The development of PropTech has been catching a lot of attention. Sino Group founded Sino Inno Lab three years ago to actively promote the development of Hong Kong’s innovation and technology (I.T.), foster the application of PropTech, and nurture high-potential start-ups. Some innovative technology solutions generated there are adopted by the Group’s properties, which shows the remarkable results the lab has produced.
Andrew Young, Associate Director (Innovation) of Sino Group, has worked in the I.T. sector for many years. Having been a main driver and curator of the Group’s innotech development, he is a walking encyclopedia of Hong Kong’s development in innovation and technology.
Innotech application is the new normal
Young reckoned that the application of I.T. is now the new normal, and all sectors must accept this as a fact. While the property sector is not applying as much I.T. as the financial and the retail sectors, Young stressed that, “If you don’t make a change, you will be changed by others.” Traditional industries are injecting I.T. elements, but this cannot be materialized overnight. Sino Group is willing to take an extra step to actively promote innotech development, as well as the application of PropTech in Hong Kong.
As recalled by Young, Sino Inno Lab was founded by Sino Group in 2018. It has a goal to provide a sandbox platform for local and foreign start-ups and innotech talents, through which innovation can transform into tangible products. Participants can validate their research outcomes and innovative inventions, and then keep the improvement and optimization cycle going. PropTech solutions can then be created to meet market needs.
An industrial ecosystem built for PropTech
Since its inception, Sino Inno Lab has received more than 7,900 visitors, as well as collaborated with some 50 international business partners and developers. Over 100 technologies and solutions have been showcased. Among them, more than 60 solutions are being implemented.
“The path to innovation, which integrates industries, technology and research, is not an easy one. It is even more difficult for young innovators who lack the needed experience.” Young shared the story of the local start-up AMPD, which received investment support from the platform. Ampd develops new battery systems for use in work sites and other project environments to reduce the costs for diesel-generated power and noise pollution. Its products are already used by many property developers.
The pandemic has brought about many opportunities for start-ups. Young pointed out that hurdles and setback are unavoidable for start-ups. Through the platform of Sino Inno Lab, massive data regarding industrial partners and users’ feedback have been collected. The data can inform start-uppers with clearer development directions. Start-ups can also learn what is really needed by users and translate this market intelligence into targeted improvements for their products.
Innovating corporate cultures
Young believed that a corporate culture that inspires change and innovation would add much value to a company’s products and services. “We launched a scheme called Sinovation in 2019 to encourage our staff to transform their creativity into feasible solutions.”
Different industries and different companies have their own cultures and their unique innotech development models. Young hopes that different sectors could explore new directions through exchanges, learning and cooperation, and then join hands to embrace this wave for technological reform.