Photo Credit: StartmeupHK Venture Programme Facebook page

Out of 550 entries from 47 economies, 12 were chosen. From those 12 stunning, stellar growth-stage companies, another six were picked in a private pitching session.

And from those six, three — Freightos, Perseus Telecom and Scoutbots — were crowned ultimate champions at the StartmeupHK Venture Forum 2014 pitching competition in Hong Kong three days ago.

The one-day conference was put together by InvestHK, a department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, set up specially to draw in foreign direct investment and encourage foreign businesses to incorporate or expand in the city-state.

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Simon Galpin, Director-General of Investment Promotion, InvestHK said:

After two successful competitions and given the tremendous response and high quality of the entries, I believe that Hong Kong’s position as one of the fastest growing startup hubs in Asia has been confirmed. InvestHK will continue to encourage scalable entrepreneurs to come and set up in our city and enjoy its many enduring business advantages, while bringing new skills and ideas to inspire our local community.

According to a release, all six finalists will receive prizes worth HK$5 million (US$644,710), which will come in the form of professional services, mentoring and workspace — all courtesy of corporate sponsors.

The country of incorporation for all six companies were split between Germany, Hong Kong, the US and Singapore. Freightos and Scoutbots, for example, are Hong Kong-registered companies; n-join Research and Fast Forward Imaging are German companies; ConnexionsAsia is a Singaporean firm; and Perseus Telecom is registered in the US.

“We’re honoured that InvestHK saw the full potential that Freightos introduces to the world​ of international trade,” Zvi Schreiber, CEO, Freightos told e27. “Over US$18.7 trillion dollars of goods were shipped ​internationally ​last year​,​ but the ​shipping ​market is still lacking technological innovation that can introduce transparency and efficiency to freight shipping.”

“Winning a Hong Kong contest has particular significance. Hong Kong is well-established as ​a ​global ​trade hub, including, the world’s busiest freight airport and third busiest port. ​Freightos is incorporated in Hong Kong. ​This is a natural home-base to facilitate our efforts to bring the global freight world into the 21st century,” he added.

As for the prizes, Schreiber said they have already seen a nice spike in interest from both potential users as well as potential investors, which is a prize itself.

Disclaimer: This author’s trip to Hong Kong and accommodation in Hong Kong were covered by InvestHK.

Contributions by Michael de Waal-Montgomery