TECHNOLOGY IS THE KEY FOR HONG KONG BRANDS
Hong Kong is a city that can get people addicted to many things. It has the best luxuries, home to many luxury brands, exuding their grace and charm. It also has unparalleled cultural energy as suffocating crowds fight for their living in this cyberpunk city. The environment creates a mixed feeling for brands in the city - calmness and intensity, lovers and fighters, with room for both high and low-end products.
As an international city, Hong Kong used to have more confidence in traditional global brands. But recently, we see an uptick among new brands, a sign of a new emerging identity, with technology as a way to break through.
“Hong Kong consumers feel that 90% of all brands could disappear tomorrow and they simply would not care. Only 10% of them would be missed. These are generally tech brands such as Google, Netflix and WhatsApp," said Rick Lam, managing director of Havas Hong Kong.
HKTVmall is one of the best performing local brands in the city this year. Not only because of the influence of the pandemic, but also its adaptation to an "everything online" lifestyle. Digitisation is now vital to all brands here in Hong Kong. While COVID-19 continues to threaten people's health, easy online access has become the thing that keeps brands alive and digital marketing is now the critical medium for offering promotions and boosting brand sales.
Hong Kong's COVID-19 patient number has been increasing since the beginning of July. The 'second wave' situation has been a catalyst for contactless payments with more stores accepting e-wallet or e-payment transactions.
"In the next few years, the growth of digital payments is likely to be one of the next big disruptions in Hong Kong," Lam said. "Brands like Apple Pay, Alipay and even innovative finance solutions from established players such as HSBC and DBS are becoming more and more important in people’s daily lives and can offer individually tailored personal benefits that make a difference to people’s lives."
Another thing that catches people's attention is the rise of the local brands in Hong Kong. And technology also plays an important role in it.
Octopus, Hong Kong's omnipresent contactless stored value smart card, has made itself more convenient for consumers by adding Apple Pay options. Users can top up easily via Apple's e-wallet. It might be a small update on the technology, but yet another sign of a local brand aiming to keep up with the pace of change.
"I see some major local brands working quite well on leveraging their heritage and commitment to Hong Kong to build a strong emotional connection with local consumers," Lam said. "They go beyond product and transaction, they explore ways to tangibly improve people’s lives and the role they play in society."