Lai See

Hong Kong crowd funding site looking for momentum

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 March, 2014, 1:17am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 March, 2014, 1:17am

We caught up with again recently - one of a handful of crowd funding sites in Hong Kong. We initially wrote about it shortly before its launch at the beginning of December last year. Crowd funding involves using the internet to raise funds by getting relatively small amounts of money from a large number of people. It's increasing rapidly in the US and Europe, but its growth in Hong Kong has been sluggish.

Just over three months after opened for business, co-founder Mathias Krosewitz says progress has been slower and harder than he initially anticipated. But his site has three funding campaigns up and running at present. Two are rewards campaigns where people who donate get various forms of discounts for the product.

ERI produces a cool sports tracking wristband. It has raised funds from other crowd funding sites and is looking for US$10,000, and has so far raised 2 per cent. The Chinese Timekeeper designs and produces elegant watches. It is looking for US$30,000, and has so far raised 66 per cent and has 16 days of its campaign left.

Appedu (Apprendre Education Ltd) is an equity campaign looking for shareholders. Under Hong Kong regulations only professional investors can participate in campaigns to raise equity funding. This means they should have at least US$1 million for investment purposes.

Appedu was founded by a group of University of Hong Kong graduates and describes itself as an e-learning platform to link up teachers and students in conducting online classes, sharing teaching materials and building a question and answer database. It's a platform for finding tutors for specific subjects and exams, and they are rated by the students. It's an online classroom and a market place for teachers. Appedu wants to raise US$1.5 million and has raised 10 per cent.

"Marketing is key," says Krosewitz. "Some people seem to think that they just need to publish their ideas and the project takes off. We are not Kickstarter with thousands of daily clicks," he said, referring to the highly successful US crowd funding site that says it has launched 57,600 projects and has raised over US$1 billion since it started in 2009. gets between 400 and 1,500 unique visitors daily, with average of 2.5 page views. "Its hard work, but we're making progress," he says.


What about illegal parking?

We see that the police have just concluded a territory-wide campaign to remind drivers of public service vehicles and goods vehicles of the importance of safe driving. The result of this exercise was the issuing of 17 verbal warnings, 156 summonses, 2,930 fixed penalty tickets and the arrest of one driver for drink-driving offences.

Among the 3,086 summonses and fixed-penalty tickets issued, 771 were issued for speeding, 339 for mobile phone offences, 158 for seatbelt offences, and 109 for failing to comply with traffic light signals. It a pity that such energy never seems to be directed at illegal parking that is clogging Central and Tsim Sha Tsui.


The post-bonus move

There are openings in Hong Kong and on the mainland for bankers looking for a post-bonus change of work environment. According to the website efinancialcareers, the growth of foreign banks on the mainland has been hampered by a lack of relationship managers - those who can network with local clients within the culture of an international firm.

Unable to poach from rivals, banks are hiring from insurance firms and the Big Four accounting firms. There are also openings for juniors in debt capital markets in Hong Kong, the website says.

"There's now a talent shortage at analyst and associate levels because the graduate intake into DCM since the financial crisis has been low in comparison with other areas of investment banking," says John Mullally, associate director, financial services, at recruiters Robert Walters in Hong Kong.



Financier George Soros remains pessimistic about Europe. He told Bloomberg TV: "Japan is just trying to break out of 25 years of stagnation, where Europe is just entering. The European Union is not a nation. It's an incomplete association of nations and it may not survive 25 years of stagnation."


Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to [email protected]