By Hendrik Kuhl

Just like big corporations, startups face the challenge of how to become/ stay relevant in a rapidly changing market with constantly rising customer expectations. In addition to that they also need to fight cost effective ways to make big waves for their business. TheHong Kong SCMP Game Changers Forum provided some of the city’s leading entrepreneurs, as well as Lenovo (representing ‘big corporate’) an opportunity to share their thoughts on this topic:

Credibility vs Purpose
In a world of information proliferation, corporate players and startups alike, struggle for exposure and influence. Everyone wants to be the talk of the town, but different companies apply very different strategies to get there.

When interviewed at the SCMP Game Changers Forum in Hong Kong, one of the first things Ivan Cheung, General Manager of Lenovo Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea did was to refer to the company’s acquisition of IBM’s PC division some ten years ago. Remarkably, even after all those years that acquisition is still a memorable talking point The scale of the deal and the impact it had both on Lenovo, as well as on the high tech industry set a still unique precedent: overnight a Chinese brand has risen to the top, has bought in global exposure, heritage, and most importantly credibility.  

In contrast, startups fight an uphill battle. They struggle to get funding, struggle to hire (and retain) the right people and they struggle to be more than just a blip on the radar. They don’t have the same resources that corporate players have and rely on the merit of their ideas to put them on the map.

Also at the forum, Douglas Young, the charismatic Co-Founder of the Hong Kong lifestyle brand Goods Of Desire  put it perfectly saying: “I am not a business person, I am a designer. My vision is to make Chinese and Asian heritage a bit cooler.” In fact this core purpose defines the G.O.D. brand and is carefully crafted into every item it sells. In return G.O.D. has been admitted to the Olympus of branding: it has earned its spot in the hearts of its loyal customers that relate to the purpose and values of its founders. The words of Poman Lo, CEO and Founder of Century Innovative Technologies  convey the same passion when she talks about her mission to not just educate children, but to turn them into passionate individuals guided by their own value system.

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