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The fund will invest in startups either located in the GBA or a Hong Kong-based startup with plans to expand into the GBA.

Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) will be an anchor investor in the AEF Greater Bay Area (GBA) Fund, with the aim to provide programmes to nurture entrepreneurship in the region.

AEF is Hong Kong's first-ever venture fund formed by the private sector focused exclusively on startups in GBA. The target funding of the GBA Fund amounts to HK$2bn, and the final closing is expected to take place in the first half of 2022.

The Fund is supported by limited partners including financial institutions, family offices and conglomerates, among others.

Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group and Chairman of Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, noted the AEF was established five years ago, adding, "We are now ready to extend our startup ecosystem to the Greater Bay Area in order to give innovators and entrepreneurs a bigger platform for growth."

The GBA Fund will invest in startups with GBA access. They can either be a company located in the GBA or a Hong Kong-based startup with plans to expand into the GBA.

Cindy Chow, Executive Director of Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, said the investment into the AEF Greater Bay Area Fund is an extension of AEF's current efforts, and added, "We invite strategic partners, who share the same vision with us, to empower more startups, so that we may all benefit from their success."

All kinds of startups from various industries, particularly in sustainability, deep tech, health tech, artificial intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0 related projects are invited to apply for the Fund.

The statement from AEF shared: "To help startups discover GBA opportunities, attract talents and build up a network among entrepreneurs, the GBA Fund is committing its capital and financial support to help startups thrive as well as tap into the potential of the Alibaba Ecosystem."

As of 31 March 2021, AEF has invested in more than 50 startups, deployed HK$600mn and attracted over HK$13bn of co-investments. With a total GDP of US$1.7tn and a market of over 80mn people, the GBA's economy is comparable to other metropolitan clusters, including New York, San Francisco and Tokyo. 

Photo / AEF

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