Hong Kong’s Augmented Reality Map helps 'See the Sunlight'

Drivers of Innovation Brian Hui

Hong Kong’s Augmented Reality Map helps “see the sunlight”

“There are so many tall buildings here so sometimes I don’t even see the sunlight,” commented young Hong Kong entrepreneur Brian Hui. “There are traditional and digital apps, but they remain lacking. What we need is technology that will literally point us to the right direction,” he pitched.

This pain point of navigating roads and subways led Hui to develop PokeGuide. Using augmented reality (AR), the mobile app shows the actual street view on the screen, and indicates the route with arrows. The specific landscape of Hong Kong, with plenty of skywalks and indoor routes like shopping malls, makes PokeGuide more convenient for users. “Even dummies won’t get lost again,” exclaimed Hui.

AR technology started to gain popularity in 2011 alongside the proliferation of smartphones. Hui began to building capital for his startup in 2012. “There were too many investment options available in Hong Kong, for instance real estate and stock market. It was tough to get people investing on startups,” shared Hui. “The concern was on the growth phase and when there would be a periodic income. When newspapers started reporting about startups, that was when businessmen took notice of our potential,” he narrated.

Hui does not consider startups from China as competitors, regarding them as more mature. “Talents would opt to join startups in China because they have a bigger market. But what they should actually appreciate more are the policies in place here,” advised Hui.

While Hong Kong has slipped in its overall ranking in the Global Innovation Index (from 7th in 2013 to 16th in 2017), it “fared well in the input sub-index – ranking eighth in the world – fueled by strong performances in institutions, infrastructure, and market sophistication.” China ranks 22nd.

“Hong Kong welcomes globalization so there is no unfair advantage given to local startups. Unfortunately, this seems to be changing in the last three years,” lamented Hui.

Hui demonstrated how to use PokeGuide at the Drivers of Innovation. He chased the sunlight.

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Start Up Environment in Hong Kong & Experience of Pokeguide Part I
Start Up Environment in Hong Kong & Experience of Pokeguide Part II