Growing Opportunities in Asia

By: Konstantin Izvolsky, Director of Assessment & Training

On April 24-25, 2017 Dr. Phyllis Speser (CEO) and I represented Foresight Science & Technology at the AUTM Asia-2017 conference which took place in Hong Kong Science and Technology Park. Several hundred attendees representing China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, India and other countries discussed the problems associated with the integration of the Asian academic institutions into the global technology innovation ecosystem and the development of the efficient mechanisms driving the successful academic technology transfer and entrepreneurship in Asia. First off, we would like to thank our friend Dr. David Ai, AUTM Asia 2017 Organizing Committee Chairman, and many volunteers representing several Hong Kong Universities for this wonderful experience.

In recent years, we have witnessed the unparalleled economic growth in South East Asia. The strength of academic research and the introduction of new policies promoted the unprecedented growth in the number of filed PCT applications (particularly in China) while the availability of international financial resources resulted in the spike in entrepreneurial activity and the creation of large technology parks in Honk Kong, Singapore and Shenzhen focusing on global innovation. At the same time, Asian region is extremely diverse and while some countries have been able to develop efficient innovation ecosystems others, like Thailand and Philippines, only now start to actively promote academic innovation. The lack of efficient policies as well as gaps in education and training of the new generation of academic technology transfer managers and even language barriers are seen as the major hurdles in the integration of these countries in global innovation ecosystem. These issues, among others, were openly discussed during the “The Renaissance of the Ancient Silk Road” session at the second day of the conference.

We see tremendous business opportunities in Asia. It is clear, that even in the regions like Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and China there are multiple ways to facilitate entrepreneurship and to help Asia-based startups exploring international markets, particularly the US market. Several possible scenarios of such collaborations have been discussed with colleagues from China, Singapore and Hong Kong during the conference. For example, we believe that Asian startups can explore the US market by creating the US-based spinoffs and utilizing well-established funding mechanisms like SBIR/STTR. Foresight is very interested in exploring this model and is ready to assist small Asian startups in entering the US market by assessing the market opportunity, identifying potential partners and funding sources for the technology development and in marketing the technology.  Also, the abundance of financial resources, advanced technopark infrastructure and the proximity to the Chinese market makes Hong Kong the ideal launching platform for the US- and EU-based startups interested in exploring the market opportunities in the South-East Asia.

In addition, our experience in providing the training covering the key aspects of the academic technology transfer raised significant interest from technology transfer professionals from China and Thailand. It should be noted that Foresight already has very positive experience in providing training to South East Asia academic institutions. At the end of 2016 Foresight conducted two-day training session to the selected group of technology transfer and licensing professionals from several Hong Kong universities, including the City University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and several others. This training session was organized in collaboration with Dr. David Ai and received very positive reviews. Foresight plans to capitalize on this success and is ready to provide interactive training sessions to technology transfer professionals focusing on each country’ specifics.

We here at Foresight look forward to productive interactions with our colleagues from Asia and providing the expertise and knowledge to support Asia-based startups and the more efficient integration of Asian academic institutions into the global innovation ecosystem.

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