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PCCW launches e-commerce platform Habbitzz to plug ‘poorly served’ Hong Kong market

Hong Kong conglomerate Pacific Century CyberWorks has made its first foray into e-commerce with the launch of Habbitzz, a premium-focused alternative to Amazon and Alibaba.

Led by former JD.com chief operating officer Alex Bono, the new subsidiary of PCCW is being touted as the first major locally-grown e-commerce player to take on the Hong Kong market.

Although Hong Kong is currently served by Amazon, the AliBaba-owned Tbao and the homegrown HKTVMall, Bono said there was a dearth of local e-commerce start-ups due to the tremendous cost of acquisition in the market.

“Even though Hong Kong is a big shopping country, it is poorly served in the e-commerce field,” explained Bono. “There is nothing that really serves the premium economy.

“What we’re trying to create is a platform that sells just premium goods that are tailored to the customers on a sophisticated level.”

So far Habbitzz has more than,1,000 international brands on board, including in the categories of electronics, fashion and beauty, sports and lifestyle.

Although the company said it intends to ‘personalise’ the shopping experience for site visitors, Bono said will not be using the wealth of data held by PCCW, which has several interests in media and telecommunications. Instead it will rely on first-party information from consumers logging in.

At present, Bono has no plans to follow Amazon and turn the site into a major ad-selling business, adding he wanted to focus on the “e-commerce service”.

Habbitzz recently hired Lion & Lion to provide integrated communications services and is currently holding a pitch for another PR agency. The rest of its marketing efforts will be carried out in-house. The team has also hired a substantial number of influencers to promote the site’s launch.

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