Entrepreneur Highlight: From Employee to CEO – HKBU Alumnus Mr Mark Siu: “Dare to Think, Dare to Do”

BEST Student Reporter: Miki Ho
BEST Chief Student Editor: Aster Cheng

 

Mr Mark Siu’s story of establishing a top business has never unfolded like clockwork. After graduating from the Department of Computer Science in HKBU, it took him another four years in the common workplace to steel himself for a genuine start-up. In 2007, he joined his friends to found an enterprise that is now known as ETG Holdings Limited (ETG). Looking back at the tough time as already the CEO of the company, Mark feels glad to have a great team that could always be frank with one another, open-minded with challenges and eager to learn from setbacks. It is through the unyielding faith in a shared goal that the team is able to keep trying, testing, absorbing experience and adjusting accordingly towards success.

Business trajectory

The journey started in 2004 when ETG Tagging Solutions Limited was established, providing anti-theft tags, labels and other solutions. Harbouring no grand ideal, Mark honestly spoke about his primary intent to make more money at the beginning. In the initial stage, securing customers was rather effortful and time-consuming. ETG was yet a small company providing a variety of solutions including but not limited to CCTV camera and video surveillance system, access control system, burglar alarm system, Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) anti-shoplifting system, RFID asset management solution, people counting solution, display security solution and digital signage etc. that survived on coming behind the major players among commercial and home security industry and hoping for some left-out customers to possibly approach them. Yet it did not take long for the company to realise the need to innovate ahead of its peers and carve out a niche. In 2006, the business began to expand its market to Asia Pacific and introduced strategic shareholders to grow its business in retail security. In less than a year, it has been listed as one of the Top five companies in Hong Kong. In 2007, the business has also initiated Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) anti-shoplifting system. On the advice of his two co-founding friends from Australia and Singapore, ETG first introduced the open-sell environment technology to Hong Kong and revolutionised mobile purchasing experience. Furthermore, since 2011, ETG has broken the monopoly of the security industry, guaranteeing a service of more excellent value. In 2017, ETG also developed people count solution business and started to provide one of the best leading high performance retail traffic counters to a number of branded retailers for visitor counting so as to provide insightful people flow metrics for improving sales and operations.

Hong Kong as home: A company with care

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Mark feels a strong connection with and likes to give back to the city. For instance, ETG has been supporting the Caring Company Scheme for five consecutive years by establishing a strategic partnership with many charitable organisations. The company has also provided financial support to local students at HKBU, his alma mater, to participate in the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship (BMoE) Bootcamp. Although the economy of Hong Kong is relatively small, its open and liberal market adding on its status as a financial hub is of service to the company to expand its security solution business to the global stage. Recently, ETG has reached out to Europe and completed its first major project the United Kingdom.

To cope with the COVID-19

The last time when coronavirus threatened his career was during the year of Mark’s graduation when Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) hit Hong Kong and deflated its job market in 2003. Similar to how he managed to still secure a job back then, his company has substantively limited the negative impact of the pandemic on its business. Mark believes that accompanying risks there are also opportunities. While the pandemic takes away one of its major sources of clients in the retail sector, ETG as the leading smart retail pioneer in Hong Kong demonstrates remarkable resilience by transforming the customer monitoring system and big data solution with the 3D footfall people counter into one of the essential technologies for managing social distance and protecting public health. As a result, a large number of new clients among retailers, schools and government organisations are procured with the occupancy monitoring and crowd control solution, a favourable turn that can be easily attributed to the company’s constant pursuit for change and perseverance as its core value.

As words of encouragement to budding entrepreneurs, Mark referenced Dare to Think, Dare to Do 《敢想・敢做》, an autobiography of Mr Ricky Wong, the chairman and founder of Hong Kong Television Network. According to Mark, the book title well captured its main message, that it is always worth any foreseeable difficulties to muster up the courage and put your bold ideas into practice. Mark admitted that the company had experienced several setbacks, but he had never forgotten the daring spirit of Mr Wong for his own continuous attempts towards their goals. Indeed, even “failure is the mother of success” might be too old a saying to appeal, it by no means undermines the fact that to reflect on failure is as well an uplifting business.

If you wish to know more about ETG, please visit their website at https://etgholdings.com.hk/en/