From Toronto to Hong Kong

Why I Chose to Stay

By Duncan Hui | A couple of years ago, I planned a vacation to Hong Kong after being away from my hometown for nearly two decades following my family’s move to Canada when I was very young. Despite being born in Hong Kong, it was a very foreign place to me. At first, I found it quite difficult to fit in with the local crowd especially given the language barrier, and differences in social etiquette.

It’s not surprising that Chinese isn’t really my first language after being gone for so long, not to mention my unfamiliarity with the differences in social norms between Canada and Hong Kong. I remember holding the door open for some strangers in Hong Kong that earned me some weird looks, but the same action in Canada would have been widely accepted.

There I was, confused in this unfamiliar city and challenging myself: “Was this three-month vacation really worth my time and, more importantly, what opportunities are ahead for me in this city?”

Fell For HK’s Charm 

It is funny where life takes you. What was originally a vacation destination is now a place I can call ‘home’. Hong Kong is notorious for its expensive accommodation, pollution and being overcrowded. But despite these deterrents, the city has its charms.

When you overlook these minute details, you begin to notice a city filled with opportunities and talent. Particularly what fascinated me was the thriving startup ecosystem and the city’s strong support towards the startup community. According to an InvestHK survey in 2016, there were nearly 2,000 startups in Hong Kong, involving over 5,600 workstations compared to only around 1,500 startups in 2015, which was a 24% increase in one year.

Recently, the HKSAR government launched a HK$2 billion fund to invest in local innovation and tech startups to create a more vibrant ecosystem. Without a doubt, this is an indication of the positive prospects for startups that are revolutionizing this technology-enabled world we live in.

A Millennial At A Startup

Dipping my feet into the startup scene was quite a bold move for me, and I am proud to say I do not regret it one bit. As one of the Founding Members of Pakpobox for the last year and a half, I now have an understanding of the city’s startup culture. Immediately upon joining Pakpobox, I was provided with a platform that enabled me to develop my skills. I was empowered to make decisions that directly affected the direction of the company, and I was encouraged to take affordable risks.

Experiences are gained through continuous failures and mistakes, and this is exactly how I learned. In this short amount of time, I have built meaningful relationships and gained valuable experiences – such as the opportunity to manage international projects, network with investors and businesses partners, and fundraising, to name a few.

I’m fortunate enough to be part of the Pakpobox family, where I am able to work with bright and like-minded individuals. Work is challenging in an extremely fast-paced environment with limited resources especially needing to ensure all projects are delivered on time. From the outside this may seem like a very stressful setting, but it fuels me to work even harder. I would never have become as seasoned as I am today without the many different projects or the support of the great people around me.

Looking back, whenever I’m asked whether coming to Hong Kong was the right choice for me, the answer is obvious and I would like to share three takeaways with everyone who is struggling to make a new move.

Have An Open Mind And Be Versatile 

The startup world is ever-changing and every ounce of adaptability is needed in order to survive, and most importantly, enjoy what you do. So keep an open mind and be versatile so that you are better prepared to tackle anything that comes your way.

Take Risks In Your Decisions 

You never know what lies ahead. Taking risks might involve making mistakes, but at the end of it, you will come out of it a more seasoned and experienced person ready to make a positive dent in the universe.

Build Your Network 

Building a well-established network where you are able to assist one another mutually is important. So go ahead and meet more people, because there are just too many things to do all on your own.


About The Author
Duncan Hui graduated from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Canada, specializing in Marketing and Strategic Management. Prior to joining Pakpobox as a Founding Member in 2016, he worked for multinational consumer products companies in Canada. Duncan oversees the international expansion at Pakpobox, a last-mile smart locker solution platform with a network covering Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Macau, Maldives, and Myanmar.