Out to lunch: HK01’s chief executive officer Andrea So

It was a Tuesday afternoon when we met HK01 CEO Andrea So at Alibi – Wine Dine Be Social at Cordis Hotel, Mong Kok. The restaurant was mildly filled but we managed a quiet spot to have a conversation with So. Ambitious by nature, So came in to the conversation with us completely unarmed and extremely warm. Beneath the warmth, you could also feel her passion for the five-year-old HK01 brand - for which she’s been with the team for four. 

Founded in March 2016, today HK01 is one of the leading Chinese-language media houses in Hong Kong. With engaging content on hard news, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, the brand has captivated readers across different demographics. But So says the secret sauce to HK01’s success is not simply in content. It is powered by technology and the “Media+” approach.

“We combine technology with media, so HK01 is a mix of an internet and a media company, as well as a platform providing multiple lifestyle services. This is what sets us apart from other media outlets in the city,” So explained. 

According to Comsocre’s data, in November 2020, HK01 boasted approximately five million monthly unique users. Across its different touchpoints, the media house draws in around 50 million clicks a day from about two million daily unique users. 

Over the previous 35 months, the download number of HK01 App has been ranked first according to App Annie data. While in Google Keywords Planner, HK01 ranked first in Hong Kong media brand searches too. With the impressive number of active users, HK01 amasses data from the reading habits of its audiences.

By studying big data, the team at HK01 uncovers trending topics and offers insights to the editorial team to curate and create appealing content for its readers. To meet the high demand from the public, HK01 has also invested a significant amount of its resources in developing its platforms - particularly the HK01 App. 

“We are Hong Kong’s first media to leverage algorithms to customise our news for our readers to create an unrivalled user experience for them. Algorithms also help our clients target specific groups of readers, which can help to reach their sales goal,” So explained. 

When asked what So believes to be the strongest asset of HK01 App, she says it is the company’s relentlessness in offering comprehensive content which is targeted to its audience.

“We are always experimenting and refining our readers’ entire experience. As a hub for content, events and experiences, we have created a closed-loop system that minimise the need for our readers to turn to other sites or browsers.”

HK01 also creates a variety of lifestyle services through its “Media+” approach. Take “01 Space” as an example, it is an event platform to offering events, programmes, and experiences to its readers and give Hongkongers the opportunity to gather, learn, be entertained, and live life at their own pace - all within one common touchpoint.

HK01 welcomes the public to become its members as they can enjoy a wide variety of activities through which they can also earn points. For example, members can earn “01 Points” through shopping on “01mall”, participating activities on “01 Space”, and inviting friends to become members of HK01 etc. After earning “01 Points”, members can use them in future transactions as the points can be translated into money. 

Apart from this, HK01 also allows members to redeem vouches with their points. By offering one-stop experience within an app, HK01 successfully engage both members and clients to leverage the platform to meet their needs. 

As we inch closer to 2022, So shares that her vision is set for the brand to be a leading one in Hong Kong. HK01 will continue its effort to strengthen its position in the industry by creating more lifestyle and interactive elements, as well as different kinds of offline events, to engage audiences.