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Chinachem Group (the Group) and Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) took another step forward in its pioneering pilot-first accelerator programme today by announcing the first cohort of 10 selected tech ventures who will test and develop ‘proptech’ innovation at the revitalised Central Market.

The “CCG Accel – Powered by HKSTP” accelerator provides the shortlisted tech ventures with the exclusive opportunity to develop pilot solutions in collaboration with Chinachem Group to ensure they can deliver market-ready solutions prior to general adoption.

This pioneering “pilot-first” approach allows tech ventures to install and test solutions in a real market environment even at concept stage. This is a huge advantage and accelerates the product development process, while closing the critical gap between ideation and commercialisation which halts many early-stage ventures. The process allows tech ventures to collect valuable data and instant user feedback so that they can strengthen the opportunities for adoption.

Cohort 1 participants will focus on proptech-related solutions that address property-based challenges at Central Market in the areas of visitor experience, environment and sustainability, as well as operation and facility management. Pilot testing will take place from September to December 2021, with a final demo day in January 2022 when all participating tech ventures will showcase their solutions. By collecting real-life data through trials at Central Market, the final winning innovations may be adopted within Central Market itself and help revitalise the 82-year-old building into a 21st century marketplace blending old and new.

Donald Choi, Executive Director and CEO, Chinachem Group, said: “Chinachem Group is excited to be working with HKSTP to support high-potential tech ventures and their innovations that can make Hong Kong a better place to live, work and play for our future generations. The Group’s expertise and wide portfolio of commercial properties provide the ideal testing and development opportunities for innovation to thrive. We believe this can accelerate smart city development in Hong Kong and benefit people, prosperity and planet.”

Albert Wong, CEO, HKSTP said: “This unique pioneering partnership with Chinachem Group is a continued extension of the HKSTP I&T ecosystem to new locations in Hong Kong and will help innovators fast-track their ground-breaking ideas into fully-tested solutions ready for market adoption. We constantly seek new ways to smooth tech ventures’ path to success and this programme will spur more successful innovation while also propelling Hong Kong’s smart city vision with smart property and retail solutions.”

The existing Central Market building was an epoch-making piece of architecture when built 80 years ago. Its spirit of innovation lives on in the revitalised market through initiatives including support for high-potential local tech ventures through a pilot-to-mass adoption process and promotion of STEAM learning to nurture the creative thinking of the next generation.

Featuring a series of three themed cohorts, the “CCG Accel – Powered by HKSTP” accelerator will use designated Chinachem Group properties as a testing stage in each cohort as the innovators are tasked to solve property-based challenges. CCG will also assign mentors to each programme participant and provide industry insight and knowledge to refine their solution with the participating tech ventures.

HKSTP will also facilitate a programme of training sessions during the pilot period to equip the selected tech ventures with diverse technology and business skills. The tech ventures will benefit from direct access to HKSTP’s extensive ecosystem and value-added services.

This new model of partnership helps visualise the effectiveness of the property-specific solutions more easily, while end users can gain immediate benefits from the innovations. Successful innovations from the accelerator may also be selected for further adoption and investment by the Group.