Trends & Guides

What can we Learn from Successful E-commerce Entrepreneurs?

14 January 2019 | Najwan Nazim

E-commerce entrepreneurs are growing nowadays. Everything around us is moving at a fast pace with new innovations of technology to new businesses which tends to overshadow the competitors. Hong Kong is home to various successful e-commerce entrepreneurs which had quickly gained popularity and growth. Hong Kong’s user penetration is currently at 74.1% and is expected to increase to 75.1% by 2023. This increase had also resulted to an expected increase in revenue of US$ 1.6 billion by 2023 which is why e-commerce entrepreneurs are very interested in investing within the Hong Kong market.

As of 2019 Hong Kong is home to 7.46 million people. According to Google’s Consumer Barometer, 81% of them use the internet for their personal purposes. This would mean that 81% of them gives e-commerce entrepreneurs the target opportunity for their businesses.

Ever since Hong Kong had been connected with the internet in September of 1991, they were introduced to a few start-up e-commerce platforms which had embraced success within its targeted market. Successful e-commerce platforms like Apple Daily, U Lifestyle, Open Rice, Strawberrynet and Pricerite are all very popular in Hong Kong as they were awarded the best e-commerce website in 2018.

But the question is, what do they all have in common that determines their success? What qualities do they have for which we can all learn and adapt to be as successful or even more successful than they are?

What can we learn from successful companies?


Taken from SlideShare

Timing is an important factor when it comes to the idea of setting up an e-commerce platform. Bill Gross, an American investor conducted a research on the factors which lead start-ups to succeed. From his research he found that the most important factor which aids to the success of a business is timing. Bill Gross stated,” it is important for a business to ask themselves, are the consumers ready for what they have?”.

For example, is an online food guide first established in Hong Kong in 1999. One thing that Hong Kongers love to do is eat. According to La Vie Lohas, food culture is an important element in Hong Kong. This would explain how Open Rice managed to gain so much popularity among the consumers with 8.6 million visits measured by SimilarWeb. Trend is a very useful tool for businesses to use in measuring the potential for a particular business idea.

Today Open Rice is still up and strong with websites that operate around the world in countries such as Malaysia, Japan, Macau, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. In this case, from Open Rice we can learn that timing here refers more towards the trend which constantly evolves which also means more opportunities. Open Rice was a success because the business managed to cater convenience with what consumers enjoy. Being vigilant on trends that sometimes pops out of the blues would provide a heads up or a clue if you may, for an idea that could bring innovation to the business and convenience to the community.

Let Failure Be the Teacher

Most experienced entrepreneurs know that one of the key factors for success is by failing. It is a universal understanding that failure is something that each individual should avoid and fear. As a matter of fact, we have all been educated and told since young that we should not fail. Successful entrepreneurs like Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Ray Dalio disagrees in such teachings. These entrepreneurs believe that failing is an opportunity for an individual to learn and avoid repeating the mistake. Failing is an opportunity for us to be educated.

Ray Dalio stated, “Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has weaknesses. The key is really to understand what your weaknesses are so that you can learn from them. I think punishment is a terrible concept. Learning should come from the mistake not punishment, because you’re teaching people not to make mistakes, which is where the learning comes from”.

Jack Ma, founder of Taobao grew from failing. His famous stories of how he was rejected from Harvard 10 times and the amount of times that he failed had led him to the growth of his empire of what we know now today as Alibaba. Jack Ma stated, “I failed so many times, applied for so many jobs and was rejected multiple times and even my mother was frustrated with me. But I know that this is a training course for me and so I never gave up”.

He further advices the audience “you guys remember, if you want to be successful, learn from the other people’s mistake don’t learn from the successful stories”. Therefore, failure is an important factor which leads these entrepreneurs to success and proves that failing is a bump that we would constantly come across which helps to make us a better individual.

Explore Something before Committing

Having ideas are most definitely important when it comes to coming up with a business plan that would help to benefit the consumers. Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg’s advice is to explore the idea, try to learn a thing or two and ask yourself on how you can improve it to suit the consumers’ needs. So, explore the possibilities before making a commitment. It is ideal for an entrepreneur to make sure of the direction that they are heading. Simply coming up with an idea which seems like a great plan, at that moment in time does not necessarily mean that it would be successful.

However, carefully analysing and further R&D’s would help to build a stronger foundation which will give the business game plan a stronger start. For example, aside from the love of food, Hong Kongers share a similar interest towards shopping. Nowadays, online shopping stores had saturated the market with too much offers which makes it almost impossible to choose. The introduction of Pricerite managed to overcome this problem by providing the consumers a user-friendly experience with product information which advices the consumers on the best deals and provides a safe payment transaction.


iPrice Group is a meta-search website operating in seven countries across Southeast Asia namely in; Hong Kong, Malaysia Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam. Currently, iPrice compares and catalogs more than 100 million products and receives more than 15 million monthly visits across the region. iPrice currently operates three business lines: price comparison for electronics and health & beauty; product discovery for fashion and home & living; and coupons across all verticals.

As an affiliate marketing channel, iPrice works with the biggest brands in the region to compare products and coupons from, Zalora, Zuji, Expedia, Nike, Qatar, Agoda, iHerb, KLOOK, and Farfetch.

iPrice currently operates three business lines: price comparison for electronics such as smartphones and headphones as well as home appliances such as air conditioners, health & beauty; product discovery for fashion and home & living; and coupons across all verticals. Find the best deals for all brands such as Apple, Xiaomi, Sony, Nintendo, PS4, Panasonic, and Huawei.

On a regular basis, iPrice Group releases key insights on topics pertaining e-commerce, startups, and others. Stay tuned to iPrice’s insights here:

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