FROM SMALL TO GREAT
“Hardware/software startups will find Hong Kong a unique place as it has the backyard of Shenzhen and even the Greater Pearl River Delta as a manufacturing base, and the interface with excellent law and financial systems.”
Jason Chiu, Chief Executive Officer, Cherrypicks
Cherrypicks, a local mobile app and online-to-offline (O2O) solutions startup, is a success story featuring a Hong Kong-born IT entrepreneur. The company’s solution business arm was acquired by NetDragon, the Mainland Chinese mobile gaming giant, for US$30.5 million in June 2014. The merger with Cherrypicks helps diversify NetDragon’s mobile gaming business into enterprise solution and eLearning, strengthens its overseas business in Hong Kong and springboards the Mainland gamer into the global market.
“We wanted to start a new model and last year, we found NetDragon and ourselves sharing a common vision and interest. The merger has accelerated our plans to go global and enter the Mainland market. Now we stand on the shoulders of the giant and we have a new blue ocean of products in eLearning that will be jointly developed,” Jason Chiu, Chief Executive Officer, Cherrypicks, said.
Ben Yam, CFO, NetDragon Websoft Inc, added, “We see a very talented team in Cherrypicks delivering the best user experience. Combining our expertise in gamification, this is a very good match with our vision to develop a mobile education platform for the global market.”
Established in 2000, Cherrypicks started to develop mobile apps and technologies for numerous big enterprises in Hong Kong such as Unilever, LVHM, the MTR Corporation, TVB, HSBC, etc. Watching it grow from a small startup to a 200-strong enterprise, Chiu has also witnessed the rapid changes in Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem.
“There are more opportunities and challenges now. In the past, the typical challenges were that nobody understood and supported the startup ecosystem – lack of investors, lack of people who would take risks or share risks with entrepreneurs, customers not willing to buy unproven products, and Hong Kong being a small market. But all these are changing rapidly,” he said
“In the past few years, there are more angel investors, more startups becoming successful, entrepreneurs graduating, moving to other places or even returning to Hong Kong. I think these are all good signs,” he added.
Chiu encourages overseas startups to come to Hong Kong if they have a global vision. “Hardware/software startups will find Hong Kong a unique place as it is a fast, early adopter market with the backyard of Shenzhen and the Greater Pearl River Delta as the world’s largest OEM manufacturing base, and the interface with excellent law and financial systems,” he concluded.