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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Hong Kong
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Here’s a Facebook-like neighborhood social network just for Hong Kong

Do you want to make sure that the person you are sharing the lift with is a neighbor and not a stranger?

We live in a fast-paced society where most people have limited spare time so they appreciate convenience and practical support. It may be more convenient to ask local neighbours for help than to ask friends who live far away. It is even more practical to maximize the resources around the neighbourhood than to seek products all over town.

Aiming to build quality technology platforms that provide value-added services in the community, Matthew Tam and Antony Wong founded Linkingsource Limited. Linkingsource has came up with two products, Myflat.hk and Closeby, to represent a new frontier in connecting people, focusing on one’s physical proximity, and in particular the
 people in their neighbourhood and community.

Myflat.hk, bills itself as the Hong Kong’s neighbourhood social network. It is a commercial platform designed to connect residents with their real neighbours. By providing them with a convenient channel to communicate, they can support each other within their communities and strengthen the culture of local help and sharing.

Closeby meanwhile expands upon the Myflat.hk platform to connect residents with their local merchants through rich content delivered via an innovative, dynamic advertising channel.

In an interview with Matthew Tam, Linkingsource co-founder, he shared that they started the business because they wanted to do something that was different and that added value to the community. They both call Hong Kong their home, but there are two problems that they are trying to address which they think can also be applicable to other similar urban cities.

First, there is currently no way for residents to connect easily with other neighbours, said Matthew. “People often find it difficult to engage in conversations with someone else in a lift or in the lobby. He/She may not know if the other person really lives there or if they’re visiting someone. With Myflat.hk, however, they verify the identities and addresses of users so people can be assured of connecting with your real neighbours once they log on.”

Secondly, Matthew said that merchants do not have an effective, affordable channel to reach local customers. “Online advertising can be expensive and too wide in its reach, while physical flyers are ineffective, costly and not eco-friendly. Using the Myflat.hk platform, Closeby offers a targeted, dynamic advertising channel for merchants to connect easily and effectively with their local customers. Merchants can expand or minimise their reach as desired.”

Linkingsource has been funded to date by the co-founders and by individual investors who are made up of family and friends. Matthew said that they have funding that is in the HK$ 7-digit range to date. But they are now seeking an angel funding to help with staff hires for both technology and marketing support.

Matthew added that after Myflat.hk’s neighbourhood social network launched its public beta in December 2013 and has been steadily growing its user base, the Closeby apps for iOS and Android will be launched in September 2014.

The founders

The two co-founders met when they worked together at a global investment bank in Hong Kong. They both have years of experience working as managers on large-scale projects that required strong teamwork and collaborations with technology teams.

Matthew Tam was born and raised in Switzerland but his family roots are in Hong Kong. After obtaining an engineering master’s degree in Industrial Management and Manufacturing, he worked in banking in Switzerland and Hong Kong.

Antony Wong was born and raised in Hong Kong, observing business lessons from his father’s cloth dyeing company from an early age. Antony obtained his business degree from York University in Canada before returning to Hong Kong to work in banking.

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COMPANY PROFILE

Name of the company: Linkingsource Limited
Founders: Matthew Tam and Antony Wong
Website: www.myflat.hk
Total funding at hand: Undisclosed
Major Investors: N/A
Target Funding: HK$10m+
Source of funding: Individual investors comprised of family and friends
Start of operation: April 2012 

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