Cre­ativ­ity — Hong Kong must con­tinue what it can do best

China Daily (Canada) - - HONG KONG -

The story of a young New York cou­ple start­ing a thriv­ing busi­ness mak­ing nofrills but stylish and func­tion leather hand­bags should serve to in­spire the many Hong Kong en­trepreneurs look­ing for ideas for their star­tups.

There’s re­ally noth­ing in­no­va­tive in what 28-yearold Jen­nifer Chong and her boyfriend Ro­man Khan are do­ing to make their busi­ness a suc­cess with sales hit­ting $1 mil­lion in the first 14 months. In fact, they’re buck­ing the fash­ion trend by bring­ing back to the mar­ket the ba­sic style that the ma­jor play­ers have long aban­doned for some­thing more fancy and eye-catch­ing.

Not too long ago, bud­ding pro­fes­sion­als used to crave for the clas­sic Coach leather brief­cases and hand­bags that were durable, func­tional and ut­terly pro­fes­sional look­ing. They were also ex­pen­sive and weren’t widely avail­able in Hong Kong.

Chong, an eco­nom­ics grad­u­ate at Dart­mouth, needed a stylish, func­tional leather brief­case for her work at a busi­ness con­sul­tant firm, ac­cord­ing to a CNN story. Fail­ing to find one that met her needs, she de­signed one for her­self. Pleased with her own de­sign, Chong and Khan quit their jobs to start the busi­ness through crowd­fund­ing to make and sell bags to like-minded con­sumers on­line.

In Hong Kong, it ap­pears that too much em­pha­sis is placed on tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion in the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to rein­vig­o­rate en­trepreneur­ship among young grad­u­ates. This can have the ef­fect of dis­cour­ag­ing them from launch­ing their busi­nesses.

Hong Kong is not lack­ing in in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity, as many crit­ics have said. Rather, it lacks the sup­port­ing in­dus­tries with the tech­no­log­i­cal knowhow to ac­tu­ally pro­duce the prod­ucts that are cost ef­fec­tive for mar­ket­ing.

For that rea­son, it may make more sense to fo­cus our ef­forts on what Hong Kong can do best rather than try­ing to play catch up with South Korea or Sin­ga­pore. Hong Kong was once the re­gion’s fash­ion de­sign cap­i­tal be­fore the whole­sale ex­o­dus of in­dus­tries to the Pearl River Delta re­gion in the 1980s. There’s still a large pool of fash­ion de­sign tal­ents in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Trade De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil used to play a key role in pro­mot­ing the city as a fash­ion de­sign cen­ter. Hong Kong ex­pects it to step out of the shadow of its for­mer self.

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