Hong Kong developers are increasingly paying attention to proptech, as the adoption of new technology to enhance customer experience, reduce pollution, save energy and boost safety takes off in the industry.
As the city’s developers move towards this goal, they got together under an initiative called PropTech Alliance of Hong Kong in late 2019 to share information, global trends and experience regarding propetch with industry members. What started off with four members has now grown to 16 and counts Great Eagle Holdings, Hongkong Land and Nan Fung Development among them.
“All the property developers in Hong Kong, most of them anyway … really have been setting up similar [innovation] teams,” said Andrew Young Meng-cheung, associate director of innovation at Sino Group and co-chair of the alliance. “We all have been looking at how innovation and technology can help us to run properties better, build better products, offer better services and provide a better environment.”
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He added that the alliance plans to launch a website in the next few weeks, which would represent the voice of developers in areas of innovation and technology.
“We will run forums, have guest speakers and panel discussions, best practice sharing sessions and liaise with stakeholders as a group with regards to innovation and technology,” Young said.
Great Eagle Holdings controls Langham Place in Mong Kok; Hongkong Land is the biggest landlord in Central; while Sino Land controls Olympian City. The trio have a combined market value of about HK$193.62 billion (US$25 billion), according to Refinitiv Eikon data. The privately-run Nan Fung counts The Quayside in Kowloon Bay and the joint-venture luxury residential development Mount Nicholson on The Peak among its properties.
As a member of PropTech Alliance, Hongkong Land said that it has been collaborating with start-ups, leading universities, international peers in Asia, US and Europe, venture capital firms and governments to accelerate the industry’s adoption of real estate related technologies.
Those who have adopted propetch were already reaping the benefits.
For example, Pokfulam Development, the developer of The Cove residential project in the Southern District, has installed an app developed by Hong Kong start-up Elevant-Garde that could help in energy savings of up to 20 per cent.
The app also helps residents of The Cove monitor the indoor temperature and lighting of flats and also allows them to check the availability of charging points for electric cars, said German Cheung, Elevant-Garde’s business development director.
The app costs around HK$30,000 for a small flat owner, he added.
Sino Land, meanwhile, has introduced AMPD Energy’s power storage system at its construction site in Yuen Long. A cleaner and environmentally friendly alternative to diesel generators, AMPD’s “Enertainer” system could help Sino Land to cut costs, while improving safety and productivity. Over 40 such units have been sold or leased in Hong Kong, including two to Sino.
Sino backed the Enertainer’s development, providing AMPD with investment support, said Brandon Ng, chief executive and co-founder of AMPD Energy.
Sino is also scouting for proptech opportunities across the world, choosing to invest in applications that have potential.
“We are just aligning ourselves with what is happening and are happy to do our part in helping Hong Kong to become an innovation hub for proptech,” said Young.
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