Hong Kong entrepreneur Ricky Wong plans HK$100m ad campaign boost for online shopping venture

HKTV boss has still to break even with business but says number of customers has doubled in the past two months

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 January, 2016, 7:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 11 January, 2016, 7:04pm

Ricky Wong Wai-kay has ambitious plans to boost his online shopping venture with a HK$100 million ad campaign and staff expansion despite a grim economic outlook and still being a long way from breaking even.

The HKTV boss said that a year after the official launch of his online shopping mall, it had recorded an average of 700,000 to 800,000 unique visitors per month and the number of customers had doubled in the last two months to tens of thousands.

He said each customer placed orders ranging between HK$400 and HK$1,000.

“We will broaden the range of goods available. We will soon offer fresh seafood, chicken and vegetables among some 99,000 items available in our online store.”

Wong said the company had set aside a HK$80 million to HK$100 million advertising budget for e-commerce in the coming year.

READ MORE: HKTV and boss Ricky Wong win HK$1.3m libel payout from ATV and ex-director James Shing

He also planned to expand the logistics team from around 300 to 800 or 1,000.

“The cost will still be much lower than operating a physical shop,” he said. “High rent is killing Hong Kong’s retail sector.”

Wong cited a recent report from CBRE Research, which named Hong Kong as the world’s most expensive retail market.

According to the report, rent for retail spaces in Hong Kong had reached US$4,334 per sq ft per year – 3.3 times more than in Paris, ranked at No 3, and 3.6 times more than in London.

He said some Hong Kong retailers spent nearly 50 per cent of turnover on rent.

“Tourists who come to Hong Kong won’t shop here. They would rather shop in London or Paris,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘Backward’ Hong Kong could lose its shopping paradise status, says HKTV’s Ricky Wong

But he admitted there was still a long way to go before breaking even.

Wong initially intended to develop a TV business that operated alongside his e-commerce venture with HKTV. But HKTV did not get a free TV licence from the government and his internet TV business did not take off due to lack of advertising.

But he has not given up his TV dreams completely. He said he was still negotiating with the government on mobile TV development, and a multimedia centre under construction in Tseung Kwan O was expected to be completed by the end of this year.

However, Wong has no concrete plans to revive any TV productions.