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5 Minutes With Patrick Kosiol

16th Nov 2016 'Cilla Arnold

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5 minutes with Patrick Kosiol - Founder of S4BB limited and CEO of Swapit limited

What are the biggest technology changes you have seen in last 5 years, and how do these changes impact or inspire your business?

The shift in mobile computing has completely transformed the way we live our lives. We are a lot more mobile now and we can work on-the-go anywhere any time. I am in the mobile app business for over 11 years now and the products we sell went from USD $49 per license down to $1 or even $0. Yet, the general public expects a stellar product even when they have not paid a dime for it. That is challenging and requires businesses to re-think their way of generating revenues. Weve been able to monetize mobile applications in all ways that can be imagined. Every day we need to be more and more creative than the day before.

What do you think the biggest technology trends in the coming 5-10 years, and what challenges and opportunities these changes will bring to your business? And eventually what do you see your business in 5-10 years?

Virtual and Augmented Reality (AR/VR) will become more and more prevalent in our lives. The rise of Pokamon Go has shown that people care about what’s happening around them. It has shown what can be discovered nearby and it has shown how people can interact with things that are nearby. I believe this trend will accelerate and we will see new products and services that serve that market. At the same time, existing products and services will adapt and transform into a new way they can connect with customers nearby.

Furthermore, the general field of artificial intelligence (AI) will become more and more important. Simple applications like Apple’s Siri or what Facebook does with its Messenger Bot API, will drive more automation that is backed up by Big Data and AI-algorithms to make our lives more efficient.

How does Hong Kong government support the technology start ups? And how about the investment environment? Anything that can be done better?

The Hong Kong government has taken a considerably large amount of money ($2bln) into their hands to nurture the Hong Kong startup eco-system. Though, that is a great step forward, I am personally confused by the fact that almost half of that went into property development. Yes, fitting out existing industrial buildings for high-recisiong manufacturing is somewhat related to startups, but that does generally sound a lot like Hong Kong old school” thinking of doing business in property rather than being cutting edge innovative.

Anyhow, I do appreciate the fact that the Hong Kong government has recognized the importance of a functioning startup eco-system. I would still like to see more direct - and uncomplicated - funding opportunities for startups. Experiences I had with various funding schemes like ITF, SERAP and of sort, have been all unsuccessful thus far. So again, the appreciation for the Hong Kong government's good intentions is there. But like any other startup, we all need to get better and better every single day. 

Choosing Hong Kong as your business headquarter, what'™s the pros and cons? / Why did you choose Hong Kong as business headquarter, and how it benefit your business as location? 

Hong Kong is a great place to start a business. Government dealings, document filings are straight forward and all necessary information is available for free on the Internet. Most document filings can also be done online, which saves a lot of time and is important for founders in our new economy. Hiring staff is also more or less straight forward and the local workforce market is full with talented individuals.

To people from overseas who want to start up business in Hong Kong, or seek job in Hong Kong, what is the advice you can give?

Finding a job in Hong Kong should not be too hard. There are a lot of companies in Hong Kong and they are all looking for qualified staff. At the same time, working visa regulations are straight forward and can be easily obtained. The employer will take care of that. Foreign companies who like to move their headquarters to Hong Kong will benefit from low taxation in the territory. As a global financial hub, Hong Kong also has a very good financial network for receiving from and paying to non-Hong Kong business partners. The only challenging thing is to work with local banks in Hong Kong, which are usually very backward-thinking, extremely inefficient and to most parts just frustrating.

However, each startup has its own struggles to go through and many are similar to the ones other startups have. Our local HK startup eco-system is very well connected. In many dozens of co-working places, events are happening almost every day and it’s easy to get connected to like-minded people who probably have faced the same issues you are facing today. We at Swapit like to participate in as many events as possible to connect, collaborate, share with and give back to the eco-system that has helped us thrive in Hong Kong.

Click here to connect with Patrick on LinkedIn.