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Hong Kong start-up’s co-founder shares tips on building successful international businesses

10 Oct, 2017
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Mr. Phil Yuen, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Tink Labs, shared his experimental entrepreneurial journey with HKBU students, inspiring them with his bold and insightful experience. The seminar was conducted on 10 October to kick off the Entrepreneurial Seminar Series (ESS) for the year, attracting over 200 participants.

“Made in Fortress Hill”, as in Phil’s own words, Tink Labs is best known for its flagship product – “handy”, an in-room smart phone installed in hotel rooms, equipped with comprehensive information for tourists – from restaurant recommendations, tourist spot introductions to traffic details. “Interestingly, the works we are doing are not only creating value for ourselves, but also hotels and visitors.” Not only does handy allow tourists to have a knowledgeable local ‘tour guide’, it also enables hotels to build complete profiles of its guests for customising future promotions and attractions. This has revolutionised the tourism and hospitality industry.

Launched in 2012, handy has gained its global presence now in 450,000 hotel rooms in more than 70 cities around the world. Though the business was not started off like what it is now, Phil emphasised the importance of pivots.

“It’s not going to be what you first started with. You have to recognise when is the point where you want to take it to the next level, and then be willing to accept the fact that you may have to pivot or tackle the problem from a different way.”

Once an engineer at Microsoft, Phil discovered his entrepreneurial spirit after spending 2.5 years at the giant corporation, and wanted to make impact on people’s lives. Right after he left the giant, he founded TextPayMe, the mobile payment system which was almost an instant hit among US users, and eventually acquired and became Amazon Payments. “We were a bunch of naïve engineers. We had a problem and we just went in to solve it, at a speed that we wanted.”

Talking about entrepreneurship, the founder advises students to look at the opportunities, focus on the problem they want to solve and how to make some impact. “It’s about constant problem-solving, looking at the problem from different angles and finding the solutions.”

Organised by HKBU School of Business’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre (EIC), ESS invites successful entrepreneurs and scholars in this field from around the world to speak and inspire students and other audiences on HKBU campus.
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