Hong Kong’s MTR Lab eyes investment opportunities in property tech in bid to help city reach carbon neutrality by 2050

MTR Lab, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s railway operator MTR Corporation, that invests in technology, is eyeing opportunities in property and construction innovations that are focused on sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, as it hopes to help the city reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

A majority of the 1,000 or so pitches and opportunities reviewed by MTR Lab are in real estate technology, Michael Chan Ting-bond, its managing director said on Monday.

“Our investment team has seen more opportunities and new ideas coming from the property and construction and real estate tech side,” said Chan.

“This sector has been quite resilient in both good and bad markets, and different projects have continued to happen. We have seen quite a number of proposals coming from that industry segment.”

Michael Chan Ting-bond, managing director of MTR Lab Company Limited, photographed at MTR Headquarters in Kowloon Bay. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

The investment will allow WeMaintain to improve the quality of lift and escalator maintenance with Internet of Things technology and to power greener city development across Asia-Pacific, according to a joint statement. This was also MTR Lab’s first investment in an overseas firm.

MTR Lab and partner invest US$5.9m in Hong Kong construction tech company

Hong Kong start-up Ampd received US$8 million in funding from MTR Lab and venture capital firms 2150 and Taronga Ventures, according to a joint statement.

The investment will enhance the construction technology company’s capability to move the industry towards a more data-driven, digital future, as well as fuel its future advancements and business growth, according to a joint statement.

“Real estate-related technologies have been developing quite well over the past year,” said Kiki Wang, general manager of MTR Lab. “Property and construction are traditional industries that are undergoing digital transformation, and under this trend we are seeing new opportunities emerging. We will continue to explore opportunities in this area.”

Focusing on investments with a sustainability and ESG angle will help the railway operator source innovative technological solutions to reach its own carbon-neutral goals, said MTR Lab’s Chan.

MTR Corporation has set itself a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. It will set science-based, carbon-reduction targets for its railway and property businesses in Hong Kong to reach this milestone by 2030, according to its 2021 sustainability report.

The subsidiary has identified six key sectors relevant to MTR’s operations, including mobility, retail, property, financial and data services, smart city technology and sustainability.

MTR Lab has completed six investment projects, and will continue to work with partners across sectors to build a smart and sustainable ecosystem, encompassing electric vehicle charging, green lifestyle and smart city, said Chan.

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