First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Benny Liu: Well
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined HK Decoman Technology
Benny Liu: Having worked in online advertising, I have always wondered if I should create something that belongs to myself instead of others. I kept thinking what’s worth doing, until the day I personally experienced the enormous opportunity for online renovation industry. So I took a step back from the online advertising business I co-founded and established HK Decoman Technology Limited in 2015 — a one-stop information and service platform dedicated to renovation.
How does HK Decoman Technology innovate?
Benny Liu: I understand the gap between the “Post-80s” or “Post-90s” homeowners and the traditional renovation industry. As the world is going online, the new generation of homeowners now expect greater transparency in renovation, which makes it almost “mandatory” for traditional players to move their business online. My goal was to create a “renovation ecosystem” that offers space for industry stakeholders and the traditionally closed-off renovation industry to interact. With O2O as the main axis, HK Decoman provides online matching of home renovation services in a convenient, highly transparent and automated manner, allowing renovation companies, brands and landlords to forge better relationships.
To develop this ecosystem further, we thought hard on how best to improve services for the renovation trade and homeowners. Between 2016 and 2018, we kept introducing unprecedented activities and services for the industry. For instance, we launched “HKDecoMall”, a 24-hour online mall selling renovation tools and materials, as the main bridge of communication between suppliers and homeowners. ;we also created Hong Kong’s first “Renovation Challenge” event that strengthens industry relationships and image; opened “Deco Academy” which connects us to landlords and clarifies industry standards; and introduced “Renovation Charter” which fosters cooperation between homeowners and renovation companies and reduces complaints.
HK Decoman runs three main business units to fuel positive development for the industry. A landlord can experience different levels of renovation experience through HK Decoman, be it renovations for the entire house, home repairs or even small DIY projects. We provide services in different areas, including project matching, material sales, decoration education and information provision, which connects and synergize among homeowners, brands and industry, creating a chain where 1 (matching) + 1 (mall) + 1 (academy) is greater than 3, forming a grand ecosystem.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Benny Liu: The relationship between building maintenance and public safety can never be underestimated, especially at a time of severe public health crisis. Sporadic clusters of confirmed COVID-19 cases in public housing buildings have once again caused confusion and fear for residents. Cyberport alumnus, HK Decoman, made good use of their online renovation portal, to quickly put together skilled technicians to get a significant number of housing units inspected for possible faulty sewage systems, granting residents solid peace of mind.
Building inspections and renovation-related works arranged at fingertips
A suspected leak in a public estate building’s ventilation pipe was found to be responsible for the spread of coronavirus, causing multiple infections in that building. There have been worries that the specific design of the sewage system commonly found in public housing estates could be a source of health concern.
In order to ease the public’s apprehension, HK Decoman made the best of its online portal, www.hkdecoman.com , to reach out to and assemble a network of qualified renovation professionals in a short period of time, offering free inspection, basic repairing and disinfection services to numerous public housing estates located across the city.
Meanwhile, in view of the importance of delivering expertly reviewed information, the company has taken effort to upload onto its platform a host of practical and informative videos and articles.
The portal has become increasingly popular with ever-expanding services. The online store, https://mall.hkdecoman.com/ , is fast becoming the “go-to” online store for electronic DIY tools and a wide range of building materials.
Inspected 4,800 units of the Y2-type buildings across 16 housing estates to identify faulty sewage systems.
Regularly shares practical building maintenance and self-inspection tips online.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and HK Decoman Technology in the future ?
Benny Liu: Thanks to the cooperation and support of our partners, HK Decoman is now a leader in Hong Kong’s online renovation services. The time is ripe for us to venture out of Hong Kong and tap into the Southeast Asian market. The blueprint I have in mind is to bring HK Decoman’s ecosystem to SE Asia countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, and after we have big enough footing in these places, we will enter the mainland Chinese market.
This ambitious goal requires careful planning and execution. We have started to introduce our ecosystem overseas by acquiring local companies and actively participating in Southeast Asian exchange programmes such as Singapore’s e27 Echelon Asia Summit and Thailand’s CEBIT ASEAN Thailand 2019. We have also forged closer ties with other industry players in Singapore and Taiwan to promote our ecosystem model.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
As the market leader in HK, our traffic size per month is 10 times more than the first runner up so we don’t really think there is a competitor for us in HK indeed. For APAC market, https://www.livspace.com is one is the company we are paying attention to right now.