Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks

Centre O VISA ARRANGEMENTS

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Are you a science or technology start-up thinking about acquiring a Hong Kong Investment Visa but don’t have the funds needed to do so? Three government-backed programmes that are administered by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) that are extremely useful and looked on favourably by the Immigration Department are the Incu-App, Incu-Bio and Incu-Tech programmes. These schemes offer a whole range of benefits to make achieving your Investment Visa as easy as possible. At Centre O we help our clients every step of the way to give them every chance of a successful application.

These three programmes are custom-made for start-ups involved in web and mobile technology, technology, and biotechnology respectively. The main objective is to encourage and promote innovation-based entrepreneurship by providing relevant assistance and support. Firstly, Incu-App. This is an 18-month incubation programme which aims to provide support to web/ mobile application technology start-ups. The types of companies that can apply for this programme are web-based companies, smartphone-based applicants, and PC/internet/smartphone/console game companies. There is an Incu-App Centre that is equipped with meeting rooms, pantries, vending machines, networking areas, and office equipment. Each incubatee will be entitled to up to two assigned workstations free of charge throughout the incubation period. The financial aid package for the Incu-App programme is up to HK$300,000. The mandatory admission criteria to this scheme includes that the applicant must be a Hong Kong registered technology start-up company established for no more than 2 years before the date of application, founding team members must hold more than 50% of the company at the time of application submission, that there is a minimum of one full time staff in the company, and all staff must be able to work in Hong Kong legally, at least 50% of full time staff must be engaged in technology related work and there must be implementation of R&D activities at the Centre – the incubatee cannot operate a sales and marketing office only. Finally, the incubatee cannot require more than 1,600 square feet of office space. In general, the processing time is around 26 working days upon receipt of a completed application.

Incu-Tech is the second programme offered by HKSTP. It is a three year incubation programme, which is designed for technology start-up companies, and can help with subsidised rent and various other supporting services. Applications form the areas of Electronics, Green technology, Information Communications Technology (ICT) and Material and Precision Engineering are welcomed. During the 3-year incubation period, incubatees will enjoy the use of fully-serviced office space at a reduced rental inclusive of the management fee. The Technology Incubation Centre in Science Park offers ready-to-use office space and hassle-free services, including reception services, shared meeting rooms, dedicated internet access, business centre services, and a pantry. The overall financial aid available is HK$645,000. The mandatory admission criteria to this scheme includes that the applicant must be a Hong Kong registered technology start-up company established for no more than 2 years before the date of application, founding team members must hold more than 50% of the company at the time of application submission, that there is a minimum of two full time staff in the company, and all staff must be able to work in Hong Kong legally, at least 50% of full time staff must be engaged in technology related work and there must be implementation of R&D activities at the Centre. The incubatee cannot operate a sales and marketing office only. Finally, the incubatee cannot require more than 1,600 square feet of office space. In general, the processing time is around 11 weeks upon receipt of a completed application.

The final programme offered by HKSTP is Incu-Bio. This programme is for purpose of boosting the number of biotechnology start-up companies that need a wet lab environment. The programme offers an independent lab space in the Biotech centres in Science Park, with subsidised rent and a large number of supporting services. Applications from the following fields are welcomed: Biotechnology, Therapeutics/Personal Care, Chinese or Herbal Medicine, Regenerative Medicines, Medical Devices and Diagnostics. Incubatees can enjoy a ready-to-use wet lab at the Biotech Small Enterprise Centre for free in the first yearand with a subsidised rental in the subsequent three years. Each incubatee may have access to a package of financial aid valued at HK$860,000 during the incubation period. The entitlement to the aid package is subject to the successful assessments of the business plan milestones set by each incubatee and agreed by HKSTP. The applicant should meet the following conditions to apply for the Incu-Bio Programme – an applicant must be a Hong Kong registered technology Start-up Company established for no more than 2 years before the date of application, founding team members must hold not less than 33% of the company at the time of application submission, at least two full-time staff in the company; and all staff must be able to work in Hong Kong legally, at least 50% of full time staff must be engaged in technology related work with implementation of R&D activities at the Incubation Centre, it cannot operate a sales and marketing office only. The applicant’s office and work bench set up at the Incubation Centre must be environmentally friendly (i.e. must not create smell, noise or other elements which may disturb others) and should not handle hazardous materials (except in wet labs of Biotechnology Small Enterprise Centre adhering to HKSTP published safety standard and guidelines), and must be able to operate in an office building. Finally, the incubatee cannot require more than 1,600 square feet of office space. In general, the processing time is around 11 weeks upon receipt of a completed application.

For these programmes the applicant must first set up a Hong Kong Limited Company with a registered office address in HK. If you currently don’t have an incorporated company, we provide this service as well. Please email for more details on either incorporation or the HK Investment Visa application.

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