Startup News & Analysis

Alibaba teams up with Sydney co-working space Haymarket HQ to bring global startup contest Down Under

Angela Castles /

Haymarket HQ

Haymarket HQ general manager Duco Van Breemen

Early-stage startups will go head-to-head for the chance to pitch to prominent global investors in Shanghai when the Create@Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest (CACSC) comes Down Under next month.

Alibaba‘s cloud-computing arm Alibaba Cloud has partnered with Sydney startup hub Haymarket HQ to bring the pitch competition to Australia. The event will see startups battling it out to receive $US50,000 ($62,825) in credit for Alibaba cloud product resources, and the chance to pitch in front of global investors at the CACSC world championship in Shanghai in October.

The startup that wins the Australian stage of the competition will also receive preferential access to the Alibaba Group’s first round of investment programs and recommendations, access to investors and complimentary co-working space at Haymarket HQ.

The competition is open to startups that have been operating for up to five years and are developing products in emerging tech fields. These include artificial intelligence and big data, cyber security, digital services, augmented and virtual reality, and the Internet of Things.

Haymarket HQ general manager Duco van Breemen says the competition is about “showcasing Australia’s best startups in China” as well as encouraging Australian startups to look to the Asia Pacific region as a potential source of customers and investment.

“I hope to put China, Asia and even broader global markets on the map and bring them to the attention of Australian startups,” Breemen tells StartupSmart

Haymarket HQ bills itself as Australia’s first startup hub to specifically focus on supporting Australian startups into Asia, which made its partnership with e-commerce giant Alibaba to deliver the contest a “logical choice”, says Breeman.

Haymarket HQ was set up to tap into the Asian talent pool in Australia — no other country in the world has such a strong Asian talent pool and such strong connections [to Asia]” Breemen says.

Breemen believes this talent pool is “under utilised”, and hopes the contest will promote the Asian region as a key market to crack for Australian startups.

“Trade between Australia and China is gigantic, but it’s a ‘rocks and crops’ kind of view. There’s very little value-added services exports,” Breemen says.

“The fact that no one has been targeting Asia is more of a surprise than anything else,” Breemen says, adding there’s “no better country in the world” than Australia to target the APAC region, because of its proximity, minimal time differences and the growing Asian middle-class. 

Raymond Ma, head of ASEAN and ANZ at Alibaba Cloud Global, says Alibaba wants to advance cloud-computing innovation across the ANZ region by providing access to Alibaba cloud technology, mentoring, and a network of global resources to “stimulate the growth” of Australian tech startups.

“Cloud computing has become the driver of change, leading to technological innovations that push the boundaries of traditional business further than ever before,” Ma says.

“By bringing our global startup program to ANZ for the first time, we are aimed at advancing these innovations from across the region.”

Haymarket HQ will host the Australian and New Zealand Division Contest on September 23, with the winner given round-trip tickets to take part in the world championship in Shanghai in October. Applications are open from now until August 31.

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Angela Castles

Angela Castles is a Journalist at StartupSmart with a keen interest in the legal issues startups face. In her free time she can be found eating sushi and seeing live music.

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