Why Hong Kong's logistics model is about to explode

By Julien Rio

Hong Kong is a symbol of technology. Always ahead of other cities, Hongkies are famous for being earlier adopters that couldn't stop staring at their phones.

The city also has its very own Silicon Valley: from the Science Park to the Cyber Port, Hong Kong startups develop tomorrow's future with today's technologies.

But there is another side of Hong Kong, particularly appreciated by tourists.

Even today, Hong Kong remains a traditional Chinese city where you can see elderlies pushing heavy carts of rubbish to redeem a few dollars. A short drive from the high tech Central to the oldie Sham Shui Po shows you the two faces of this unique city.

In these more traditional districts Hong Kong looks like an aging society that refuses technology and shows much reluctance to evolution and progress.

This paradox is at the very heart of Hong Kong's culture and will soon lead to a major technology boom.

The evolution paradox applied to logistics
Traditional logistics companies, survivors of another age, still work the way they did 50 years ago.

Call centers flourish around the city and keep having a very strong customers' base. People call them to get vans to make their deliveries.

The process is usually slow, the price fluctuates, it requires a lot of resources from both sides and couldn't be scaled. You would think this old-school method is doomed: not quite yet.

On the other side of the evolution's ladder you have companies that bring technology into the equation. Using mobile apps, some Hong Kong-based companies now revolutionise the way Asia handles logistics by providing a complete intra-city delivery solution within your phone.

Through these apps people are invited to book a van: the use of mobile technology makes the service available 24/7, cheaper, more reliable, and more accessible to all.

Yet, many shops and consumers still prefer to rely on the traditional systems regardless the obvious advantages technology might bring.

The explosion is near
If older generations aren't too keen using techs, the new ones live by them.

A year from now, at most, when these new tech-savvy youngsters arrive massively on the job market replacing traditional methods with new-age systems, there will be not much business left for those reluctant to evolution.

The leader of mobile logistics in Asia recently received USD$10million of investment after expanding in 6 cities across Asia within a year from its launch.

These new techs are growing extremely fast and willing to change the way people approach logistics.

App-based solutions are now spreading and traditional systems will not survive if they do not start stepping up their game.

A real change in the way Hong Kong handles logistics is about to happen and not all will make it through.

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