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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 22 March 2021


Green Common Hong Kong Unveils First Vegan Ice Cream Series Created With Plant-Based Milk

Green Common recently launched its first homemade vegan ice cream series, created with 100% plant-based coconut milk and cashew milk, and is currently the only vegan ice cream brand in Hong Kong to be registered with the Vegan Society. 

According to a study published by researchers in Oxford, the production of cow’s milk will produce nearly 3 times more greenhouse gas emissions than the production of plant-based milk. The switch away from dairy products was also a response to the increasing demand for dairy alternatives, with around 90% of the population in Asia being lactose intolerant.

These frozen desserts come in two flavors, Matcha Purity and Chocolate Hearty, and can now be purchased at over 500 7-Eleven stores, the ‘Go Green Fair’ in SOGO Causeway Bay, and select Green Common stores across the city. From March 17 to March 30, the Green Common vegan ice cream will be exclusively available at a trial price of HKD 25 (approx. USD 3.20) at Hong Kong’s largest convenience store chain, 7-Eleven.

Tencent spent more than Alibaba on startups in 2020

The Chinese Internet powerhouse, Tencent Holdings, outspent Alibaba Group Hounding in investments in startups. With a total spending of USD 12 billion on startups, up 40% from 2019, Tencent had become the biggest spender amongst nonfinancial companies in China.

Tencent’s investments are tilted towards the entertainment (183 companies) and game industries (142 companies), with the largest portion of its profits coming from the gaming business. 

Unlike its competitor, Alibaba, Tencent does not acquire controlling stake in the companies it invests in, but rather prefers to remain as a minority shareholder and avoid interfering with the management of the companies.

WeLab Raises US$75 Million in Funding Round Led by Allianz 

Welab, a Hong Kong’s digital banking fintech company founded in 2013, recently completed the initial close of its Series C1 funding. Allianz X, a digital investment unit of the Allianz Group, led WeLab’s latest funding round of $75 million. 

In 2020, WeLab, saw a soar in users by 20%, bringing its accumulative user base to 50 million. This development caught the attention of Allianz, which saw this as an ‘interesting opportunity to co-develop a wealth technology for digital banks’.

Discord Is Apparently Working On A Clubhouse-Like Feature Too

Clubhouse has been the new hype recently within the social media space. This app allows people to gather in different ‘clubs/rooms’ to have voice discussions with one another. The popularity of this App has attracted the attention of Discord as it develops a feature called ‘Stage Channel’  -- very much similar to Clubhouse -- where it is intended for larger audiences to speak and join into conversations. 

As Discord is considered more of a chat app that is popular amongst gamers than a social media channel, it is uncertain whether this feature will attract the same kind of traction. 

China guides its self-driving startups into the fast lane

China’s role in the development of autonomous cars have become crucial to its expansion in the tech industry. AutoX, the first Chinese company to test fully self-driving vehicles on open roads in the country and removed the backup driver and remote controller during road tests, demonstrates Beijing’s willingness to allow aggressive experiments for startups in this sector. 

As Beijing seeks to promote the strategic autonomous vehicle sector, companies have been able to test their technology and operate within grey areas of the legal framework. By being flexible with law enforcement, the government helps the growth of these domestic companies.

This level of regulation allows domestic companies to be at the forefront of the competition as foreign competitors are placed at a disadvantage in the development of autonomous vehicles due to their lack of ability to navigate around legislations and laws.


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