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Hong Kong's High-Tech Technology Incubator 172

Posted by timothy
from the industrial-policy dept.
Austin Huggins writes "The BBC is reporting on a new hi-tech complex built in Hong Kong to attract tech businesses. 'It has taken four years to build and comes complete with a hi-tech hotel, apartments, shops and services.' And they have a 100 mbs network to boot." As the article points out, Hong Kong has a suddenly harder time keeping ahead of booming cities in mainland China.
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Hong Kong's High-Tech Technology Incubator

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  • And if Hong Kong becomes popular enough, it launches into space!
  • basically.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ikea5 (608732)
    It's just a fancy name for whole bunch of office buildings wired togther with gigabit ethernet.
    • Re:basically.... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JPriest (547211)
      "Our network is running at 100 megabits a second, which is 10 times faster than normal broadband connections" And also 10 times slower than GigE. It took them 4 years to build it, GigE equipment was expensive back then.
      • While GigE equipment may have been expensive, Cat-5e or Cat-6 cable was not. It would have been relatively cheap to wire the whole thing up with GigE capable cable, and only install the switches when they became cheap. The building I work in is one of the Digital Techniums in south Wales, which has cat-6 cables running all through it and a 1GBit (shortly to become 10GBit) connection to the Internet. Over half of the building is dedicated to incubator units for technology related start-ups (100% of the ot
  • "We have a utility computing equivalent of 100 computers. So you can run different kinds of applications on top of it." What? You can run different kinds of applications!?!? Holy bat-computer Batman! And is it just me or did the dude in the second pic look scared to death?
  • by Searinox (833879)
    That's as much as a normal server in a datacenter has o.O
  • Now why can't Americans try to stay ahead of the Chinese too?
  • Gotta love (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Gotta love this guy's face, from the article. http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40569000/jpg /_40569261_vincent_chen_203.jpg
  • by mordors9 (665662) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @02:30PM (#10938233)
    Why go there just for the bandwidth, when they can locate their factory in mainland China and enjoy the benefits of genuine slave labor.
    • Re:Why Hong Kong (Score:4, Insightful)

      by twitter (104583) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:07PM (#10938415) Homepage Journal
      Why go there just for the bandwidth, when they can locate their factory in mainland China and enjoy the benefits of genuine slave labor.

      I can get the benefits of genuine slave labor at Walmart.

      Is it a surprise that Hong Kong would have trouble "keeping up" with anyone in China? The one thing you can count on with a Communist government is that "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine." Any factory run by any party boss is going to have everything anyone in Hong Kong has and resources no one in Hong Kong can touch. That more people are getting a taste of the fruits of their labors in China in no way makes them free or the government any less corrupt.

      Hong Kong, under the UK, was a showcase of unregulated capitalism. That's amazing, when you consider the nasty way the UK taxes it's own citizens to death and beyond. It's demise under the Chinese is as inevitable as it's wealth and prowess was under the UK.

      • Re:Why Hong Kong (Score:2, Informative)

        by xstein (578798)
        Have you ever been to Hong Kong?

        Hong Kong is still a beautiful showcase of unregulated capitalism. Hong Kong still has the most free market in the world. Not only are there no signs of this changing, but we're legally prohibited from doing so in the next 42 years.

        Being Beijing's little brother isn't exactly the worst thing to be. We serve as a port to Greater China, and don't have to worry about silly things like defense budgets.
      • Re:Why Hong Kong (Score:3, Insightful)

        by node 3 (115640)
        Hong Kong, under the UK, was a showcase of unregulated capitalism.

        The company town is a showcase of "unregulated capitalism" as well.

        "Unregulated capitalism" has no minimum wage, no safety codes, no labeling requirements.

        You think a 40 hour work week is bad? That's the best the socialists could get from the capitalists at the time, and now we're *undoing* that progress!

        Your post is overly simplistic. There's no such thing as "unregulated capitalism" in practice. That doesn't mean certain capitalistic i
    • >Why go there just for the bandwidth, when they
      >can locate their factory in mainland China
      >and enjoy the benefits of genuine slave labor.

      Yea, why go to USA, when they can locate their companies in Guantanamo Bay and enjoy the benefits of genuine slave labor.
  • "The main focus currently is on creators, managers and deliverers of digital content, because that's where we see the big niche for Hong Kong going forward."

    So, basically what he's saying is that is a complex for creators of CGI Chop Socky?

    KFG
    • by xstein (578798) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:03PM (#10938386)
      Credentials first: I work at Cyberport in Hong Kong.

      The idea behind this complex isn't purely the technological benefits, such as bandwidth, etc, but the fact that all of our tech companies are housed in one complex.

      Hong Kong is a fairly large city, and when you throw into the mix the fact that many firms are now moving their offices further north to Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai, Cyberport offers a definte advantage in terms of helping consolidate the various tech and tech-related firms. Using the cited example, creators of digital content are given an incentive to house their operations at Cyberport as they can have all required outside work done by firms within 3 minutes walk of their offices--whilst I'm not familiar with digital content creation, I'd imagine they have things like packaging done out of house.

      This is essentially taking the Silicon Valley concept one step further in that all firms are literally in the same building. The hotels help accomodate to multinational companies that have foreign executives come in for meetings and to house guests for seminars.
      • whilst I'm not familiar with digital content creation, I'd imagine they have things like packaging done out of house.

        Digital content creation requires vasts amount of memory to store textures, geometry and scenes for distributed render farms, along with intermediate results (depth, lighting maps), and resulting images. Transferring all that data about requires custom ultra high-speed networks.

        This reminds me of a documentary I once watched about Singapore trying to keep one step ahead of Hong Kong. They
    • >So, basically what he's saying is that is a complex for creators of CGI Chop Socky?

      Yes you can laugh all the way you want, but there's a vibrant CG industry in Hong Kong. O yes they are definitely not as advanced as ILM or Dreamworks , but they've made many entries into Siggraph. Some samples on Archive.org: Cola Cola's Clay Dolls [archive.org] and Master Q [archive.org].
      • Yes you can laugh all the way you want, but there's a vibrant CG industry in Hong Kong.

        Well of course there is; and I didn't say anything to infer that there wasn't. Did you infer, for some reason, that I thought a higer volume of higher quality CG Chop Socky would be a bad thing?

        KFG
  • Not supprised (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @02:40PM (#10938277)
    The Asians have done great technological strides in recent decades. Already, in the US, the best cars, televisons, computers and their monitors radios and phones are made in Asia. Multimedia effort bore fruit in Asia long ago...we in the US are just beginning to see what can be done in this field. The problem is, when an implementation is made, we brag about it. The Asians are working like the Russians - they never brag. When one visits Tokyo, a realization comes to fact that US cities are far behind.

    Services too are being outsorced to Asia. Naturally research dollars will follow. This can only be bad for American students.

    Toyota, in just decades is at the fore-front of the car industry already. This is a company that made a car 40 years after Ford and GM. Contrast that with GM, the alleged giggest car producer. You will go to every continent and find Toyota in good numbers, but not for GM. Now, Ford has been replaced by Toyota. GM will be next.

    Having lived in a number of Asian countries, I can attest to the fact that Asians are simply driven to succeed. They will pirate/copy and do anything to get to where they have to. Sometimes, their respective governments support them.

    Pretty soon, the Asian block will be in position to threaten "economic sanctions" on the US. After all, even the flu-shot vaccine will soon be Asian made.

    My beloved country USA will be left with rhetoric as the only means to apply influence arround the world.

    Open source will not help us that much because already, M$'s influence is already on the decline at least in Asia.

    Where is America's edge left?

    • General Motors might not sell cars like Chevrolet and Pontiac in other countries, but they are there. GM owns Saab, Opel, and Vauxhall in Europe, is the majority shareholder in Daewoo in Korea, and is involved in the manufacture of lots of other foreign brands.
      br> See this [gm.com] for more info.
    • Already, in the US, the best cars. . . are made in Asia.

      Hondas are made in Ohio. Nissans are made in Mississippi. Toyotas are made in Kentucky.

      The Honda Civic is 98% American made. The Lincolns, perhaps the last of the quintesentially "American" cars, have so little American made content that they are often classified as an imports.

      In America it's GMs and Fords that come from Asia, and they aren't typically considered the cream of the automotive crop.

      KFG
    • "Where is America's edge left?"

      You mean besides the military?
    • Re:Not supprised (Score:5, Insightful)

      by selderrr (523988) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:21PM (#10938477) Journal
      okay, i'm going to say something incredibly naive now :

      so what ?

      It's not like the US (or EU, where I live) somehow becomes a minority population all of a sudden ! We will become a less influent factor in the world economics. Probably behind Asia, but in front of South America or Africa. We will stop being cutting edge on quite a few domains. But it is not like as if somehow we'll have to live on water and bread. Maybe, just maybe, the asian uprising is a small step towards global leveling of powers (okay, that was really naive. Forget I just said that). People should stop thinking that the asians are taking away our lives. They are just taking away some of the luxuries that we didn't have an exclusive on anyway. Get over it. Grow up. Be happy, not jaleous
    • Really? I see a lot of Opels in Europe & Australia and mainland China has a ton of GM's. One thing you don't see much of in mainland China is Japanese cars. I guess the Chinese have long memories.
    • Well the underdog always looks good. A lot of the growth that's in China right now is because there wasn't anything there before. It's easy to have double-digit growth when the technology is there for you to adapt; you don't have to invent anything. Not saying that Asians are less creative; one look at Japanese Art or Chinese Literature tells me otherwise. China's got a huge problem with pollution and over-crowding that's here already, with worse looming on the hozizon.

      Asd for Japan and the other industri
    • People have been saying this same stuff for decades. It's not happened yet and probably won't anytime soon. The US and Europe are still far ahead of much of Asia in terms of prosperity and welfare of their citizens.
  • by fussili (720463) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @02:46PM (#10938306)

    Cyberport is a MASSIVE waste of government money and worse still was just a large luxury building contract HANDED OVER to everyone's favourite Hong Kong cartel.

    Anyone from Hong Kong reading this report is currently laughing their ass off at the idea that this is somehow indicative of Hong Kong 'racing ahead'. Cyberport was nothing more or less than a gigantic gift to Li Ka Shing's estate (via his son the ever popular Richard Li).

    I bet you guys think our partially state-owned Disney land is a good idea too. Seriously, if you like this stuff you can have Chief Executive Tung Che Hwa. Please, take him!

    • Reminds me of a joke (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:46PM (#10938592)
      If Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa, Chief Secretary Donald Tsang and Financial Secretary Henry Tang were in a boat and it turned over, who would be saved?

      Answer: The Hong Kong people

      There's been alot of coverage of the huge number of protests against the current government and it's economic policy, and the undemocratic process in which the Chief Secretary is chosen (basically a 400 man group hand-picked by Beijing chooses it for us). The Cyberport, with it's lack of transparency on the bidding process, was a hugely controversial project which did not strengthen the support of the current government at all, and it's still to be seen it's effect on boosting the economy.
    • The BBC story exclusively quoted govt spokesmen and boosters of Cyberport. Cyberport is an admitted huge white elephant and example of crony capitalism and what's wrong with the HK government -- just Google for [cyberport "white elephant"]. Every big new project now routinely has to face the question "Will this be another Cyberport?" It's basically a big sweetheart deal with billionaire property developers, the Li family, who got a dirt cheap deal on prime land to build luxury housing, without having to put
    • Cyberport is a MASSIVE waste of government money and worse still was just a large luxury building

      Heheh, I think it was fairly obvious from the article itself, despite its blatant pro-gov.hk slant; I mean, FOUR YEARS to build a facility?

      Cyberport was nothing more or less than a gigantic gift to Li Ka Shing's estate (via his son the ever popular Richard Li).

      My (Singaporean, but Cantonese) cab-driver yesterday night was ranting non-stop on the exploits of Li The Son; frankly, wasn't really bothered to

  • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @02:54PM (#10938342) Journal
    Until the local population develops respect for intellectual property, I don't expect much to happen...
    • >Until the local population develops respect
      >for intellectual property, I don't expect much
      >to happen...

      Are you referring to your friends happily running Kazaa downloading tunes in USA/Canada as well?
      • There is a distinct qualitative difference between duplicating digital content for your own private use/entertainment and duplicating IP to create goods and services to sell
        • by CaptKilljoy (687808) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:59PM (#10938638)
          >There is a distinct qualitative difference between duplicating digital content for your own private use/entertainment and duplicating IP to create goods and services to sell.

          Agreed. One is a bunch of greedy individuals leeching off of the work of others for their own benefit and the other is bunch of greedy corporations leeching off of the work of others for their own benefit.

          <FX: drum fill> Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.
        • There is a distinct qualitative difference between duplicating digital content for your own private use/entertainment and duplicating IP to create goods and services to sell

          Exactly. Could you give an example of a HK company doing this in the last five years? If not, what was your point?

    • Until the local population develops respect for intellectual property, I don't expect much to happen...

      This is HONG KONG, which isn't the same as mainland China. You'll get busted here just as quickly as in the US for IP violations. (Which mean's as in the US, a lot of people, especially at home, cheerfully use warez, but businesses can't take that risk.)

  • By aggregating digital media companies together within a single complex that meets the needs of the employees regarding all their living requirements, they are trying to enable the "campus" atmosphere of companies like Microsoft... combined with the "company towns" that were found in the US during the industrial revolution.

    They're providing an infrastructure.

    And yes, you can colocate a box in a data center on 100Mbps links, but how many startups have a pair of DS3s at their offices?
  • Why would one build a 100Mbit network in a modern business complex? You can get 10/100/1000-switches cheaper than 10/100 today afaik.

    Perhaps .hk is way behind Sweden, but a 100Mbit network does not impress us with 100Mbit internet connections to our homes.
  • Blade Runner (Score:2, Informative)

    by qualico (731143)
    How about setting up a Gigabit network in that abandoned hotel set on Blade Runner.

    Looks like Asia and should be able to compete without the billion dollar 4 year price with faster networking to boot!
  • by Linuxathome (242573) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:05PM (#10938396) Homepage Journal
    After hearing anecdotes about the quality of living for professionals in Hong Kong, it is getting more and more enticing for the foreign professional. If you're in the tech industry, in the biomedical sciences or even in the corporate or business law, the city definitely has it's pluses. Aside from the housing prices, the cost of living is a fraction of that in say San Franciso (or most of CA for that matter), or Boston, or Sydney, or Paris, or London. Let's say you can secure a job with the same salary as you do now, you can have housekeepers to maintain your daily living requirements at a fraction of what you'd pay in Europe, US, or otherwise. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I heard the same about foreign workers in other Chinese cities.
    • From my brief impressions of the joint, the place was a complete cultural and recreational desert. Great if you want to make money and get the hell out, not much good for anything else.
  • by HungWeiLo (250320) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:07PM (#10938412)
    I just learned that the University of Hong Kong [www.hku.hk], the largest university in Hong Kong, has just closed its electrical engineering department due to lack of funding and enrollment. However, the Chinese University of Hong Kong [www.cuhk.hk] still maintains its EE department.

    There's no way Hong Kong can catch up technologically with mainland China now, not without heavy academic research in new arenas of technology.

    • >I just learned that the University of Hong Kong,
      >the largest university in Hong Kong, has just
      >closed its electrical engineering department

      That is not true, they're running just fine.

      >There's no way Hong Kong can catch up
      >technologically with mainland China now, not
      >without heavy academic research in new arenas of
      >technology.

      Technologies change all the time. Brazil once had a vibrant software technology scene too. Wordstars, Lotus 1-2-3, Visicalc and Apple ][ have their glory days.
    • ... which is here [eee.hku.hk]. If true, I would have thought it would merit some mention.
      • I thought they would have something on their site too, but I guess they don't. I got my information from a student there whom I had dinner with last night.
        • Closing the entire EEE department? Your friend were absolutely just kidding... and it amzed me that you seems really be serious!

          I am an EEE PG student in Hong Kong (not HKU though) and I haven't heard of any related news before.

          If they were closing EEE then they have to close the Computer Science dept. as well, because many courses are shared. If CS was closed, why not other engineering majors? Why not pure science? Maths???...

    • but would cyberpot be the answer to HK hightech industry?? I don't think so. Not a good analogy...can another country invade US by buying weapons from them??? HK government has the money to build the best hardware/infrastructure in the world. However, they don't know how to make a background for CS/EE/CE grad to develop their skills => no experienced workers => no company want to invest => no experienced workers => no company want to invest.... It is so sad that we have good grad students in
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:21PM (#10938479) Homepage
    Here in Silicon Valley, we have lots of office space with similar facilities. Available now, at low, low rents. Try $0.90/square foot for class A R&D space. The Excite@Home facility is still completely vacant. The area near Moffett Field, where SGI used to be and Google is now, has acres of vacant buildings.

    The huge new 150,000 square meter Pacific Shores Center [pacificshorescenter.com] complex still has entire buildings vacant, and it's filling up. EA and Dreamworks moved in. Shrek 2 was made there. Health club, Olympic size swimming pool, public hiking trails, baseball field, soccer field, ampitheater, cafe, day spa, and an incredible view of the San Francisco bay. Ample parking. Gigabits of bandwidth.

    Pacific Shores alone is one and a half times the size of Hong Kong's "Cyberport."

    So there.

  • And they have a 100 mbs network to boot

    10 millibits*second? What does this unit represent? The second integral of data rate?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why not Cyberjaya instead?

    For those who don't know, Cyberjaya has turned out to be little more than a joke. It was launched by Mahathir in 1995, and now, almost 10 years later, there's little more than one giant country road with barely a dozen buildings scattered about.

    Mahathir thought he can build a success with bare plantation land and big words. Not so. Very little of his big words and grand plans have materialized, to the point of being embarrassing since the project was touted as being 'world class'
  • tech? in hk? (Score:5, Informative)

    by sewagemaster (466124) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [retsamegawes]> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:02PM (#10939511) Homepage
    hong kong is known as a one of the major financial capital in asia. parents raise their kids to be businessmen. almost all of them value success as in making tons of money that they'll never even get to spend. being encouraged to study in degrees of electrical engineering or computer science is very rare. lot of people on /. agree that people got into tech only because of the pre-bubble times, not because of their interest in the subject. well in hk, all you get are the bandwagon types. not making this up. i spent 10 yrs of my life there.

    it's not the educational system because math and science cirriculum is far more advance and fast paced than in canada and the US, so it's not the fault of highschool programs not preparing the kids well enough to pursue their careers in that direction.

    cyberport is mostly for IT (damn i hate that term) - and the buildings were only built for the "looks". honestly, if i want to build a startup there, let's say a fabless semiconductor company, do i really need the 100 megabits a second network? we need the CAD licenses, engineers with experience and fresh grads in EE - which are tough to get there because hong kong university recently shut down their EE department...

    another thing, people in hk always have the misconception that they are more advance in tech than north americans. all they see is that they have more variety of advance products to choose from, but it's not them that do any of the in-house design.

    all said, it's good to know that there are still people that would invest (or throw away money) for the ...um IT industry. at least after i finish my masters in electrical engineering here in canada, i'll have something to fall back on, knowing that i speak the language there...

    • Re:tech? in hk? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AtomicBomb (173897) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @08:09PM (#10939798) Homepage
      The cyberport is pretty meaningless to me. There may be a need of better connected building for IT companies... But, the value added is minimal.

      In my opinion, the Hongkong Science Park [hkstp.org] is probably a smarter idea. I have friends working over there (IC design). Many firms are small start-up. Usually the access to top end equipments and chip design software are the main obstacle to them. The science park bought a bunch of tools and hire to them. In terms of software, the startups only need to drop a fiber cable to the main server room and billed by the hourly usage. The main difference is the boss... The chief of the Science Park was the local Motorola semiconductor director. Apparently, he knows what he is doing...

    • Hey,

      I came from Hong Kong and I can tell you I am not the bandwagon type. I had my first PC at 7 and I have been building my PC since 11, and I love my computers to bits. I am working in IBM now in UK and doing hard core software development - I stayed in UK because I love it here and I have been studying here for quite a while.

      There are a lot of people who are interested in computers - because they are so readily available for a cheap price (I call White box "Golden brand", named after the shopping centr

  • This facility may indeed be high-tech offices, but is by no stretch of the imagination a proper incubator [google.co.nz].
  • Tech ? HK? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hermank (101000)
    what ? it tooks $2b to just build a complex with 100 mb network? and it is call as 'cyberport'? and some of you just called it advanced? hope of the future of HK?

    Here is a list of reason that it is doomed fail
    . HKSAR Chief Mr Tung,
    . A group of Chief under Tung, who is racing to be next HKSAR Chief madnessly.
    . A Govt controlled by groups of short sighted property development companies, with only money in their head.

    If you add property market, with 'high speed network' and 'short sighted visioners' together
  • and having watched the creation of Cyberport, I can say that the complex is nothing more than a property development masquerading as a high tech office complex. A single property developer was sole sourced to develop Cyberport: the HK Govt would give land to the developer and in exchange, the developer would construct a state-of-the-art facility for housing geek companies and also a set of condominiums. The HK Govt promoted the idea as fast-tracking the development of a high-tech complex that would hous
    • Living in HK since 1982 I agree with most of what you say. Cyberport is simply another scheme that has already made lots of people lots of money. Fundamentally this is what HK is all about and so it's safe to say that Cyberport's been a success.
  • The negative comments about cyberport are spot on. HK is a plutocracy and cyberport was gift to richard li... hong kong now reaps the "rewards" of RL's wise leadership in this development.

    Anyhow, I stayed at the Le Meridien Cyberport [lemeridien.com] and found it to be a good analogue of the rest of the complex. Note that I also have worked with companies that have offices there, including MS, and have been courted to place offices out there. I would never ever even consider it.

    The rooms at the Le Meridian all have mini

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