Not too late to boost your HK portfolio

American equities managed to advance despite US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen saying valuations are generally quite high and hold potential risks.

The futures markets showed the first rate hike won’t happen until year end.
US earnings results weren’t bad, as McDonald’s, AOL and Microchip Technology performed above forecasts.
The US economy isn’t that good to stimulate a rate hike, but better earnings can support stock valuations.
British stocks edged up as the Conservatives won an unexpected majority.
Chinese data continues to disappoint, but that means more measures are on the way to stimulate the economy. When Chinese stocks rise too fast, the regulators simply clamp down on margin trading and allow more firms to launch initial public offerings.
But any correction will offer a good opportunity for bargains and the potential return may be unexpectedly high.This week will see China’s lending statistics, retail sales, and factory output.
I had said last Thursday it was time to look at A and H share discounts again Luoyang Glass (1108) and Nanjing Panda Electronics (553) rose 15 percent and 9 percent the following day!
It’s still not too late to increase your Hong Kong stock holdings.
Dr Check and/or The Standard bear no responsibility for any decision made based on this column.

Fashion gets the clicks

While Hong Kong’s electronic commerce market is still behind other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the potential is getting bigger, thanks to the rapid growth in mobile technology.

Singapore-based online fashion retailer Zalora has made its mark here by launching an online shop then a marketplace – a platform specially for independent local designers, boutiques and brands – late last year.
Last month, it launched its first cash- free click-and-mortar pop-up shop in the SAR to celebrate its third anniversary.
This is one of the best ways to engage with customers by bringing online businesses and offline operations together, said Zalora Hong Kong managing director Chua Cheng Xun.
“In this store, you can experience shopping in the cyber world and reality," he said.
From a late start Hong Kong has taken off in terms of online shopping over the past few years.
“A few years ago, just about half of the shoppers experienced buying online," Chua said. “Last year, the proportion jumped to 90 percent."
Hong Kong’s high mobile penetration has been one of the big forces to drive online shopping.
Three years ago, access via mobile to the store accounted for about 15 percent of the total traffic in Hong Kong. The proportion jumped to more than 40 percent last year. And for the whole of the Asia-Pacific region, the ratio is more than 50 percent, Chua said.
So even though Hong Kong did fall behind for some time, the trend in the territory remains on the upside for the
 next few years, he noted.
The engagement on social media platforms is perhaps more proof.
Chua said Facebook fans of Zalora in Hong Kong grew from zero in 2012 to more than 200,000 this year. And there are more than six million users in the region who have liked the Zalora fan page.
For the new pop-up shop in Causeway Bay, customers don’t have to bring any cash. Everything – from selecting items to checking out – is done over Zalora’s online platform.
Shoppers can try on the items, then scan the barcode with the computers in the store or zap the QR code with their mobile phones to proceed to checkout – they can pay with their credit cards or Paypal accounts. There are also a few Samsung tablets for the same purpose.
Shoppers can then either have the goods delivered to their doorsteps – with an option of cash on delivery – or pick them up at the pop-up store in Windsor House, Causeway Bay.
This is indeed a big investment to have a store running for less than two months in the district, well-known for being one of the most expensive shopping destinations. Rents in the building range between HK$100 and HK$500 per square foot.
But Chua said his firm will not transfer the expense to customers by raising prices in the store.
“We have no plan to increase prices of items sold in the pop-up shop," he said. “Prices are controlled by the partnering brands." Instead, there will be various offers available only in the click-and-mortar store.
In recent years, many shoppers completed their first online purchases in pop-up stores, Chua said.
While Zalora does not expect sales in the click-and-mortar stores to be a huge source of revenue, they can be substantial, according to experience in other markets.
Chua said the retailer may open more pop-up stores in Hong Kong depending on feedback.
“Or we may run short-term pop-up stores in different locations like a roadshow," he added.
The 2,500-square-foot store in Windsor House is open until the end of June. New items will be put on the shelves every week.
“About 30 to 40 percent of items will be replaced by the new ones," Chua said, adding that some 20 brands out of 6,000 available on its massive retail platforms in the region are available physically in the store.
A special section is dedicated to Zalora Marketplace, showcasing works by local designers. “Many Hong Kong shoppers go after the famous brands like Mango, Girls on Film or River Island, etc, but a lot of them also show support for and interest in local designers," Chua said.
“They love Hong Kong brands."
To ensure quality and flexibility, Zalora offers a 30-day full refund with no questions asked.
source from The Standard

Get with the program

Hong kong is experiencing a serious shortage of talent in information and communications technology. While there is no short-term solution, Cyberport is looking to devise strategies for the longer term.

One of the ways is to raise interest among youths. Earlier this month, Cyberport launched a mega event by putting more than 1,000 young programmers together to create a smart city map for the SAR.
“Cyberport is dedicated to nurturing young ICT talents," said Cyberport chief executive Herman Lam Heung-yeung.
“We hope to raise awareness and spark interest in coding education among the younger generation through this remarkable collaborative coding event, where students reveal creativity and imagination, acquire new coding skills, exchange ideas and work together in teams."
In the Coding Jam 1000, 1,042 young coders aged six to 18 – 13 percent of them were girls – were tasked with putting up a huge map of Hong Kong as a Smart City form by Minecraft – a game about building and breaking blocks.
The Smart City is comprised of three parts: City Center, Smart Town and Youth Creative Space.
City Center embraced state-of-the- art buildings and modern metropolitan facilities, constructed according to the sustainability principle, with a futuristic design concept.
Smart Town features Hong Kong signature landmarks.
The Youth Creative Space is the platform showcasing all young coders’ imaginative works on their ideal community and building concepts, demonstrating the excellent coding and construction skills of the youngsters and unique aspirations for smart living.
The younger coders had prepared themselves since February, when they received free training programs including six-hour tutorial videos of 15 modules, as well as a two-hour Get- Together Training Day.
With their hard work, they set the record of “The Most Youngsters Perform Coding."
Anthony Au Chin-ho was one of the coders who joined 1,000 others to contribute their parts at the Central Harbourfront.
“I was interested in coding and started playing Minecraft in Grade Five," the sixth-grader at Tak Sun School said.
“I spent around 20 hours to create a building that looks like the Peak Tower."
Besides Minecraft, Au said he learned about programming languages at school. “It was amazing to be able to create something by computer languages," he said.
Au is not the only one attracted to programming. His teacher, Leung Wing-yan, said many students show an interest in joining the courses, where screening is necessary to pick the right students for the right sessions.
Leung noted that computer programming nowadays can be very visual instead of plainly using languages.
“Whatever programming methods they use, it’s most important to train their logical thoughts," she said. “Many kids love to create and develop."
Leung said one of the development kits is Scratch, a free programming language for students, scholars, teachers, and parents to easily create games.
It can serve as a stepping stone to the more advanced world of computer programming.
On the back end, it isn’t easy to combine and compute codes from 1,000 individuals at the same time.
“Traditionally, it can cost millions of dollars to build a server for this purpose," said Alan Chan Yuk-ming, national technology officer at Microsoft Hong Kong, which provided cloud computing supports for the event.
“Microsoft Azure enables participants to develop and test applications faster, and gives them the flexibility to deploy in the cloud, which helps reduce the preparation time of the event," Chan said.
He said it is cheap and more efficient while stability can be ensured. “We offered Microsoft Azure cloud-based storage services, which saved over HK$1 million," Chan added.
Earlier this year, Microsoft kicked off a “#WeSpeakCode" scheme to encourage youths to learn computer programming.
The US-based tech giant attracted 4,800 local students from 32 primary and secondary schools to register for a hands-on experience in coding with an accumulated 6,000 coding hours.
It became the largest territory-wide coding event in Hong Kong.
Other organizations supporting the Coding Jam 1000 event included the Hong Kong Software Industry Association and Office of the Government Chief Information Officer.
Lenovo provided hardware and Hong Kong Broadband Network the internet connections at the site.

How China’s young entrepreneurs are ‘overthrowing tradition’ to revitalise business through technology

Standing under the stage lights with a confident smile, 18-year-old Zhou Bangwei tried to persuade a full-house audience that the new mobile app he designed would rejuvenate his father’s declining business.
Metersbonwe, a major home-grown fast fashion brand whose profits have shrunk in the past few years as Western brands and e-commerce platforms flooded the market, is now pinning its hopes on the mobile internet. It’s new shopping app allows users to start their own shops where they share “dress collocations” – or how people match clothes to improve their appearance – and get commission from the company if the outfits are picked and purchased by others.
Targeting young consumers born in the 1990s, the app avoids “stiff” business procedures and allows them to “create beauty, share and spread it, and make profits while benefiting others,” said the son of Wenzhou billionaire Zhou Chengjian at the company’s 20th anniversary celebration in Shanghai last week.
Many contemporaries of the junior Zhou, the so-called post-90s generation known for their tech savviness and individuality, are playing a increasingly important role in the transformation of traditional industries by utilising the internet, a strategy that Premier Li Keqiang raised in his work report last month.
Called “internet plus”, the strategy focuses on internet-powered start-ups and how new technology can be applied to traditional sectors as the world’s second biggest economy looks for an effective way to restructure itself.
“I’m combining the resources of a post-60s and the mindset of a post-90s, who has the internet gene flowing in his blood,” said Zhou Chengjian, who was forced to close some 800 stores last year in an effort to restructure the company, once one of the most popular brands among young mainlanders.
“If we don’t know how to use the internet to refresh our experience and knowledge, there will be absolutely colder winter, and if we do, then the spring is approaching,” he said.
Others may not have a billionaire father, but they are also adding renewed vigour to old industries.
Daxiang, a condom manufacturer co-founded by post-90s college classmates Liu Kenan and Zhao Chuan in Beijing just over a year ago, became popular among young internet users overnight and won investment from several venture capital firms for its novel business model.
Unlike other condoms that are typically sold in supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores, the company sells its products only online without a bricks-and-mortar distributor.
Its condoms are also designed to improve the sexual experience for women, instead of the industry’s stereotyped focus on men.
“We vowed to ‘overthrow tradition’ because we’re the youngest in this sector and have a better sense of entertainment,” said Zhao, who leads a team of fewer than 30 members who are mostly in their twenties.
Liu Yongjie, a senior student in Guangzhou’s South China University of Technology, has also seen business burgeoning at his Western-style restaurants that were started with online crowd-sourced funding.
He opened his first Bepotato restaurant near the Wushan campus with an investment of 850,000 yuan (HK$1 million) a year ago, of which 350,000 yuan was funded from Liu’s school mates via WeChat, the mainlands’ most popular social media platform.
With two other outlets opened recently and two more being fitted out, each of the restaurants has more than 160 shareholders with an aggregate investment of 1 million yuan, said Liu.
He said what also made the restaurants different was that they allowed students to participate, whether in terms of decoration, participating in offline weekly events or even waiting on tables.
“We serve for college student start-ups. Our shareholders are at the same time our most important customers,” he said, adding that three restaurants now operating have all started to make a profit.
Zhou Meihua, head of Shanghai Yingzhi Investment Consulting that advises young entrepreneurs, believes more students will launch businesses by embracing new technology, thereby changing traditional industries.
“I’m confident that the cultivation of youth’s creativity and entrepreneurship will make a group of outstanding business people in the future,” she said.
Young people today have characters that encourage entrepreneurship, she explained, adding that the growing number of organisations providing support for start-ups would also help.


正在歐遊的我過着近乎「無網」的生活,在克羅地亞的湖光山色之中,我每日上網的數據用量額度只有300MB,勉強夠我不與現實脫節,但想八卦最潮話題則無能為力了。所以現今人人炫耀剛剛到手的Apple Watch,或者分享《復仇者聯盟2》的觀後感,我都無份參與。
《復仇者聯盟2》的劇情比第一集更貼近現實,人類的威脅不是來自天神打架或外星人入侵,而是人類所創造的人工智能。鋼鐵俠Tony Stark創造了擁有自我意識、懂得自我學習的機器人奧創(Ultron),本意是用作抵抗外來威脅,但奧創掉轉槍頭攻擊人類,英雄們只有再度集結以拯救地球。
這種劇情是否有點「熟口熟面」?沒錯,綜觀電影歷史,有很多關於機器人和人工智能失控成為大反派的電影,例如《未來戰士》(The Terminator)。但《復2》亦可追溯到更遠之前的故事——被稱為世上首部「科學恐怖小說」的《科學怪人》(Frankenstein)。導演Joss Whedon談及創作Ultron的背景,不諱言這是新世代的科學怪人故事。當人們的生活愈來愈依賴科技,若我們創造的東西轉過頭來對付我們,情況可以不堪設想,難道真的要靠英雄打救?
Tesla 總裁救地球
霧霾的形成與傳統能源如煤炭的使用有關,那科技能否帶來改變?被譽為「現實版鋼鐵俠」的Tesla行政總裁馬斯克(Elon Musk),上周便在洛杉磯公布了最新產品──電池,亦即是Tesla的新能源計劃 。例如家用的Powerwall電池,可儲存太陽能再轉化的電能,即使太陽下山後仍可繼續使用,Tesla希望藉此逐步培養清潔能源的生態系統。
source from startupbeat

What Hong Kong can learn from New York’s blueprint to take on Silicon Valley

Hong Kong, like most global cities, is in a race to keep its competitive advantage as the rapid advance of technologies and the Internet put the emphasis on innovation and fostering new companies over traditional business strengths.   
The Hong Kong government has made efforts to transform the economy into a more innovation-driven one, including setting up start-up facilitators such as the government-backed Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks, while private initiatives include, a venture capital firm working as an accelerator for start-ups.
But to move to the next level, the city may want to pay heed to the plans of New York mayor Bill de Blasio, who has unveiled a series of  proposals drawing in academia and business to build New York into a rival to Silicon Valley.
Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY event on Monday, de Blasio explained how three pillars, which he identified as professional development, access and innovation, will help New York secure its place as a tech hub.
“I like to brag about the glories of my city; sometimes it’s tempting to feel a little competitive with other cities,” de Blasio said. “This year, New York City has surpassed [San Francisco’s Bay Area] in startup funding requests.”
As part of his plans, de Blasio announced funding of US$29 million to support science, technology, engineering and maths teaching in the city’s public university, City University of New York.
Another US$70 million will improve access to affordable high-speed internet, with most of the money, some US$60 million, to go on building wireless corridors to provide free or low-cost internet access to up to 50,000 low-income residents.
The initiatives follow the city’s Tech Talent Pipeline, which de Blasio launched in May 2014 with US$10 million funding to train New Yorkers to become the hires of choice for tech firms.
De Blasio said the tech ecosystem in New York provides 300,000 jobs and US$30 billion in wages each year.
The plans are similar to suggestions that Google chairman Eric Schmidt made in an interview with the South China Morning Post in late 2013, when he expressed a hope that the Hong Kong government would open more technical universities, attracting more software engineers rather than more investment bankers.
Political squabbling in Hong Kong over electoral reform could make it difficult for the government to win approval from the legislature for funding for new projects, meaning that the private sector may have to take up the running. 
One area where Hong Kong has a competitive advantage is in global finance, and recently joined Singaporean bank DBS to launch a new dedicated start-up accelerator programme to help new and small firms get into the financial technology business, a growing field that encompasses such areas as mobile payment systems, analytics and risk management.
Consulting firm Accenture has estimated that global investments in financial technology ventures tripled to US$12.2 billion last year, from US$4.05 billion in 2013. Investments in Asia-Pacific financial technology ventures have grown to US$767 million last year, from US$245 million in 2013.
source from SCMP

【好文轉載系列】Bindo ─ ─從紐約走到香港


Bindo在2011年創立,是一個雲端iPad POS系統(POS:Point of Sale),透過iPad連接收銀機,系統除提供銷售、庫存管理外,更能整合客戶關係(CRM),即結帳後,客戶的選購及銷售記錄將存進在系統內,為商舖保留紀錄,亦提供讓客戶設網購平台的服務。客戶主要為中小企,在美國有三千多間商店使用,香港亦有過百名客戶,例如陽光洗衣廠。
33歲的顏林胤(Jason)在內地出生,香港長大,中六時到美國升學及就業,有三年從事金融業的經驗。美國人拍檔Brad Lauster,在香港度假時認識Jason,二人便在2011年到美國成立Bindo,Jason說「我們知道香港的市場很小,如果在香港的話,我們應該連粥都無得食,而我對美國的市場亦較熟悉」。


Jason說當初没想過開發零售系統,是想做本地化的網購平台,但後來發現許多美國店舖的POS系統都是使用過時的技術,及差劣的介面,於是便決定開發雲端POS系統,不過當時面對潛在的投資者的冷言冷語,「得到的所有答案都是無前途(研發POS系統),勸我們不要做,但我們do it anyway,one of best decision ever made…
Bindo現時是一間有50人的企業,更在去年獲得180萬美元的種子投資,約1400萬港幣,投資方包括葡萄酒專家Gary Vaynerchuk、風險投資公司Metamorphic Ventures、East Ventures及其他私人投資者,未來將會有新一輪投資者。

Expand business aggressively

Jason對美國業務發展的成績感到滿意,但被問到回到香港發展的原因,便答「因為香港的食物都幾好味」,其實是他發現香港POS系統技術比內地及美國落後,因此容易在市場上跑出,現時美國的市場便由拍檔及同事管理。但他亦感到香港較難尋找投資者,因此他認為Startup需「Go international at early stage,要想想在香港以外有什麼市場,能有增長的策略去擴闊業務」。
除了資訊科技行業外,香港店舖租金高企,實體生意難做,因此Bindo推出「Startup Version」及「Bindo Market」,前者讓新創業人士「接受免費」享用POS系統;後者是匯集本地商店的網購平台,將會先在美國推出,之後再有香港版。
B2B的生意理應有可觀的利潤,Jason亦說Bindo「曾幾何時有Break-even過」,但現在暫時未收支平衡,他回應時展現其樂觀的態度,「做Startup不是要在早期便收支平衡,做Startup是要Expand business aggressively,收支平衡及早期的盈利能力不是我早期的目標,如果任何時候我們想去慢下來,其實可以收支平衡,但我們没有選擇慢下來…想變成香港或美國的最大Player,是首要目標,而不是收支平衡」。

source from startupbeat


silver 11may


「喵街」是一款逛街神器Apps,以用戶當前地理位置,向顧客提供周邊商場及品牌門市資訊,並提供吃喝玩樂購的一站式服務應用,包括蘋果的App Store,以及Google Play商店已經可以下載「喵街」。


source from startupbeat

Spotify’s Revenue Is Growing, but So Are Its Losses

As streaming music has spread around the world, Spotify’s financial picture has remained much the same year after year: rapid revenue growth, with steady losses.
That pattern continued in 2014, as Spotify reported $1.3 billion in revenue, up 45 percent from the previous year. At the same time, the company reported net losses of $197 million, up from a loss of about $68 million in 2013, according to documents filed in Luxembourg, where Spotify’s holding company is registered, and made public on Friday.
As an explanation for its loss, the company’s documents cited investments in “product development, international expansion and general increase in personnel.” At the end of 2014 it had 1,354 employees, up from 958 at the end of 2013.
Spotify, which is available in 58 countries, offers access to some 30 million songs with a two-tiered model: Users can listen to music with advertising free, or they can subscribe for about $10 a month and bypass advertising.
With 15 million paying users and 45 million free users at the end of 2014, Spotify is by far the most popular service of its kind. According to its latest accounts, subscriptions make up 91 percent of the company’s revenue, with the rest coming from ads.
The value of Spotify’s free tier has become a much-debated subject in the music industry. Last year Taylor Swift removed her music from the service, in an apparent dispute over its availability through Spotify’s free version.
Over the last several months, top executives at the major record companies have sharply criticized the wide availability of free music. That issue now hangs heavily over Spotify’s talks with the labels to renew its music licensing deals, music executives say.
Spotify has long countered that its free level is vital to attract new users, who can then be lured into paying for more features. Last fall, Daniel Ek, Spotify’s chief executive and one of its founders, said that the company had paid $2 billion in music royalties since the service started in 2008.
Among Spotify’s major competitors are Deezer, Rhapsody and Google Play. Apple, which last year paid $3 billion for Beats, is expected to introduce a streaming service as soon as next month.
To stand out, Spotify is said to have begun negotiations with TV networks and other partners to provide short video clips. The company has not commented on those plans. Media executives who were briefed on the plans and who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Spotify may introduce its video services at a news conference on May 20.
Spotify, which is privately held, has been the subject of regular speculation about an initial public offering or acquisition by a technology giant. Last month Spotify was said to be close to raising $400 million in investment money, at a valuation of more than $8 billion.
source from the NYT

港青年善用海外倉創業 低成本將中港商品遠銷歐美

中港產品在外地有一定的需求,但繁複的海外物流手續,長時間運輸、高運輸成本、高風險就成為海外買家與本地賣家的障礙。而兩位本港青年多年前看準機會,以低成本善用 eBay 平台的海外倉創業,除解決令人困擾的海外物流問題外,更成功建立口碑、開拓更大的潛在市場。


不少香港中小企都希望踏足海外市場,而利用 eBay 開啟電子商店更是不少青年創業者拓展海外市場的有效方式。但奈何跨境運送的運輸成本高、風險高、時間亦長,如果是 B2C 業務的話,單獨給一個顧客寄貨就更貴,故令不少中小企均止步於計劃階段。


據 eBay 日前的「海外倉使用與發展商務調查」報告指,香港賣家透過其海外倉售賣商品的銷售總額於 2014 年 Q4 己較 2012 年同期增長 64%;有 48% 的 eBay 海外倉用戶的總銷售額逾半來自海外商品銷售,更有 36% 的賣家的海外倉商品佔其業務總銷售額八成以上。
近 78% 的受訪賣家表示在業務上使用海外倉後,送貨速度有明顯提升;45% 表示有助提高產品售價;另外亦有 72% 受訪賣家表示儲存於海外倉的商品銷售率高於郵遞商品。


黃家榮 (Eric) 與黃培駿 (Vincent) 原為一電子貿易公司的職員,兩人發現公司積存的貨物每月不斷攀升,而顧客服務及跨境物流的風險就未有隨訂單的數量一同提升,故此發現當時電子貿易的問題與契機,繼而創立自己的公司,以更現代化的模式營運其跨境商務。


三年前先後於英、美設立海外倉的 Eric 與 Vincent 表示由於貨物囤積於倉庫、貨品數量供求不足、需要顧及海外運輸的時間等局限,故令以住在歐美消費旺季如聖誕等節日的出貨期於十一月中旬就結束:但海外倉則令其出貨期延伸至聖誕前一至兩天,令近年銷售額的大升至應用海外倉前的三至四倍。
「價格競爭已成過去,購物體驗與口碑為未來競爭力。」Eric 特別指出,價格為一般傳統零售業採用的主要競爭方式之一:但至網絡零售的年代,購物體驗與口碑才是未來的主要競爭力。
source from