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Alumni Stories

Building Links between Patients and Healthcare Professionals

Katie is a home-grown entrepreneur with a Bachelor's degree in Fashion and Textiles and an MSc in China Business Studies from PolyU. Her business undertaking, QCURE, is an incubator project of PolyU, and it is now on the list of the Greater Bay Area homeland youth joint action items. In 2016, the project won the Far East Business Leadership Award – Excellence in Health Mobile Application.

Initial Attempt at Entrepreneurship

Katie was first involved in entrepreneurship on the Chinese mainland in 2009. After graduation, she did not join the fashion industry but worked in the Sun Hung Kai Financial Group. With a strong ability in sales, Katie received several promotions and became Assistant Vice President within two years. She noticed that the Chinese market was huge and full of opportunities, and decided to explore it. With neither powerful relationships nor wide business experience, she often got into difficulties. She spent six years learning about the Chinese market through trial and error, including understanding customer demand and the Chinese way of doing business. At its high point, her company had five sales locations in different cities in China and a staff of 100. The question was how to sustain growth and go further.

A Different Perspective

To acquire the academic credentials and a systematic understanding of the country, Katie returned to Hong Kong to study for the MSc in China Business Studies at PolyU. She expanded her knowledge of China in terms of its culture, economy, finance, law, and trade. What has most exceeded her expectation is the self-confidence she has built up and the exposure she has gained. The unconditional support from PolyU and the Faculty of Business, the chance to present her ideas, and the valuable feedback on her proposals are things she could never find in the business world. 

What enabled Katie to achieve what she has was the support she received from PolyU, a valuable shelter for a start-up company, especially in this keen market. Without PolyU's support, her company would not have had the chance to approach potential investors and earn their recognition and respect. Through the opportunities created, Katie expanded her knowledge and refreshed her mind. Her vision widened before she could seriously reflect on what she aspired to and lacked with regard to entrepreneurship. The Master's qualification and experience was instrumental in building up confidence, not only in herself but also among her potential investors and partners.

A New Start-up

The idea to set up a medical consultation service originated in mainland China, where Katie observed that the healthcare system was overloaded with service for a population of 1.4 billion. She also noticed how numerous mainlanders longed to make contact with overseas specialists to find treatment options for cancer and other chronic diseases and health conditions.

QCURE, established in 2016, is an online platform offering international medical consultations. It is also a one-stop healthcare marketing agency linking clients to more than 500 doctors, professionals, health services and healthcare service providers in addition to 350 insurance agents. Clients obtain expert advice for free and make appointments on the platform. The full range of services includes inoculations, regular check-ups, genetic testing, family planning, and specialist treatments at reasonable prices. To safeguard the well-being of the users, the company exercises due diligence with all service providers before accepting them as part of the network.

Currently, the company focuses on two areas of service. For patients, it is a platform for medical consultation and booking appointments, including recommendations and referrals. For doctors and healthcare professionals, it helps them with marketing and client relations. Coming soon there will be a provision for healthcare education through courses and videos. Doctors in China and overseas experts have expressed interest in sharing their knowledge and views.

As a Hong Kong-based start-up, QCURE faces various challenges, from high rent and high labour costs to attracting investors and growing the database. Apart from co-working, it trains staff on marketing and IT, and involves mainland companies in website enhancement. The good news is that QCURE is a PolyU-supported incubation project, and prospective collaborators and clients highly value the University and the academics’ commendations and recommendations.

A Promising Future

QCURE has received government recognition for being the first Hong Kong-based international platform for medical appointment service. It is now on the first list of projects under the Greater Bay Area homeland youth joint action, hosted by the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR. 

Internationalization is a major objective for the medium- to long-term. QCURE is going to extend its network, especially by recruiting more Chinese doctors in Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan to provide specialist advice and treatment options. It also plans to create a database of healthcare information where doctors can share views and experience, and users can search anytime to have their queries answered.

Chinese people's demand for an overseas healthcare service has been rising and the number of consultations and subscriptions on the platform has been increasing. In the near term, the company is working to secure more funds to enlarge its database and upgrade the appointment and Chatbot system.

QCURE strives to become the largest Chinese-language international healthcare service platform in China by 2019 and the largest in Asia by 2024. The short-term goal in 2019 is to produce 3,000 doctor authorized medical articles and 1,000 doctor videos, to establish its official accounts on 30 Chinese social media platforms for enhanced brand recognition in the Chinese market, and boost monthly visits to 10 million. It is also planning to expand its QCURE healthcare consultants to 1,000.

Advice to Others

In Katie’s view, starting up an innovation and technology business in Hong Kong is not easy. The Hong Kong Science Park and other government sources support mainly scientific research and invention. They are less available for general applications. In China, there is more flexibility and therefore more opportunity. A start-up must know what the market needs, work on business models, make improvements, work hard and improve to show that you can prove what you say. This is the only formula for a start-up to succeed.

Kanie Siu
Empowering Girls in the Developing World

Before joining the NGO sector in 1998, I worked in various industries in the private sector for 10 years. I quit because I could not stand seeing unfair treatment in the workplace. Meanwhile, I wanted to contribute to the elimination of injustice to the underprivileged in the developing world.

Plan Hong Kong is not very widely known in Hong Kong and I am working to build up support for this organization. I truly enjoy what I am doing as I am able to put my thoughts and beliefs into action. I am passionate about girls' rights and I strongly believe that empowering girls and women changes the world. That is why I want to continue to pursue the organization's goal of helping 100 million girls Learn, Lead, Decide and Thrive.

Over the years, I have the chance to travel to many of the world's poorest regions to learn about the challenges faced by children and witness how our work has benefited them. It made me feel motivated to carry on with my work. Through visiting the developing world, I want to raise awareness of children's rights and gender issues, and to help raise funds to support projects like providing school bags and constructing classrooms for children in Cambodia and offering food aid to the malnourished children in South Sudan.

Having said that, NGOs often face the constraint of limited resources. I incorporate some theories I learned during the DBA programme into my everyday work. I value human resources as an important asset to the organization and encourage my colleagues to be proactive, creative and have a good sense of teamwork.

During my days at PolyU, juggling work and school was never easy but I met some wonderful people. The professors were helpful and approachable. They provided close supervision on my thesis writing and presentations. My fellow classmates and I shared experiences and went through the journey together. The connections we built can be a great resource in the future.

For the young people, I would like to use my name KANIE to encourage them – be kind (K), agile (A), never give up (N), intelligent (I) and energetic (E). Better equipping themselves and broadening their horizons will help them seize the opportunities available in this fast-changing world.

Tony Cheung
Leading Change for All

Mr Tony Cheung knows a thing or two about leading change, having seen much personal and industry transformation over a career spanning 40 years. A student in the first marketing cohort of the Hong Kong Polytechnic, Tony joined Jardine Matheson & Co Ltd soon after he obtained his Higher Diploma in Business Studies (Marketing) in 1977. In his 15 years with the company, he advanced from his initial position of Marketing Executive of care products and stationery to Director and General Manager of consumer products. During the same period, he gained an MBA from the University of Hong Kong and conducted postgraduate research at the University of Cambridge. He then served at Pepsico Inc and other companies in the consumer products industry.

During his 30 years in the fast-moving consumer goods business in China and the Asia-Pacific region Tony led companies through much change, many joint venture acquisitions and frequent business model revamping. That in itself is what most people achieve in the careers at the top level, but Tony wanted more. He wanted to use his extensive experience in people and operations management, strategic alliance and mergers and acquisitions to help raise the standard of living in China.

So in 2009 Tony became Managing Director, China of AB Sugar, where he began overseeing sugar mills spanning the country. This was, and remains, a very daunting task, focused on commercializing the business and enhancing its efficiency and competitiveness. Even so, Tony has not lost sight of his original goal. He finds fulfilment in supporting the sector and securing farmers' livelihoods.

Tony vividly remembers his days at the Polytechnic where his cohort spent two years in Quarry Bay while the Hung Hom campus was being built. He and his classmates formed the marketing student club, and they gained marketing and management knowledge and skills that are still useful today.

Tony believes that the economic prospects are good and encourages current students to always be ready for when opportunity knocks.

Anthony Tai
Global Reach

Not many people get to combine what they enjoy doing with the challenge of a cutting-edge job, but that is exactly what Mr Anthony Tai does every working day. Antony obtained his BBA (Hons) degree in International Shipping and Transport Logistics from PolyU in 2008 and then devoted himself to developing the skills he acquired at university to the shipping industry. He is currently a divisional director at shipbroker Clarksons Platou Asia in Hong Kong and has handled transactions valued at close to US$390 million.

His role at Clarksons – a major provider of integrated shipping services including broking, finance, support and research across 21 countries – also offers Anthony the opportunity to do one thing he enjoys very much: travelling. He is fortunate enough to travel widely and gets to meet people from all around the globe. In Hong Kong, he works closely with fully supportive colleagues, builds trusting relationships with clients and gains a sense of fulfilment from fruitful negotiations that have helped international owners place many new orders with shipyards in China.

Anthony has fond memories of his time at PolyU, and recalls one study tour to Singapore on which participants gained insights into how firms worked and had the opportunity to mix and learn with counterparts from a local university. He is now actively involved in student support and other departmental activities, and encourages the younger generation to be thirsty for knowledge and keep their ears and eyes open because small changes make a big difference.

KK Wong
A Passion for Education

Ir Dr Wong Kwok Keung, Chairman and CEO of the Kum Shing Group, is a staunch supporter of lifelong learning and social causes. In 2016, at the age of 70, he obtained his Doctor of Business Administration degree from PolyU, although his acquaintance with the institution dates backs 50 years.

When he finished secondary school, Dr Wong was selected from among 1,630 applicants for admission to the three-year Higher Diploma in Structural Engineering programme offered by the Hong Kong Technical College, forerunner of PolyU. But after only one year of study he was deregisted as a student because he fell 0.6 below the pass mark in one subject.

Despite this educational setback, Dr Wong laboured on. He worked full-time with a small subcontracting firm set up by his father and took a part-time civil engineering degree course at another local college. Still focused on expanding his horizons, three years later he went to Canada to pursue a Master's degree in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, and later a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Calgary.

In 1985, Dr Wong returned to the subcontracting firm in Hong Kong, giving his all to help transfom it into the present Kum Shing, a major provider of engineering, power, utility and transportation services and solutions, with an annual turnover of HK$1.6 billion. In 1996, he established the WKF Charity and Education Foundation in the name of his father. Over the years, the Foundation has supported the building of more than 100 schools in Mainland China as well as other education, health care and philanthropic initiatives in Hong Kong and the Mainland.

Dr Wong won the Outstanding PolyU Alumni Award in 2017. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame established by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers in 2010, and received a Director of the Year award from the Hong Kong Institute of Directors in 2014.

Ma Kin Man
Marketing is More Than Selling Commercial Products

Mr Ma Kin Man graduated from the Faculty in 2016 with a distinction in Master of Science in Marketing Management. Apart from acquiring transferable skills, he studied business cases to obtain insights about positioning an organization, designing promotional strategies, and appealing for support and partnership.

Ma entered the non-profit sector after completing his first degree. Twenty years of experience with NGOs taught him that marketing is key to enlisting aid and mobilizing resources. From Oxfam to Amnesty International to WWF to Heifer International, Ma devoted himself to promoting humanitarian and environmental causes. He applies his marketing knowledge and skills to raise public awareness about social and other issues, engage individual and corporate contributors, and conduct fundraising campaigns in ways that do good to both benefactors and beneficiaries, even when there is a tight budget.

Heifer International undertakes the mission of ending hunger and poverty. It gives each family not a cup, but a cow, and encourages the recipients to pass on farming methods and skills and the offspring of their livestock to others so that more families can be self-reliant.

Currently as senior manager of development at Heifer International Hong Kong, Ma keeps himself abreast of new trends in marketing and communication. He is keen about finding new sources of aid and strengthening connection with donors. He fervently hopes that people from all walks of life and of all ages can join him in alleviating poverty in China. "Everybody can play a part in empowering families to lift themselves out of hunger and communities to drive their own change", Ma commented.

Waison Lee
Mr Waison Lee Wai San Won Grand Award for Asia Digital Art

Waison and his younger sister Miss Lee Wing Yan spent three months and travelled 3,000 kilometres to take pictures and capture the presence of nature in Kansai region of Japan. They produced a time-lapse video, named Beautiful Scenery in Kansai Region, for entering 2016 Asia Digital Art Award Fukuoka Competition (ADAA).

The Lee siblings' work, which was shown at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in early March 2017, earned them the Grand Award in Category A - Moving Images of the competition as well as The Minister of MEXT Award.

ADAA encourages artistic expression based on logical thinking and top-notch technology combined with Asian sensibility. Category A requires the use of innovative ideas and latest technology. MEXT stands for Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Waison graduated from the Faculty in 2015 with a BBA (Hons) degree majoring in Marketing and minoring in Japanese. He won an Award for Excellence in Category B for students and the public in 2015 ADAA.

Albert Lui
Albert Walks His Talk in Support of Sharing Economy

By The Way is a mobile platform where car owners and passengers plan itineraries and arrange for carpool and ride-share. The developer, Wonma Technology Limited, won the Gold Award for Best ICT Startup (Social Impact) in Hong Kong ICT Awards 2016.

CEO Mr Albert Lui Chung Yee graduated from PolyU in 2004 with the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Marketing. He soon started his own business and later on set up two more companies all of which are now run mainly by his partners and colleagues as he devotes 80% of his time to carpooling.

Albert is a supporter of sharing economy who walks his talk by promoting ride-share firstly in his neighbourhood and then the entire city. Carpool saves time, money and energy. It reduces the stress of navigating traffic, eases road congestion and mitigates air pollution. It also enables riders to make friends, encourages mutual help and contributes to building community. What Albert promotes is sharing rides in private vehicles on a voluntary basis.

Building up the company from scratch, what Albert found most challenging was that he was an outsider to the IT industry. It took him considerable time to explore the market, establish a network and find the necessary resources. The Facebook carpool group that he initially formed got enthusiastic responses from people in the district. The carpooling app, By The Way, launched in July 2016 has now gathered 12,000 users. The company is expected to break even in 2017 and expand into other markets in the medium term with Singapore as its first target.

Winfred Hung
Winfred Hung: Fusing Orthodoxy and Modernity through Draword

Winfred Hung Man Lung loves writing with a brush since boyhood. He has set his heart on popularizing Chinese calligraphy and promoting positiveness in the community.

As an arts student in secondary school, Winfred acquired an understanding of aesthetics and feelings. He did business at university for professional expertise as well as logical and analytical thinking and found that he also learned how to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds. Not long after he graduated from PolyU with a BBA (Hons) degree in Management in 2013, Winfred rented a room in an industrial building to start his calligraphy classes. His current students come from business offices, secondary schools and universities. He also produces designs for private companies and sells postcards and tote bags with his own creations.

Winfred cherishes tradition and creation. His works are fusions of different components of a word or different words. They are where conformity coexists with individuality, classical calligraphy coexists with artistic creativity, and traditional Chinese words coexist with novel ideas. He calls his creation and his studio Draword, a combination of drawing and word.

Draword demonstrates artistry and beauty but Winfred stresses that the content is as important as the form. His works promote social justice as well as care and concern for young people. At present, what he wants to offer Hong Kong people is support and encouragement to surmount all obstacles.

Tina Lo
Ms Tina Lo Takes Social Responsibility in Business

Ms Tina Lo graduated from the Faculty with a Master of Science in China Business Studies (CBS) degree in 2012. She is currently Personal Assistant to President of Gaastra International Group Limited. The  European nautical lifestyle brand Gaastra is now a family business where Lo supervises corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in China, overseas licensing and legal matters.

Lo found the CSR content of CBS particularly inspiring and applicable in her workplace where she cherishes both economic and social values. Gaastra sponsors yacht teams coaching in China and nautical gear for Paralympics sailor Xu Jingkun who succeeded in sailing around China. The company is a supplier to the Olympics Chinese sailing team. Through PolyU, Gaastra supported service learning of the University's students and development of e-learning laboratories for children in Cambodia. Through Red Cross, the company supported elderly service and youth development in Hong Kong. After work, Lo is an enthusiastic volunteer and a first aid lecturer of Hong Kong Red Cross.

Maggie Fung
Going Beyond Financial Accounts

Ms Maggie Fung graduated from Hong Kong Polytechnic in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in accountancy. After more than 15 years in auditing and the media, she decided to spend more time with her two little daughters. During the career break, a friend of her, the founder and CEO of Social Ventures Hong Kong (SVhk), inspired her on combining the effort of non-profit and for-profit organizations to address social issues.

SVhk is a venture philanthropic organization founded in 2007 with the aim of providing financial and non-financial support to social purpose organizations and social enterprises in Hong Kong. Ms Fung joined the organization in 2010 and is now Finance and Operations Director. She has been involved in the incubation of around 20 social start-ups, especially in deciding company structure, building business models and setting up corporate governance schemes. Some of them are becoming familiar to the general public. Diamond Cab, for instance, provides barrier-free transport. Light Be offers affordable housing to single-parent families. RunOurCity empowers youth with marathon spirit. Playtao Education runs a holistic after-school programme for grass-roots children.

Going beyond financial accounts to take on social commitments, Ms Fung suffers a slight loss of spendable income but enjoys a much closer relationship with Hong Kong, the place where she was born. When wheelchair users have fun at karaoke, and mother and son have a safe place to live, Ms Fung sees no reason why she should not continue to persevere.

"The satisfaction that I get from my job is invaluable!" Ms Fung says. 

Not Just Toying with Childhood Favourite

At the age of four, William was fascinated by Lego products. Patrol car was a perfect birthday gift and police chase his favourite game.

As a schoolkid, William had neither the money nor space at home for a train set, a hospital unit, or a fire station. He played with a few small items during summer holidays. Other times, Lego catalogues were enough to catch and hold his imagination.

In his teens, William was fully occupied with schoolwork, football, basketball, electronic games and all kinds of extracurricular activities. Lego bricks and pieces remained out of sight, under his bed, but never really out of mind.

At university, some part-time job earnings went on William's favourite Lego series.

Mr William Wong Hung Hei graduated from PolyU with the BA (Hons) in Management degree in 2007, the year when he joined other Lego fans and started developing Lego games and My Own Creations (MOCs).

In just a few years, William had organised and showcased his MOCs at over 20 exhibitions in Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China and Europe. His works include Ferris wheel, France TGV station, Icebreaker Xuelong, Japan Bullet Train, Japan Railway Kyoto station, Japan series of KiHa Locomotives, Panama Canal, and Taiwan High Speed Rail station.

To engage himself fully in promoting creativity, William quitted as strategic planning analyst with the Hong Kong Tourism Board in early 2013. He is now Lego Ambassador at Legend Bricks, linking the Danish company with fans in Asia. He is immensely enthusiastic about keeping his childhood dream alive while applying the knowledge and skills he acquired at university to build a colourful career.