“In Silicon Valley, you are alone. But, in Hengqin, the local government is literally there from the very beginning, such as office rental and business registration,” said Ho Kuok Tou, Founder and CEO of Pachira Era (Zhuhai Hengqin) Information Technology Co. ., ltd. , when sharing with GDToday his story in Hengqin.
An IT major, Ho founded Pachira in America’s Silicon Valley in 2009. A year later, he returned to China and set up an operations center in Beijing. In 2018, when he first came to Hengqin, his team won a local science and technology entrepreneurship competition. The following year, Ho founded the Hengqin branch of Pachira.
According to the Hengqin plan released last September, the area will develop new industries to help promote Macau’s economic diversification. Sci-tech research and development and high-end manufacturing will be developed.
Undoubtedly, this is good news for Ho.” I hope that Pachira can carry out cutting-edge projects in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao (GBA) Greater Bay Area. When we are ready, we can expand our practice nationally or even globally,” Ho said ambitiously.
High technology spurs industrial upgrading in GRB
As a high-tech entrepreneur, Ho believes that technology should serve people. With this mission at the core, Pachira brings its most advanced AI technology to Hengqin, helping upgrade some GBA industries and providing more convenient services to the public.
Currently, Pachira is undertaking projects such as public hotline, smart cities in Zhuhai as well as smart hospitality and tourism for MGM Macao, Wynn Macao and Macao Institute of Tourism Studies.
Pachira has also forged cooperative ties with global companies such as Toyota, BMW, HSBC, Metlife and Cigna. For example, Toyota’s Lexus cars use voice recognition technology from Pachira and are now in mass production.
Ho pointed out that there is more space for development in Hengqin, especially in terms of IT. Focusing on comprehensive artificial intelligence and big data solutions, Pachira is capitalizing on a good period with all the buildings, grid networks and other infrastructure already in place.
Deepening industry-university-research cooperation between Hengqin and Macao
“For high-tech companies like ours, talent matters above all. Talented students from universities like Stanford University hold the key to Silicon Valley’s success,” Ho said. At Hengqin, Pachira mainly collaborates with UM and MUST, as well as higher institutes in Zhuhai.
Pachira has been working with some UM laboratories for two years. For example, the project on the automatic reading system for automotive manuals is carried out jointly by Pachira and the Laboratory of automatic natural language processing and Portuguese-Chinese automatic translation.
“Together with Professor Huang, we can now automatically integrate car manuals into our knowledge base and categorize them with notes. When we ask questions in the car with our natural language, thanks to our NLP (Natural Language Processing) technology, the answers can be located and converted from text to speech to tell the driver.
During this time, Pachira received intern students from GBA universities. “Pachira is a very good platform with a large development space for new graduates like us. This is the reason why I chose to stay after my internship,” said Huang Jiahui, marketing manager at Pachira, who graduated from UM in 2020.
When talking about the future plan, Ho is full of confidence. Ho is very eager to implement the Hengqin Plan’s first and second level policies. He said Hengqin will become a bridge connecting the international market through Macao and the vast mainland market, enabling the free flow of talents, projects, funds and other items.
“It’s a good opportunity for us,” Ho said confidently.