Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA), Chinese artificial intelligence company SenseTime and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) have launched The HKAI Lab, a not-for-profit initiative with the aim to support innovation in the field of AI in Hong Kong.
Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, established by Alibaba to support young entrepreneurs, and SenseTime will provide funding for the operation of the lab, according to a joint announcement.
The first initiative rolled out by the lab is a six-month accelerator program, providing funding, AI technologies, network and working space to prospective AI start-ups in Hong Kong.
Successful applicants will receive US$$100,000 funding offered by Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, in exchange for 6% equity of the start-up, US$10,000 credits for Alibaba Cloud services, and opportunities to work with Alibaba, SenseTime, and other enterprises in Hong Kong and overseas. They will also enjoy rent-free office space for up to six months.
To qualify, potential start-up companies are required to meet the following criteria. The companies must be registered in Hong Kong for no more than three years, a majority of the business founders are Hong Kong permanent residents, and with a meaningful operation in Hong Kong.
The company founders must hold more than 50% of the company’s shares, employs at least two full-time staff, and at least half of the company’s staff members are engaged in the field of AI-related work.
Applications for the accelerator program are screened and assessed by the selection panel based depth of research and development content, innovation, business plan, and quality and competence of the team.