high-profile investments.
Experts said that while progress may be slow, the ecosystem will continue to improve as small successes inspire greater ones.
“Hong Kong needs a unicorn,” said Lau of StartupsHK, using the Silicon Valley term for companies valued at over US$1 billion.
“I’d also be happy to see 20 hundred-million dollar companies.”
source from SCMP

醫療、教育、財經 香港天使投資人預測 2015 年三大新創企業科技趨勢

新創企業提供了很多新主意,當中有不少困難他們都要嘗試解決。通過他們,我們就能看到未來。香港天使投資人 Simon Squibb 早前在 LinkedIn 發表文章,分享他們在投資裡遇到的問題,他相信新一年在科技新創企業世界會有不少改變。
Building Digital Tablets Horizontal

醫療科技

Simon Squibb 預測診症可能會遙距化。在未來你將有可能見到你手上有一位醫生,科技可以把你遙距連接到一所醫療中心而不需任何等待時間。 Google 在美國運行一些測試,用家可以透過視像訊讓真正醫生診症,然後才搜購藥物治病。
大數據繼續大行其道,著名大數據 IBM Watson 正在做醫學上研究,利用大數據進行醫學診斷,提升了治療可靠程度和準確度。
另外,巨頭保險公司如 AIA 也加速在科技上發展,以支援醫療科技和新創企業,相信在未來一年醫療科技會有更大發展。

教育科技

Simon Squibb 預測教育上會有很大發展空間。新創企業有不少構思,如利用遊戲方式幫助孩子在 ADD 學習和提升他們學習興趣,透過一些好的學習工具,如 Khan Academy ,提升學習效率。
預計在 2015 年教育科技會成為主流,我們會見到更多發展中國家如印度和菲律賓會採用更多此類科技。在中國,一些教師需要更高質教育設施,事實上內地不少地方都欠缺教材。而新興行業能把軟件突破,融入在所有類別的教育裡,從教學過程、評分到與學生溝通都能運用更多軟件。
新的「共享經濟」亦會在新一年帶來轉變,共享經濟是指由網路平台分享你的資產、資源、時間及技能,而你能從分享資源獲得金錢;因為網路及智慧型裝置的普及,共享經濟近年開始蓬勃發展,而網路創新也創造了許多前所未見的商業模式,在新一年共享經濟很有可能從教育裡體現出來。

財經科技

過去幾年有大量投資投放在一起。市場如倫敦、紐約和香港,這些世界級的金融中心,你可以見到大趨勢,就是投資者放棄傳統銀行公司(或不會再利用銀行),而是創立新公司,希望從此改變金融體制。你可以預期今年有這種大轉變。有不少新公司已積極地打入金融行業。這種情況甚至會在未來十年間為銀行業帶來重要轉變,也許在將來會有一些你不認識的銀行出現。
為何會有如此重大轉變?因為傳統銀行在社會需求增長方面已經放緩,或許已不合時宜,人們需要的是新企業或新行業。微軟早前進行了一項調查,指出新一代上班族並不相信傳統銀行。
這讓新行業如香港的 WeLend ,給了人們機會用新方法借錢;倫敦的 Osper,答應給 18 歲以下年輕人更大的財務自由,他們未夠 18 歲就可以申請信用咭,此舉能夠吸納未來銀行客戶,實在是一個十分好的策略。
不過,同樣地見到銀行自身開始明白這方面的危險,因為財務上革新,借錢及申請信用咭並不是網上銀行服務的全部,反而只是把財務數字化,人們意識不足就可能在財政危機,甚至破產。
在 2015 年會見到更多網上貨幣如 Bitcoin ,在發展上仍然有不少阻力,直到系統上變得成熟,或者能夠融入我們日常生活, Bitcoin 才能正式普及化。相信在來年財政方面都是審慎樂觀。
bitcoins182way
Source: LinkedIn