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OpenRice.com expands into travel

Hong Kong is a very unique city, being such a small island covering only 1095 sq. km (423 sq. miles) but has a population of over 7 million. As a result of this, news and trends via word of mouth or media goes a long way especially taking into account the ‘following’ culture of Hong Kong people. They want to try or know about everything in order not to miss out or perhaps so they can participate during discussions of the topic.  Some examples include queuing overnight outside H&M for the new H&M x Lanvin collection where they are only allowed 10 minutes inside the store for choosing and purchasing, queuing for 2 hours outside a newly opened noodle joint which a celebrity chef has recommended where only 200 bowls of noodle are served a day, a very popular TVB series aired its finale with 99% ratings and people are quoting lines by the characters .

With this fast paced environment where people are at such close proximity, I personally believe that social networking and e-commerce has less of a place in this city as compared to the US or Europe. Having said that, OpenRice.com has done really well for themselves tapping into the local dining out phenomenon and the love of taking photos of food. OpenRice.com is Hong Kong’s most popular dining guide with reviews written by local people. They even have free apps for all the local Apple product fans, which is something like every 7 out of 10 Hong Kongers. They are now looking to expand its operations, client base and advertising in dining as well as travel to the English-speaking people in Hong Kong, since there is a beefy community of expats here. But whether they can make it as succesful as the Chinese site takes a big leap of faith since targeting the English-speaking in Hong Kong may not be such a lucrative business, even the South China Morning Post and other sites such as geoexpat.com seem to be struggle to reach its audience. Well, let’s all wait and see.

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