Eric Chen Zixiang

2007 Scholar

Eric Chen Zixiang

2007 Scholar

Eric founded Vitargent (International) Biotechnology Limited in 2010 at just 23 years old. The start-up company is dedicated to improving food safety with its groundbreaking fish embryo toxicity (FET) testing technologies. Eric received one of the HSBC Young Entrepreneur Awards (Asia) in 2011 and entered the Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 list in 2016.

Under Eric’s leadership as Chief Commercial Officer, Vitargent has achieved tremendous success in the past seven years. It won the Grand Prix at the 43rd International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva in 2015 and successfully raised funds from a listed company in 2017. Vitargent is on its way to becoming Hong Kong’s first biotechnology start-up “unicorn”.

“The process to establish Vitargent was not all smooth. At the time, the few of us who founded the company had just graduated from university, and the city’s economy had only begun to recover after a period of recession. Investors might be interested in buying stocks and properties, but for a start-up company like ours, they were more sceptical. Some even told us, ‘I don’t know you. Why would I help you?’”

“We then adjusted our mindset and accepted that no-one was obliged to support us. Rejection was the norm, and any offer to meet and discuss the project with us was already a bonus. We as young people should always reflect on ourselves and work towards perfection. It is important to be prepared for challenges and learn from experience. What matters the most is not whether other people are willing to help, but whether we are able to grasp the opportunity when it comes.

“The easiest tasks would have been taken care of already. In other words, the more challenging a problem is, the greater the value of the solution. The social value created by the improvement of food safety is certainly huge. Therefore, it did not matter if we were turned down by many investors. As long as there was one who believed in us, we would be able to move forward. I met my first investor in an entrepreneurship competition, and that was how Vitargent was born.”

As the company has grown, it has expanded its scope to big data and the establishment of a database for the safe import of food and products. “For me, it’s important to ‘stay helpful’,” Eric observes. “Instead of financial rewards, we garner support from society by creating social value. Consideration for our staff, our shareholders and our consumers is at the heart of our operation.

Only in this way will our contribution to society be sustainable.”