Talking business: Shawn Kei and Anthony Chan, Homeweaver

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• Who is the team behind Homeweaver, and when did the company launch?
 "Homeweaver is a new startup based in Hong Kong. All of our founders are young entrepreneurs with vision and passion. Our team is made up of professionals with 10 to 20 years of experience in different areas, including IT, design, sales and marketing."
 
"Our platform was launched in October 2017. A series of marketing activities were implemented to increase the profile of Homeweaver. Since we launched, we have attracted more than 20 branded serviced apartment blocks from Hong Kong, the UK and Malaysia to join us. At the same time, we have attracted individual owners to list their flats on the platform as well."
 
• Can you describe the Homeweaver product and business model?
"We offer an online seamless platform for hosts (both branded serviced apartment and individual flat owners) to upload their listings. Guests can search, view and instantly book their favourite place through our platform. We have developed some special features, such as instant booking and instant payment, which allow both hosts and guests better planning for their reservation, and a 360 viewing experience which allows guests from overseas to view units online."
 
• Which markets is Homeweaver targeting?
 "We target four groups of guests. Business travellers, overseas students, local occupants and long-term travellers from all around the world. For hosts, we hope to target all branded serviced apartments and individual flat owners who wish to increase their income and build their own 'brands' as serviced apartments."
 
• Are you looking to expand outside of Hong Kong, and if so where?
"We look forward to expanding our business model worldwide and making Homeweaver a global platform in the future. Of course, we would expand step by step. Our next target market will be Singapore and major cities in China, such as Shanghai, and Beijing, with many expatriates and students. At a later stage, we plan to expand to London, Japan and Korea. We have conducted a series of market research and found that these countries have the biggest potential, with clusters of expatriates and students. We are aiming to expand our business worldwide so more hosts and guests could experience and enjoy a hassle-free hosting and booking experience on Homeweaver."
 
• What do you foresee are the opportunities and challenges for the Homeweaver product in the future?
 "We foresee many opportunities for our service in future. Nowadays, people are more well connected and mobile. You can expect more and more tourists, business travellers, and students travel back and forwards around the world. This generates a great need for our service to ease the whole process of looking for accommodation. Serviced apartments are getting more popular and many travellers prefer staying in a 'home-like' serviced apartment rather than a luxury hotel room. A serviced apartment is probably the best alternative for foreigners to feel like at home when they stay overseas. Compared to an ordinary hotel, serviced apartment offer guests a bigger living place and more privacy. That is why people love choosing serviced apartments. Also, the rise of the co-living concept offers a golden opportunity for Homeweaver to expand. Therefore, we believe that the demand for serviced apartments will keep increasing."
 
"Capital for expansion will always be a challenge!"

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