Startup Weekend Winner Andrew Chan on Entrepreneurship in Hong Kong

Andrew, please introduce yourself…

My name is Andrew, Co-Founder of AfterShip. AfterShip is a shipment tracking platform for online retailers. I overlook UX/ UI design and customer experience at AfterShip. AfterShip team is based in Hong Kong and started since Nov 2011.

How did you get the idea of starting AfterShip and what was it like launching at Startup weekend?

AfterShip is designed to automate the shipment tracking process, and minimize customer inquiries for online retailers.

AfterShip was an idea from Teddy, who has been running an online store for 8 years. Teddy and I met at Startup Weekend Hong Kong back in Nov 2011 which we became the HK winner and also the Global Startup Battle Winner.

Winning Startup Weekend not only brought us free marketing, but most importantly shows that there is a need of the business in the market – and that’s why we decided to continue working on the idea after Startup Weekend.

Would you recommend Startup Weekend to fellow entrepreneurs? If so, any advice you can share?

Definitely recommend anyone who like to join a startup or build a startup to participate Startup Weekend.
For those who had no idea about startups, Startup Weekend is a great start point.

If you’re pitching an idea, pick a problem that is related to yourself instead of solving a problem you’re not familiar with.

How do you see the startup ecosystem developing in Hong Kong?

It is definitely growing with more incubation programs, co-working spaces and startups. The HK startup community is very supportive.

What are the challenges of running a startup in Hong Kong?

Hiring talents – most university students will choose to work in a big corporate instead of a startup, which usually pays lower salary and less glamorous office. But i believe this will change once we have more successful startups in Hong Kong.

What advice can you share with entrepreneurs looking to venture into HK to start a startup/business?

Check out the Cyberport CCMF and incubation program, which offer financial support or even office space.
Startups should note the cultural difference among Hong Kong, China and individual Asian cities.

What is the best way to become a part of the startup community in Hong Kong?

Sign up to this newsletter.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of running a startup in HK vs. the US and other countries in the region?

Strength: Setting up a company is relatively easy in Hong Kong. The location allows you get a taste of Asia and China.

Weakness: Some startups think they can enter the China market by tapping into the HK market – most of the case this does not work.

Why doesn’t it normally work? Any examples or common pitfalls?

For example, people cannot access Facebook or Twitter in China, so you cannot simply apply the same social marketing strategy you use in US or Hong Kong.

Any plans to expand AfterShip into China? Or would you choose another country in the region before hand?

We definitely eye on the China market but we target the western market at the moment. We prefer to have a Chinese partner or strong investor from China before entering into China – I think this is how the game plays if the startup is not from China.

Are the government getting involved with the startup/investment ecosystem in HK?

HK government backed Cyberport provides financial supports, investor connection, and office space to startups. And Productivity Council offers HK$150K subsidy on patent application.

Apart from a shipping focused startup, what business opportunities do you see emerging in HK right now?

If i run a startup just purely focus on the HK market, it could be a finance or property related service.

What’s next for AfterShip?

We are working on our mobile app and website revamp.

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