“The community is incredibly open, positive, creative, and enthusiastic about fostering innovation. “

Allison Baum, Director of General Assembly Hong Kong 

The growing tech and entrepreneurial buzz in Hong Kong has drawn General Assembly from New York to set up in Asia’s leading business and financial hub

General Assembly was founded in New York in early 2011 by four young entrepreneurs who wanted to foster a community where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs could share ideas, experiences and talents.

The company has chosen Hong Kong as its first location inAsia for a number of reasons. “From the moment I first arrived in Hong Kong, I could tell there was a growing tech and entrepreneurial buzz. The community is incredibly open, positive, creative, and enthusiastic about fostering innovation. Additionally, Hong Kong culture is one that values and encourages education. There is strong technological infrastructure, solid intellectual property laws, and it is simple and easy to start a company. The government is very supportive of the entrepreneurial movement,” Allison Baum, Director of General Assembly Hong Kong, said.

Practical and Hands-on Training

General Assembly started by offering one-off classes and workshops to provide people with small, relevant, practical tips on how to start or grow their business. But a growing demand for web developers,digital marketers, user experience designers, and product managers saw their focus change.

“A lot of cities around the world had the same need for practical, hands on, digital education so we started offering specific programmes in London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Sydney and now in Hong Kong,” Baum said.

The demand for developers has continued to increase at an exponential rate and Baum is looking forward to helping create new tech talent in Hong Kong through more courses and a more comprehensive curriculum. As part of its current expansion plan, General Assembly is launching a Web Development Immersive (WDI) programme starting in late September. Web developer bootcamps have become immensely popular in the US and in Europe, and this is the first programme of its kind in Asia. General Assembly currently has students from Singapore, the US and Mainland China.

Stop Waiting

Baum’s advice for startups is to use the same practical hands-on approach. “Stop waiting for the perfect co-founder,developer, designer, or marketing person to come along. Learn to do it yourself, and you’ll be in a much better position to execute your own vision and brand,” she said.

Baum first met with InvestHK’s team in New York when she decided to explore expanding into Asia. “InvestHK has been incredibly supportive from the very beginning. It has been with us every step of the way, encouraging us and providing us with all the resources we need to get established and connected with key individuals and organisations. Now, with the department’s StartmeupHK initiative, we are working alongside each other to encourage entrepreneurship in Hong Kong,” she said.

Baum enjoys living and working in Hong Kong. “It’s a unique place in that you can have whatever type of experience that you choose. If you want to stay in the metropolitan area, eat at fancy restaurants, and go out every night, you can. But if you want to wake up early, go for a long hike in the mountains, spend the day at the beach, you can do that too. There’s an incredible amount of diversity of background, lifestyles, and experiences, and it creates an inexplicable energy that I find very inspiring,” she enthused.


Fast Facts: General Assembly Hong Kong

  • Founded in New York in 2011
  • Campuses in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Sydney and Hong Kong