Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation is seeking talent from around the world to help grow the city into a global hub for innovation and technology

A comprehensive ecosystem to fully support the research and development (R&D) journey, dedicated microelectronics lab facilities and valuable mentorship from industry professionals. These are just a handful of the benefits a microelectronics start-up gets to enjoy when they enter the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) ecosystem.

Amid continued demand and a robust growth forecast, the microelectronics sector is ripe with opportunities for start-ups to enter the fray and make their mark on the field. Based on a report by McKinsey & Company, the global semiconductor market alone is anticipated to be worth US$1 trillion by 2030, representing a particularly promising career path for young professionals.

For many budding start-ups, the challenge lies in transforming their ideas into viable products and finding use cases to drive market adoption. Up-and-coming ventures at this critical juncture require every advantage to stay ahead of the competition.

Nurturing the next generation

Since 2022, HKSTP has partnered with global leading semiconductor company Infineon Technologies Hong Kong on a co-incubation programme, which supports early-stage microelectronics ventures in bringing their inventions to fruition.

The three-year programme was launched with the younger demographic of innovators and entrepreneurs in mind and focuses on nurturing high-potential, developing microelectronics start-ups. By inviting students and innovators from around the world to Hong Kong to tap on the potential of the city’s fast-growing microelectronics sector, it aims to accelerate innovation by helping up-and-coming ventures fast-track the commercialisation and adoption of their technology.

Other than making use of HKSTP’s state-of-the-art facilities, participants can draw on the rich knowledge, expertise and technology of Infineon, one of the world’s top semiconductor outfits. This is achieved through training sessions, partnership on trial projects and access to cutting edge technologies and new business opportunities.

A collaborative microelectronics ecosystem

The first-year anniversary of the co-incubation programme was recently celebrated at the Microelectronics Ecosystem Conference. The event was organised by HKSTP and Infineon in tandem with The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

Since the programme’s inception, almost 200 HKSTP partner companies, universities and InnoHK Centres have benefited from training sessions on different microelectronics themes. Additionally, six real-life application projects are being developed in collaboration with companies located at HKSTP’s various sites.

At the event, global leaders and experts shared insights related to talent, research and the industry in the microelectronics field to inspire young professionals. Another aspect of the conference was a technology display of over 40 showcases spanning important focus areas like smart mobility, healthcare and new energy – which highlighted Hong Kong’s diverse strengths in microelectronics innovation and applications.

This included Hessner Technologies, a start-up currently under the HKSTP Incubation programme that focuses on delivering power storage and management solutions for low-speed electric vehicles. The company showcased a supercapacitator bracket for the golf cart market that can extend the battery’s operational life.

Another firm that participated in the showcase was Intron Technology, which develops electronic applications for automotive industries and has leveraged Infineon’s technology in its inventions. It presented a set of intelligent systems and solutions for autonomous driving scenarios that can dynamically adjust driving strategies to accommodate diverse driver and passenger situations, thereby optimising the human-machine interaction within the vehicle.

Furthering the growth of Hong Kong’s microelectronics industry is a central tenet of HKSTP’s philosophy. Since it was founded in 2001, HKSTP has made it its mission to foster innovation and technology development in the region – be it by opening new science parks and innovation hubs, offering co-working and co-living spaces for innovators, launching start-up venture funds or helping overseas companies break into Hong Kong and mainland China.

To date, almost 250 microelectronics-related firms have emerged from the HKSTP ecosystem alone. Microelectronics start-ups can leverage end-to-end support and dedicated infrastructure and facilities that are part of HKSTP’s far-reaching microelectronics network.

This includes a Hardware Lab designed to accelerate market-ready microelectronics inventions, alongside cleanroom facilities like the Heterogeneous Integration Lab, which enables the development and advanced packaging of small-batch prototypes, and the Sensor Lab, which supports the pilot run of microelectronics devices​.

Currently in the works is the Advanced Manufacturing Centre ProShop, a state-of-the-art facility to support the latest smart manufacturing technologies through R&D, prototyping and testing. In 2024, start-ups can take advantage of the Microelectronics Centre, which will house cutting-edge infrastructure including workshops, clean rooms and testing labs for semiconductor enterprises to reliably bring their microelectronics products to market.

With the government driving Hong Kong’s innovation and technology ecosystem, the future of the microelectronics sector looks bright. By championing young microelectronics start-ups, HKSTP is determined to ensure that these ventures have the required support and resources to thrive in the city – and beyond.

“Hong Kong’s growing R&D and advanced manufacturing capabilities make it the region’s leading platform for the end-to-end development of microelectronics products,” said CEO of HKSTP Albert Wong. “But this is just the start. We intend to grasp this moment to go full force in developing next-generation microelectronics and propel a new era of growth for Hong Kong.”

HKSTP invites young talent and fast-growing start-ups to collaborate and explore potential opportunities in Hong Kong’s fledgling microelectronics sector.