In a highly competitive market, what helps set a start-up apart is self-developed patented technology. AmaZinc, an innovative start-up focusing on advanced materials, co-founded by Professor Zhi Chunyi from CityU’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and his PhD student Dr Tang Zijie in 2020, are a good illustration of this. AmaZinc is applying advanced technology, developed by Professor Zhi and his research team, in the form of highly flexible, extremely safe zinc-based batteries for wearable electronics and smart clothing. The start-up also provides applications like uninterrupted power supply (UPS), a solar and wind energy storage system, and microgrid storage.
AmaZinc received initial financial support from CityU’s SEEDS Fund and ITC’s TSSSU funding, and solicited further funding support from HKSTP’s Incu-Tech programme (HK$1.29 million) and Songshan Lake Materials Laboratory (SLAB, HK$20 million). In addition to setting up a laboratory in Hong Kong, AmaZinc established a base at SLAB in Dongguan, riding on the rapid development of the Greater Bay Area. Currently, the start-up has nearly 20 staff in mainland China and Hong Kong, responsible for R&D, sales, and managing the manufacturing process.
Professor Zhi said he always wanted to transform his research findings into applications that have real-world benefits, and he saw in Tang unique qualities that could bring his idea to fruition. “While most of my PhD students focus on their scientific research, Tang obviously has a bigger vision. He is also a very trustworthy colleague whom I can count on,” said Professor Zhi.
“Both of my parents are product engineers, so I have been interested in machinery and industrial products since I was a kid,” said Tang. “I really wanted to design and make products that could be used by everyone. “And Professor Zhi pointed out that I had the qualities to develop a career as an entrepreneur.”
“With the increase in investment in innovation and technology in Hong Kong and the enormous opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, many outstanding young faculty members at CityU are interested in launching their own start-ups or supporting their students to do so. The HK Tech 300 programme offers a great platform to enable scientific legacies to be passed on. This is certainly instrumental to the technological advances in CityU, Hong Kong and the whole country,” added Professor Zhi.