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03 Apr 2014

Swire Properties to host Hong Kong’s first ELEPHANT PARADE® this Summer

Something big is about to land in Hong Kong! Elephant Parade® and Swire Properties today jointly announced Hong Kong as the next destination of the world’s largest art exhibition of decorated elephant statues, in aid of Asian elephant conservation.

From 1 August to 9 September 2014, more than 100 individually-painted life-size baby elephant statues will be exhibited at Pacific Place, Cityplaza and Citygate Outlets malls, with an aim to increase awareness of the endangered Asian elephant and raise funds for conservation programmes. Each of the five-foot-high statues will be designed by renowned local and international artists, designers, celebrities and influential brands.

"Elephant Parade has been done in many cities and we welcome it to Hong Kong,” said Under Secretary for the Environment of Hong Kong, Dr. Christine Loh, OBE, JP, who is also the official patron of the parade. “It is an eye-catching, arty, fun and meaningful event that fits the growing awareness about protecting elephants. I am sure the people of Hong Kong will enjoy the event when it comes in the summer.”

“We’re delighted to bring the fun and excitement of Elephant Parade to such a vibrant city as Hong Kong,” said Elephant Parade founder, Mr Mike Spits. “Our aim is to ‘paint a brighter future’ for Asian elephant populations faced with extreme habitat loss and dramatic declines across the region. Elephant Parade is a bright, positive way to do this by attracting awareness and generating conservation funds. I must thank our partner Swire Properties for making it possible to share our elephants with the public in Hong Kong and the Greater China region for the very first time.”

“Swire Properties has for many years been a dedicated patron of arts and culture in Hong Kong,” said Mrs Elizabeth Kok, Retail Portfolio Director of Swire Properties. “We believe that art has the power to move people and Elephant Parade is a unique and creative initiative that can raise awareness of the vital issue facing Asian elephants today. As a commercially and socially responsible corporation, we want to play our part in bringing this issue to the fore.”

At the end of the exhibition, approximately 20 of the most prominent statues will be auctioned off for charity by Sotheby’s at a gala event to be held at the Island Shangri-La. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Asian Elephant Foundation, an international charity that backs conservation and education projects of the endangered species, which was listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

The first Elephant Parade took place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 2007. Since then, parades have marched around the world from London and Milan to Singapore and California, raising over GBP3.6million (approximately HK$46million) through auctions and the sale of merchandise. Elephant Parade has also gathered a diverse, high profile set of supporters and artistic contributors, ranging from royalty to internationally-recognised artists, designers, singers, actors and celebrities.

Hong Kong’s first startup programme initiated by commercial developer

Swire Properties today unveiled the first batch of eleven startups which were selected from over 150 applications from around the world to join blueprint’s accelerator, Hong Kong’s first startup initiative organised by a commercial developer.

The eleven startups collectively represent a diverse mix of business-to-business (B2B) technical solutions, developing innovative concepts in fields including e-Commerce fulfilment, energy consumption, defect management and luggage tracking. They will enjoy six months of free work space, mentorship support, connections to capital and market testing opportunities to accelerate their business. Swire Properties’ approach is unique in that it does not charge the startups a fee to enter the space, nor does it require equity in return.

“Over the past several years, the startup scene in Hong Kong has gained huge momentum,” said Swire Properties’ Chief Executive Guy Bradley, who presented this initiative as a mentor at the opening ceremony. “As a core member of the business community, we’re happy to support these startups with our resources, be it a place to work, a contact to capital, encouragement and advice to keep them on track and motivated. In return, blueprint will nurture a culture of innovation and creativity at Taikoo Place, reinforcing its status as a key business hub in Hong Kong.”

The growing blueprint mentor network includes over 70 top executives and entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, including 14 C-suite executives and 16 directors. External to Swire, other blueprint mentors span a diverse spectrum of companies including Uber, Tesla Motors, Rackspace and Lenovo. Together, they will form organic relationships with the startups and provide invaluable technical and business advice to propel the teams toward further success.

In addition, blueprint has announced a partnership with Seedcamp, Europe’s leading pre-seed and seed investment fund and mentoring programme. Seedcamp Partner Carlos Espinal will fly to Hong Kong to see Asia’s burgeoning startup ecosystem first-hand, with a view to finding investment opportunities in startups that could be attractive to the European market. He will also be conducting regular workshops with blueprint’s startup community.

The eleven blueprint accelerator startups will share an open workspace of around 10,000 sq ft within Cornwall House. The unconventional design encourages collaboration and interaction among the startups. It also incorporates recycled furniture collected from other Swire companies, including a discarded Hongkong United Dockyards’ shipping container which now serves as a casual meeting room and retired Cathay Pacific Airways’ seating which provides a comfortable recline for users in the café area.

In addition to the accelerator, blueprint also contains a co-working space of an additional 10,000 sq ft which is available to startups at a monthly individual membership of HK$2,000. Since its opening in December, over 60 members have moved into the dynamic co-working environment.

Interested parties please visit blueprint’s website at http://blueprint.swireproperties.com.