PitchDrive II by CcHUB, in partnership with Google for Startups, will engage 10 of Africa’s top hardware and deeptech based startups on a tour of exciting tech cities in Asia.
The focus of PitchDrive II is to facilitate Africa-Asia collaborations to strengthen deep technology companies in Africa by creating a platform for startups to:
- Take key learnings from the Asian technology market and apply them locally to improve their businesses
- Discover and engage suppliers or manufacturing partners to strengthen their businesses
- Explore funding opportunities
Brace yourselves as we journey from Kigali, Rwanda through five exciting tech capitals in Asia.
We start PitchDrive II with a 2-day bootcamp in one of Africa’s most exciting tech-hubs – the city of Kigali. From the humble beginnings of an agrarian-based economy, Kigali is now home to some of the largest multinational tech companies operating across the continent including Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Through Government initiatives in long-term planning, investing in IT infrastructure and forward-looking skills, Rwanda’s capital has quickly grown into a leader in the knowledge-based sharing economy and is thriving like never before. There’s no better place to kick-off PitchDrive II that in this exciting smart city fondly referred to as the “Singapore of Africa”.
REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE
Our first stop in Asia is the Republic of Singapore – a natural financial and communications hub for South-east Asia boasting an extremely high number of programmers and venture capitalists. When it comes to attracting talent, Singapore ranks second in the world and first in Asia. The city-state’s robust collaborative networks and talent pools stem from it’s world-class universities, leading multinational businesses and a rapidly growing ecosystem of startups, business incubators and venture capitalists. With strong government support in R&D spending and a comprehensive IP regulatory framework, Singapore has become an ideal destination for top tech firms. The capital hosts about 80 of the top 100 tech firms in the world and is often labelled a ‘miniature Silicon Valley’.
Next stop is Asia’s ‘Home of Hardware’- Shenzhen, China. This mega-city of 13 million people is home to tens of thousands of factories. From a former fishing village to a manufacturing hub, Shenzhen is at the heart of China’s transformation into a hi-tech innovator. Ambitious tech firms and startups flock to this city to dominate key hi-tech industries such as robotics, electric vehicles and artificial intelligence. This is the home of entrepreneurial research and development. A product that may take 12 to 18 months to bring to market somewhere else in the World might take only four to six weeks in Shenzhen. Why? Because all factors align to support innovation. Even local government in Shenzhen gives grants for filing patents and for starting maker spaces. This is the ultimate manufacturing hub that connects innovation, manufacturing, and knowledge all over the world.
Our third stop is the tech hub of Hong Kong, home to an exciting startup scene featuring over 2,000 startups. A hot-bed for deep-tech talent, Hong Kong-based startups are doing it all – from software as a service, Internet of things, data analytics, biotech, artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as new material. The city’s proximity to the manufacturing and telecoms powerhouse that is Shenzhen has no doubt helped make it a strategic location for innovation in Asia. The city has welcomed the recent expansion by big tech firms such as Facebook and Alibaba, and is enjoying accelerating investment in it’s fintech sector. With rising corporate engagement in incubation and accelerators programmes, new initiatives to promote start-ups springing from universities, Cyberport and Hong Kong Science Park, and a string of notable funding rounds for start-ups, it is anticipated that Hong Kong’s technology sector may soon reach a tipping point and will be propelled into much faster growth.
Seoul, ‘the city of the future’, is the next stop on our journey. One of the most connected and technologically innovative cities, it hosts Korea’s tech giants: Samsung, LG and many others. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing everything in the city – from utilities to subways to buildings and more making Seoul an attractive test-bed for both IoT and hardware innovation. The startup and venture community here enjoys an organised and mature ecosystem powered by prolific accelerators and active investors. From fintech, real estate tech, healthcare, to travel industries – it’s an exciting time for startups and ventures alike in this city’s innovation community.
We wrap our tour in Hi-tech Tokyo. In 2018, this city topped global rankings for the world’s most innovative cities. An early adopter of new technologies, Tokyo has been hailed for its embrace of smart technology trends including in robotics and 3D manufacturing. In 2016, the city set about an ambitious plan titled ‘Society 5.0’, as part of the country’s transformation to drive development and solve social issues. It invested in the application of robotics, Internet of Things, Big data and Artificial Intelligence to drive various economic sectors. Tokyo continues to host the best of Japan’s hi-tech companies, its strong research and development academics, educated human resources and real data collected at the forefront of industries.
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