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Why Flintu Chose Hong Kong
Hong Kong is the ideal location for a hardware startup, despite the fact that there are so few factories in the country. Why is that? Flintu’s co-founder and tech guy Evan Stuart explains.
The fact is, Hong Kong doesn’t need any factories. It has one of the world's largest mega-factory cities at its doorstep, Shenzen. A short three hour drive across the border is all that separates the two cities. Shenzen was literally farmland 30 years ago, and now this city makes many of the gadgets we buy and love. (Looking at you, Apple fans!)
Hong Kong was once a factory city as well. However, its factories were all relocated in the 1980s as part of a industrial relocation program. "Made in Hong Kong” became “Made by Hong Kong” as it transitioned to providing design, investment and management. Today Hong Kong is a bustling international financial hub, home to more skyscrapers than any other city in the world.
The city is home to an increasing number of tech startups. In 2015, the number of incubators and startup companies increased by 50%. It makes sense. Hong Kong has access to the startup trifecta:investment, a factory and a product. With Shenzhen’s manufacturing capabilities and Hong Kong’s investor pool it’s easy to see why it’s one of the fastest growing startup scenes in the world.
For Flintu, having a presence in China is essential to delivering a quality product on time. Product development relies heavily on prototype iteration. Reducing time between each revision is key for overall time-to-market. From a manufacturing point of view living in Shenzhen would be ideal, but it's digitally isolated by the great firewall.
With 12 hours factory-to-office delivery, its burgeoning startup culture, fast internet access, and undeniably amazing restaurants and bars you can understand why Hong Kong is the place to be.
Behind the scenes with Flintu's design process
Hey Friends of Flintu, Luke here! It's been a wild couple of months leading up to our upcoming product launch. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, jump on our mailing list to keep up to date.)
As product manager at Flintu, it's my job to make sure that the final product meets the needs of our customers in a way that's simple and intuitive. A major component of that process is overseeing the industrial design, or the process of defining how a product will look, function, and feel.
For us the design process starts with a couple cups of coffee and ends with a list of essential features and a sketch. From there, we slowly refine our design, through CAD drawings, 3D prints, user testing and, yes, the occasional heated discussion.
Our new product, SideKick by Flintu, has quite a few design restrictions which has made for a particularly exciting process. The design nerd in me loves every second of making a product that's functional and designed to fit users' everyday lives. They say that working within constraints builds creativity, and we've got two major restrictions.
First, SideKick is as feature-packed as a swiss army knife. As you've seen from recent blog posts, SideKick does a lot, and yet it still needs to be pocketable. That means every millimeter of the product has to be engineered meticulously! We've spent a lot of time testing and iterating to find the best configuration for all of the pieces that make SideKick tick.
Second, SideKick by Flintu lives in a very harsh environment -- your pocket or handbag. This means both design and materials need to be smart and tough! Like I said earlier, my job is to make sure that the product meets customer needs, so it's especially important to me that we end up with a product that can withstand the rough and tumble of real life.
There you have it. That's our design process in a nutshell. We're in the thick of product development for SideKick by Flintu, so we're living and breathing this stuff. At best, the process is smooth and linear, at worst... well let's not talk about that ;o)