Buy an internet property (domain name) in Hong Kong? (9Jan2015)

(Written by Conrad Ko, Edited by Margaret Jarvis)


Its not easy to buy any commercial real estate in Hong Kong with its sky high prices.

So have you consider buying Internet Real Estate?

ust like property in real life, a domain name is a piece of Internet Real Estate. Because it is unique and permanent. A domain name is a unique name that identifies an internet resource such as a website. It is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control on the Internet.
An example of a domain name is www.conradko.com. You can access www.conradko.com because I registered a domain name called www.conradko.com. If I want people to access my site with www.conradko.net then I will have to buy www.conradko.net. If www.conradko.net is owned by someone, I will have to buy it, because it’s someone else’s turf.

Conradko.com Whois Lookup - Who.is - Who.is


However, no one really cares about Conrad Ko unless I do something extraordinary in the next few years. Therefore, conradko.net is not registered by anyone. As of now, when people search for conrad ko, it is very likely this website will pop up on Google because of its high similarity with the keywords “conrad ko”. However, if one day one of my fans wants to be conrad ko himself, he will be interested in my site and want to own www.conradko.com, then what he can do is:

• wait for me to stop using this domain name
• buy it from me so that he can own it and use it

Why do people invest in domain names?

So you may say, why would I ever want to buy domain names? If you are an online store, you will want people to be able to search for you easily. If you sell cars and you name your website cheapcars.com, a lot of people who search for “cheap cars” will see your site on any search engine.

Other competitors in the field of selling automobiles will also want your domain name, but if they want to use it, they will have to buy it from you. Although it’s unlikely you will sell it to them. As a result they might register similar domain names like cheapcars.net, cheapcars.org.

Since people go online and search for products every day, having a good domain name will increase your online presence sort of like an online billboard.

With the online population growing each year, a good domain will appreciate over time as demand grows. Therefore, domain name investment is worthwhile if you have a good eye for domain names.
As a result a lot of investors wanting a portfolio of Internet Real Estate occupy the 5th Avenue, or Bond Street of the internet world. That’s why domain investing has been a sport since the dawn of the internet.
If you are interested in the subject you can visit:

http://www.domaininvesting.com/ – A blog about domain investment



Internet Property (Domain) Development in Hong Kong (9Jan2015)

(Written by Conrad Ko, Edited by Margaret Jarvis)


As we mentioned from our last post one might argue that since the tech boom in 2010. Global domain names has risen both in number registered and price.

Websites Change Internet Users Users per
Websites launched
2013 672,985,183 -3% 2,756,198,420 4
2012 697,089,489 101% 2,518,453,530 4
2011 346,004,403 67% 2,282,955,130 7
2010 206,956,723 -13% 2,045,865,660 10 Pinterest
2009 238,027,855 38% 1,766,206,240 7
2008 172,338,726 41% 1,571,601,630 9 Dropbox
2007 121,892,559 43% 1,373,327,790 11 Tumblr
2006 85,507,314 32% 1,160,335,280 14 Twttr
2005 64,780,617 26% 1,027,580,990 16 YouTube, Reddit
2004 51,611,646 26% 910,060,180 18 Thefacebook, Flickr
2003 40,912,332 6% 778,555,680 19 WordPress, LinkedIn
2002 38,760,373 32% 662,663,600 17
2001 29,254,370 71% 500,609,240 17 Wikipedia
2000 17,087,182 438% 413,425,190 24 Baidu
1999 3,177,453 32% 280,866,670 88 PayPal
1998 2,410,067 116% 188,023,930 78 Google
1997 1,117,255 334% 120,758,310 108 Yandex
1996 257,601 996% 77,433,860 301
1995 23,500 758% 44,838,900 1,908 Altavista, Amazon, AuctionWeb
1994 2,738 2006% 25,454,590 9,297 Yahoo
1993 130 1200% 14,161,570 108,935
1992 10 900%
Aug. 1991 1 World Wide Web Project
Source: NetCraft and Internet Live Stats (elaboration of data by Matthew Gray of MIT and Hobbes’ Internet Timeline and Pingdom)

(Source: http://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/)

However, the domain scene is much grimmer on the Hong Kong side of things.

2rd Level ‘.hk’
3rd Level ‘.hk’


(Source: https://www.hkdnr.hk/content.jsp?id=194#!/&in=/aboutHK/registration_statistics_hkdnr.jsp)

The number of active domains has decreased steadily over the past few years. That’s the fate of IT in Hong Kong, always a dream, never the reality.




What constitute good businesses? (8Jan2015)

(Written by Conrad Ko, Edited by Margaret Jarvis)

In picking businesses to run, I believe there are three important elements

• It doesn’t look good
• Small sum per transaction and constant demand
• Weak competition

Doesn’t look good


If the industry does not appeal to college graduates and glory hunters, it’s a good sign. There are a lot of businesses that people operate based purely on emotion, such as salons, boutique dessert shops, investment banking, finance shops… Tons of these shops are operated by irrational people who know little about business, and are trying to look good by operating these businesses. This is one of the worst things that can happen to an entrepreneur – an irrational competitor. Therefore, if people look down on an industry, it’s usually a good business to be in, because it is operated by people who are doing it for one reason and one reason only, profits.

Good Examples:

  • Clearners
  • Plumbers
  • Lock Smith
  • Butchers
  • Farmers
  • Waste Managers

Small sum per transaction and constantly in demand


Small sums trump big sums. When you are a banker, one deal can cost you the whole year’s bonus. If you are operating a brokerage office, losing a few big clients can cost you the business itself. Your reliance on the customers is huge, which means your client can negotiate with you from a vantage point of strength. The clients are your boss, since they pay you, they own you. You cannot say “no” to them if you are a big bank. How about Coca Cola going out of business? Yes, but most certainly not due to losing one or two big clients. The same strategy can be seen from Mao Ze Dong’s thought focuses on “surrounding the cities from the countryside”. Having masses of clients is more reliable than one big client. Period. On top of that, good businesses make products that are cheap and affordable, so even on rainy days, your clients can afford your products, maybe at a discount but still with a healthy margin. And B to C always wins over B to B.

Good Examples:

  • Fast food chains
  • FMCG
  • Telecommunications

Weak Competition and low barriers of entry


Although we know there are lot of good businesses in the world, we have to find good businesses that can be operated with few or no barriers of entry, so that we can easily convert our model or try new directions with changing demand. Good businesses always try new things and more profitable work processes. If it’s a highly regulated industry, chances are there is not much to change and you cannot have an edge over your competitor. Find markets that are dominated by small players, in which case you can merge and expand your good business with ease.

Perfect Business

  • Printing Shops
  • Glasses
  • Main Agencies



Chinese Obession with Phone (6Jan2015)

(Written by Conrad Ko, Edited by Margaret Jarvis)

In the digital age, one might assume the importance of the fixed line Phone to go downhill. That is true for the US. In the US, Preliminary results from the July–December 2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that the number of American homes with only wireless telephones continues to grow. Two in every five American homes (41.0%) had only wireless telephones (also known as cellular telephones, cell phones, or mobile phones) during the second half of 2013.There’s a generally positive correlation between wealth and the usage of fixed line phones in the US and we should expect it to fade out!


So you might say, what’s your point? The point I am trying to make is, the same thing is not happening in Asia, at least not in China.

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The decline in the developed world is expected, but the number of fixed line phones per capita and mobile phones per capita keep rising in China. That is because

  • China is becoming more affluent and therefore more people are able to afford phones.
  • The Chinese love the phone.

 Why do Chinese prefer the use of phone over other modes of communication?


 Official Reasons:

Instantaneous: One of the main reasons why picking up the phone and calling someone is better than sending an email is the fact that any issues can be dealt with faster and more efficiently. Emails can often land in an inbox and remain unopened or non-actioned until after the date that any action needed to be taken has passed. On a call, all information can be relayed, and answers or conclusions can be made and actioned there and then, without having to wait for replies.

Less room for misunderstanding: Another key reason why a phone call is better than an email is that key information and content can remain in context, whereas misunderstandings can often occur in emails. If the subject matter of a conversation is of a complicated, technical, or particularly sensitive nature, an email can often lead to unnecessary confusion and misunderstanding, leading to long and drawn out email exchanges. Simply picking up the telephone and dial ling those that need to be involved can eliminate any room for misunderstanding.


Real Reasons:

Phone Number is Identity: In the digital age, a fixed line phone is a luxury, and because of that only the most functional and profitable business can afford a fixed line phone. Without a fixed line phone, it means your business is new, not profitable and not trustworthy. If you cannot afford a phone, you are not trustworthy.


Phone is Power: You can test your powers over the phone. When replying to an email, the person at the other end could be travelling, in a car, playing with his kids, having sex… You simply cannot control his life with email or instant messaging software. However, with the help of a phone, if you can reach him, you can intrude into his private life easily, or disrupt him from doing what he wants to do. If you want to keep your husband from meeting pretty girls, call him, make his phone ring like an alarm, call every five minutes until he picks up. Causing embarrassment for the other party is a great way to force him into a conversation with you.  You simply cannot cause annoyance or harm with email or other instant messaging systems. Without annoyance, threat or impending harm, one cannot get things done in China.


Phone is Detective: By calling someone at a business, an immediate response is expected. If there is no response from the other end, you might suspect they are  non existent, or just too busy. By calling the other party, you can tell whether they are actually working or not.  If no one picks up the phone, it could mean that the business is fake or dysfunctional. On the contrary, if they pick up the phone too fast and too politely, you can tell the other party has the weaker hand, and your can take the upper hand in any negotiation.



So whats about Phone Numbers?


So what is it about Phone Numbers?

This is a photo of a shop in Hong Kong selling mobile phone numbers. The Chinese here are obsessed with phone numbers and are willing to pay with an ounce of pure gold for a phone number, actually more than one ounce since the best phone numbers cost multiple ounces of gold. For more about telephone number investment, please visit http://www.popnumber.com/



Virtual Assistants overstating their abilities (2Jan2015)

(Written by Conrad Ko, Edited by Margaret Jarvis)

As mentioned before, hiring Virtual Assistants is a good solution for entrepreneurs with a tight budget who are trying to expand their business. However, hiring a Virtual Assistant online poses some challenges. Since there are a lot of Virtual Assistants out there and not enough jobs flowing around, Virtual Assistants will try their best in looking for jobs. Sometimes they will try to stretch their abilities and advertise beyond their competencies. That’s a big problem for employers, since they expect the Virtual Assistants to be competent in the relevant task. Problems as simple as a typo or as fatal as misreading instructions can lead to catastrophic consequences.

Virtual Assistants will usually over state their

  • Languages Abilities (They will pretend to be native English users, in reality they are far from it)
  • Computer Skills (They will pretend to have the best exam

Let me give you an example – a few days ago I was hiring someone on Odesk (www.odesk.com) for a data entry job. This bloke from Bangladesh applied; obviously my reaction was WTF how does a Bengali speak Chinese? So I gave him a little test, I ask him to translate “My mum marry my dad because his grandpa was handsome and rich.” This is obviously an easy job for any Chinese speaker, but this bloke speaks no Chinese and tried to pretend by using Google translate. This happens more often than you would think.

VA Overstating their abilities


To prevent these problems from happening, I suggest you

• Implement a job-related test or a quiz to test his competencies; its better to test out the Virtual Assistant’s abilities before hiring. This also screens out Virtual Assistants with a poor work ethic who don’t go the extra mile.
• Talk to the Virtual Assistants, give them some practical scenarios you expect to face and ask them for suggestions on how to improve the model. I have experienced some highly technical Virtual Assistants who provided me with helpful recommendations and asked me for directions when they faced problems.



4 Eternal Industries of Hong Kong (1Jan2015)

(Written by Conrad Ko, Edited by Margaret Jarvis)

“Eternal Industries” are industries that are evergreen and have prospered in different stages of economic development in Hong Kong. From my observation, there are four industries that are evergreen and will continue to be evergreen in Hong Kong.

Major Characteristics of “Eternal Industries”

• Information Asymmetric
• Dominated by small players
• Require little or no premises
• Human and labor intensive
• High margin

Foreign Domestic Helper Agencies



As of 2014, Foreign Domestic Helpers accounted for 3% of the population of Hong Kong. Foreign Domestic Helpers form a centerpiece of middle class white collar Hong Kong Families. As a result, agencies that match FDHs with their employers have prospered over the last few decades.

Unique Advantage in Hong Kong

  • Long working hours
  • High proportion of women working
  • Relative low social cost in hiring FDHs

Reason they will be growing in the next decade: 

  • Higher turnover rate – Compared with a few decades ago, the living standards of Indonesia and the Philippines have improved significantly. New generations of Foreign Domestic Helpers are less likely to work as hard as their senior counterparts. As a result, it will be harder for the employer to find new helpers and there will be fewer Indonesians and Filipinos who are willing to work in Hong Kong over the next few decades. As a result, the reliance on Maid Agencies is going to be stronger and higher in future.

Glasses/ Eye Wear


The glasses wearing population in Hong Kong is over 75% of the overall population. Myopia is more common in Hong Kong than anywhere else in the world. It’s no surprise that it’s one of the most evergreen industries in Hong Kong.

Unique Advantage in Hong Kong

  • Long study hours
  • Genetic deficiencies of Asians

Reason they will be growing in the next decade: 

• Increased electronics usage- Since there is a wide spectrum surge in the use of electronics across all age groups, more visual impairment issues can be expected. As a result, it is very likely that the demand for glasses will rise in direct proportion to the surge of electronics.

• Higher life expectancy- Glasses have to be replaced every few years. With higher life expectancy comes higher demand for glasses, period.

Tutoring Services/ Exam Preparation


Decoration & Construction Companies



What are Virtual Assistants (Dec 30, 2014)

(Written by Conrad Ko, Edited by Margaret Jarvis)

A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is a person who is generally self-employed and provides services to businesses and individuals remotely through a computer or phone. Hiring a Virtual Assistant is a means to finishing your job by using the help of other professionals in different fields. [Ref-1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_assistant]


A Virtual Assistants will usually provide the following services [Ref-2: https://www.freelancer.hk/jobs/Virtual-Assistant/1/]

  • Administrative Support (Data Entry, Data Correction, Book Keeping)
  • Customer Handling (Phone answering, Telemarketing, Emailing)
  • Technical (SEO related duties, Graphics Design, Audio Recording)

Virtual Assistants usually communicate with businesses by

  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Skype

Virtual assistants perform a variety of tasks such as data entry, article marketing, email responding, and phone reception. Many mundane or routine tasks can be outsourced, giving you the opportunity to use your time as you like.



What is Entrepreneurial Etymology? (29Dec2014)

(Written by Conrad Ko, Edited by Margaret Jarvis)
The study of names, origins and the history of words is called Etymology.Picking a good name for a business, a product or a service can induce a lot of headaches for entrepreneurs and management. It’s often time-consuming, frustrating, and exhausting.


To provide you with some thoughts on Entrepreneurial Etymology, I decided to start a series on how big companies got their names to give you some ideas for

• Business

• Products

• Services

This will be an on and off series with infrequent updates. Stay Tuned!

Should you need help in naming your business, you can email me at wyk747@gmail.com.