While Hong Kong has embraced the digital age, we remain light years behind London and New York when it comes to nurturing tech talent and creative ideas. Fortunately, Time Out discovered six local companies pushing the boundaries of social interaction and pioneering new online possibilities.
Click below for each profile:
Trufflepig - The Headhunter
Digital Butter - The Digital Agents
GeoExpat - The Go-To-Guy
StartUpsHK - The Community Gurus
The Wanderlist+ Asia - The Blogger
Kudo5.com - The Start-Up
Bryan A. Cheung Co-founder
Tell us about Kudo5.com
Kudo5.com is trying to solve a problem: if as an individual or a small business you have a problem with exposure, or if you are a fashion designer in Hong Kong, how do you get your brand out? Kudo5.com is trying to showcase your products to an international environment, for free.
How long have you been working on this idea?
Since June 2011. It was January this year that I finally took the leap of faith.
And what types of problems have you faced?
One of the problems is trying to find hidden jewels. Hong Kong is a city filled with talented individuals, but trying to find these hidden jewels is so difficult.
What is your area of expertise?
I’m more on the business development side. I build the team. I’m like a chief executive officer, or chief cultural officer, finding the right people with the right attitude for our team. We screen for skill, but we hire for attitude.
How safe is this venture for you?
I was very fortunate to stumble across this entrepreneurial endeavour as my strength is more on the front end sales and marketing side rather than on the technical side. Technical is very important and I’m also learning to do that myself. The main problem with HK, for me personally, is that it places a huge emphasis on education and not creativity; it’s more about the network, not so much the knowledge.
Let’s talk about China. How interested are you in Mainland business?
In this internet world, there are two worlds. There’s China and the rest of the world. We feel that with the Chinese censorship and a different language being a big issue, we are not going to China. But, because we are trying help individuals and small businesses showcase their works to an International audience, we’re geographically well positioned to potentially tap into the Chinese market first.
So how important is a wide international exposure for you?
Extremely important. If you are coming from Hong Kong, your perspective is only local; whereas if you had the overseas experience you have an international mindset and a local perspective. I am so happy that I graduated from UBC (University of British Columbia). It’s a school of 50,000 students, and the exposure was just mindblowingly diverse.
We’re finding some interesting attitudes regarding social media in Hong Kong. What social media tools are you using?
Facebook, with friends, the walls, the pages, the groups. There’s Twitter, there’s also Blogspot; every single day I’m writing a two-minute story – we’re getting 300 page views a day. We’ve got other sites that hopefully will be an accelerator, a catalyst – sites that I have stumbled upon and read. It’s all about being able to connect with people on an individual basis as often as possible.
Have you hired any local talent?
Ironically our team consists of no real locals; everyone has had an international exposure, an international mindset – we have a graphic designer who’s based in NYC strategically, because that’s where the community is, and we have Dave Robinson, from UC Berkeley School of Business, as one of our advisors and as our accounts [man].
Finally, do you have any advice for people wanting to do a start-up?
Three words are extremely important. Perseverance. Confidence. And why. And if you begin with why you do what you want to do, you will be able to persevere, and then you will be able to have the confidence to go through the rollercoaster of life.
Profiles by James Sibley
Photographs by Calvin Sit