Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced said today it will launch a HK$2bn (£186m) venture fund to support startups in the Greater Bay Area of southern China.
Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) will be an anchor investor for the new fund, which will target startups in the region focusing on sustainability, deep tech, health tech, artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0 related projects.
The fund, which is also supported by financial institutions, family offices and conglomerates, is expected to close in the first half of 2022, according to a company statement earlier today.
The Greater Bay Area, comprised of Hong Kong, Macau and 9 other cities in Guangdong Province, is a central government’s policy to develop the region as an integrated economic and business hub that Beijing wants to drive the country’s economic growth.
The area has a market of over 80m people with a total GDP of $1.7trn (£1.23trn).
The new fund will invest in startups either located in the Greater Bay Area or Hong Kong-based startups with plans to expand to the region, helping them to discover opportunities, attract talents and build up a network among entrepreneurs through accessing Alibaba’s resources.
“We are committing AEF’s capital and other forms of financing to support startups looking to tap into the potential of the Greater Bay Area,” said Cindy Chow, AEF’s executive director.
“The investment into the AEF Greater Bay Area Fund is an extension of AEF’s current efforts, given its experience and expertise in Hong Kong and the entire APAC region, as well as the rising demand of GBA-based startups to explore business and financing opportunities presented in the market.”
AEF has invested HK$600m in more than 50 startups, attracting over HK$13bn of co-investments as of the end of March.