“Almost everyone in the city owns a smartphone and this digital environment is particularly important for technology startups like us.”

Martin Kessler, Founder & Managing Director Phonejoy Solutions Ltd 

Hong Kong’s advanced ICT infrastructure is important for technology startups like Phonejoy

Phonejoy Solutions started operations in 2013 and has obtained funding from Kickstarter and seed funds from private investors in Hong Kong. Its product called Phonejoy PLAY turns smartphones into portable game consoles. It does that with a patented sliding mechanism that allows attachment of any smartphone into the controller’s centre.The product was first announced in Las Vegas in January 2013 and will soon be launched in major retail and online stores throughout the US, Europe and Asia.

“We started first in Hong Kong because it is very easy to set up a business here. The legal system is based on common law, the taxation system is simple and straightforward and all business documentation is in English. Logistics is excellent and shipping costs to anywhere around the world are low. I come from Germany and we have team members from Europe and the US — we all find it very easy to integrate into the local environment,” Martin Kessler, Founder and Managing Director, Phonejoy Solutions Ltd, said.

The company currently employs six staff who work on concept development, design, prototyping, software development, advertising, sales and marketing. Product manufacturing is in Shenzhen which is just across the border from Hong Kong, andanother reason why Kessler chose the city. “You can go to Mainland China very easily while at the same time enjoythe lifestyle in Hong Kong,” he added.

Kessler loves electronic games and first conceived the idea for Phonejoy when he was living in Guangzhou two years ago. He found it much easier and comfortable to play games with a controller instead of touch screen but could not find such a product in the market. He asked himself, “Why not make one myself?”

Turning an idea into a product was not entirely smooth sailing  though. A number of prototypes had to be made, each one better than the last but this took time and money. Going from prototype to mass production was another challenge. But Kessler encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to just get started.
“You should not worry too much about the first idea you have, whether it’s perfect or not. What really matters is to put together a good team who share a common vision,” he said.

Cyberport Incubation Programme

InvestHK’s Creative Industries team reached out to Kessler at an event and introduced him to the Cyberport incubation programme. “This is a very important step for us. The office space is almost rent-free for two years and we’ve received support for marketing and promotion which reimbursed half of
our costs of participation in two game shows in San Francisco and Silicon Valley,” he said.

With the product launching soon, Kessler will gauge the response from different markets and adjust his strategies accordingly. The next steps are to work out a Mainland China strategy and develop partnerships with key players in the market.

Having moved to Hong Kong almost two years ago, Kessler finds it a great place to work and to live. “Hong Kong has a very convenient public transport system — one can even take a helicopter to Macau. There are convenience stores everywhere, most are open 24 hours a day. The ICT infrastructure is excellent, with a high broadband penetration rate and fast internet speed. Almost everyone in the city owns a smartphone and this digital environment is particularly important for technology startups like us,” he concluded.

Fast Facts: Phonejoy Solutions Ltd

  • Started operations in 2013
  • Six staff in Hong Kong