Ideas Lunch Alumni Online Sharing: PropTech Innovation

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Property technology, also known as proptech, has been around since the early 2000s but with little progress in Hong Kong until recently. Triggered by rapid digital transformation that comes with pandemic-related disruptions, the property landscape has since evolved dramatically. The number of users who search for properties online jumped from 15% in the past to over 80% between March and June 2020.

On September 29, Lawrence CHAU, Head of Marketing Communications at Midland Holdings, shared his unique experience of developing the latest proptech tools and how he shifted from finance to marketing at the HKUST Business School Ideas Lunch Online Sharing. The session was moderated by Professor Veronique LAFON-VINAIS, Lawrence’s finance teacher back at HKUST.

The property industry is traditionally not transparent towards customers. Yet through the use of new online tools and platforms, property agents can now offer transparent information and wider range of services to sellers and buyers.

Lawrence explained that proptech wasn’t built just to serve the buying and selling processes. At Midland, proptech allowed agents to seamlessly integrate a comprehensive range of services into the entire customer journey, including property research, listing, sales and post-sales services.

While technology has replaced considerable manual labor, Lawrence remained optimistic that the property industry requires agents to facilitate transactions. In fact, online platforms have helped generate new traffic to agents. “Property sales are illiquid… You still need the assistance of the agents to help consolidate all the information and with the negotiation between the two parties.”

On the career side, while most graduates from HKUST’s quantitative finance program naturally go into the finance industry, Lawrence’s career evolved through finance, consulting, and digital marketing.

Lawrence observed that finance and marketing shared many similarities, especially in digital marketing where he constantly review statistics to determine the success of his strategies and campaigns. Managing marketing strategies is similar to managing a financial portfolio – everything has to be tracked and measured. “Making a bid for keywords or ad text is like trading derivatives.” he commented.

Having worked in corporate and startup environments, his passion as a lifelong learner continues to facilitate his career moves as he seeks new challenges and opportunities to grow and learn.

Lawrence’s sharing on PropTech Innovation was part of the HKUST Business School Ideas Lunch Series, a monthly alumni online sharing. For more happenings, stay tuned with us here.