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A Young Engineer Finds Work-Life Balance in Hong Kong

“To international talents, I would say that if they’re hoping, eager to discover a new culture, Hong Kong is a great place to start a career with some good job opportunities, a good mix between the city and nature, and a lot of different people to meet.”

Dr Adrien Touboul
Chief Data Officer, Gense Technologies Limited

In Hong Kong, a French engineer finds an international city with great opportunities to build a career and live life to its fullest.

Dr Adrien Touboul is an engineer from France who specialises in mathematics and machine learning. As a well-educated professional in his mid-twenties, he naturally wanted to expand his horizons. "After my PhD, which was one year ago, I wanted to go somewhere else, to leave France and to see other countries, to go abroad. So I looked on the Internet." He spotted a listing for Gense Technologies, a startup developing an affordable, portable and easy-to-use medical imaging device for use in homes and clinics to aid in early detection and monitoring of chronic conditions. He found the company to be a great fit for his interests, and Gense found in him the perfect match for the open position. A few months later, he was on a plane from Paris to Hong Kong.

Support to Focus on the Big Picture

Of course, part of what brought Dr Touboul to Hong Kong was the city's support for overseas talents. "My job position was secured by a Hong Kong government funding scheme, namely the HKSAR Research Talent Hub (RTH) under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF), led by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC). It accounts for a substantial part of my salary and I am of course grateful for that – a very great opportunity." In Dr Touboul’s eyes, the RTH and other comprehensive support as well as funding schemes in Hong Kong helped him to focus on his short-to-mid-term career goals, giving him and Gense room to concentrate on their innovative new device.

For medical technology and science talents seeking a new start, Hong Kong's sophisticated healthcare sector and strategic position in the Greater Bay Area (GBA)—which is itself developing into an international innovation and technology hub—is too convenient to ignore. “Hong Kong is a gateway into the rest of the GBA, into Mainland China and also the rest of Asia," says Dr Touboul, noting the wealth of networking, investment and partnership opportunities available to overseas talents, side by side with Hong Kong’s wide-ranging government support. 

A City That Makes Personal Growth Easy

Going from Paris to Hong Kong has been an adjustment, of course. From learning to get around (and the convenience of the MTR) to adjusting to the language (made easier by the abundant use of English), Dr Touboul’s adventurous attitude is unbeatable. Even quarantine can’t keep him down. “It was a pretty nice experience actually.” He definitely sees a future here, both for himself and Gense.

The city has won him over with its vibrant culture and interesting people. Naturally, as a Frenchman, he has noted the delicious dining options and exciting new discoveries, such as the deep fried shrimp toast served in Chinese restaurants. What really brings a smile to his face, though, is the city’s balance of urban living and natural beauty. "I know a place which you can go from the city centre, from Central – I mean 30 minutes on ferry, and you are either in Mui Wo, with beautiful beaches, or on Lamma Island. It has a very good small town vibe. Such a perfect mix, I have never seen it anywhere. It is really great to live in Hong Kong."

Fast facts:

  • With the support of RTH under the ITF, Dr Adrien Touboul is now working as a Chief Data Officer at Gense, a Hong Kong startup built by a team of PhDs and researchers, renowned for its revolutionary medical imaging device.
  • Before coming to Hong Kong, Dr Touboul earned a Master of Science from one of France's leading scientific institutes, and a PhD with focus on applied probability, mathematical modeling and machine learning.
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