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How this HK entrepreneur brought business “from 0 to 1” in Shenzhen

By Xian Jiangnan, Zheng Jiahao, Huangfu Wanli (People's Daily Online)    17:06, September 09, 2019

“I’ve been in Shenzhen for almost four years. I feel that I have already integrated into this city,” said Kris Tsang, founder of “708090 Co-working Space”. In a recent interview with People’s Daily Online, this 28-year-old Hong Kong entrepreneur shared the story of how he brought his company from zero to one.

Making the dream come true

Kris Tsang, founder of “708090 Co-working Space”. (Huangfu Wanli/People’s Daily Online)

Kris, who went to the United States in middle school, had the idea to start a business during his college days. Studying overseas is not an easy task. He made many attempts to earn money, such as helping professors do research, taking part in experiments and selling iPhones. Through these part-time experiences, he got the idea to start his own business and earn more money.

While in the U.S., he saw many co-working spaces and incubators, which had not yet been introduced into Hong Kong or mainland cities like Shenzhen. Thus he spotted a niche and decided to explore this business model in the Chinese market. In October 2015, after visiting some cities to choose the location he would set up his company, he founded the “708090 Co-working Space” in Shenzhen. 

When asked why he chose Shenzhen as the place to start his business, he said, “Shenzhen is a young city, with a great number of entrepreneurs. It is also close to my hometown, Hong Kong. Therefore, it’s very convenient to live here.” 

His business was not all plain sailing. At first, his co-working space had very few customers, with only two or three start-ups settling down. This worried Kris as it meant he was short of money to pay the rent and his employees. “Then the Shenzhen government offered me a subsidy of about 100,000 yuan, helping me get through that difficult period and giving me enough time to solve my problems,” he noted.

Now, his company is home to over 60 start-ups, covering an area of more than 2,000 square meters. The top three start-ups have raised funds of over 10 million yuan. 

Together on the road to entrepreneurship

Kris speaks at the opening ceremony of the “Innovation and Entrepreneur Youth School” (Photo provided by Kris Tsang)

Kris is helping more youths on the road to entrepreneurship. In 2016, Kris initiated the “Innovation and Entrepreneur Youth School,” teaching people the essentials of how to set up and run a company.

“Many people who are about to start a business don’t know how to set up a company and what procedures are involved. Many would come to consult me about what they should do. I believed that if so many people have such needs, why not carry out such an activity, teaching them how to register a company and bring it from zero to one.”

To date, the “Innovation and Entrepreneur Youth School” has held eight sessions, with more than 2,000 participants, made up of youths, office workers, middle-aged people and even seniors. “Shenzhen is not a city short of entrepreneurial people. No matter how old you are and what background you have, you can successfully start up your own business if you try hard and have faith in yourself,” Kris said.

Riding the wave of the Greater Bay Area

“708090 Co-working Space” was officially established in October 2015. (Photo provided by Kris Tsang)

Having stayed in Shenzhen for almost four years, Kris has successfully started his own business and is getting settled here. In his eyes, the overall plan of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has offered him more opportunities.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, encompassing Shenzhen and eight other cities in Guangdong Province, with Hong Kong and Macao, is China’s most dynamic socioeconomic region. In February 2019, the Chinese government released the Online Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, aiming to facilitate the integration between Hong Kong, Macao and Guangdong Province.

The outline supports young people and micro, small and medium enterprises from Hong Kong and Macao to realize their development potential on the mainland. Answering the clarion call to “go north,” more and more Hong Kong youths like Kris Tsang have come to Shenzhen to realize their dreams.

According to Kris, Hong Kong boasts high-end industries, including the service industry and health care, which can be further introduced into the mainland. Meanwhile, outstanding mainland enterprises could also list in Hong Kong. He encouraged young people in Hong Kong to seize this advantage and opportunity. 

“By integrating themselves into the development of the Greater Bay Area, they can reach new heights in their career,” Kris said. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liu Ning, Bianji)

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