Ricky Wong (Hong Kong businessman)

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Ricky Wong Wai-kay
Ricky Wong 2014.jpg
Chairman of Hong Kong Television Network Limited
Assumed office
1992
Deputy Paul Cheung Chi-kin
Chief executive officer of Asia Television
In office
4 December 2008 – 17 December 2008
President Linus Cheung
Succeeded by Linus Cheung
Personal details
Born (1961-12-13) 13 December 1961 (age 55)
Hong Kong
Nationality Canadian (surrendered Canadian citizenship in 2016)
Political party Liberal (until 1996)
Alma mater Munsang College
Chinese University of Hong Kong
United College

Ricky Wong Wai-kay (Chinese: 王維基) (born 13 December 1961 in Hong Kong) is a telecom and media entrepreneur in Hong Kong. He is the chairman and founder of Hong Kong Television Network Limited, and the founder of Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees, United College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

As an entrepreneur in the telecommunications and technology industries, Wong set up City Telecom (H.K.) Limited in 1992, providing alternative international direct dialing (IDD) services at affordable tariffs which broke the predominant market monopoly. In 1999, he established Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited, built a territory-wide fibre network to provide super high speed broadband, telephone and IP-TV services, and led the company to become the second largest IP provider in Hong Kong. In 2010, Wong was voted the 60th most powerful person in Global Telecoms Business by the Global Telecom Business Magazine.

In 2009, Wong's Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) applied for a domestic free television program service licence and in 2012, he disposed all telecom businesses to focus on the development of his television and multimedia businesses. However, HKTV's application was subsequently rejected in October 2013, prompting Wong to lead HKTV towards the mobile TV and internet shopping industries.

As a former member of Liberal Party in the 1990s,[1] Wong declared his intention to stand for the Legislative Council election in September 2016.[2][3] Announced on 4 Jul 2016, Wong surrendered his Canadian citizenship[4] and confirmed to contest for a geographical constituency of Hong Kong Island,[5] with the objective to oust Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.[6]

Education[edit]

Wong holds a bachelor degree in electronics engineering and an Executive Master of Business Administration from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.[7][8]

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Ricky's entrepreneurship started as early as 17, when he claimed to have started the first private tutoring school for students in Hong Kong, and earned HK$40,000 (US$5128 in the 60s). Also reported in many other interviews by local press through the years, was that Ricky Wong had the business idea of bringing in non-taxed engineering textbooks from Taiwan when he was 21, at his 3rd year at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which earned him a good fortune and helped fellow undergraduates, at a time when textbooks are rare and expensive locally.

IDD[edit]

Ricky Wong was instrumental to the introduction of callback IDD service to Hong Kong. In the early 90s, IDD was a luxurious service in Hong Kong, costing HK$12 (USD1.5) per minute and was monopolised by Hong Kong Telecom. At the time Ricky Wong migrated to Canada, where the Canadian Government liberalised the telecom market using callback, Ricky Wong and his cousin then wrote to the Hong Kong Government about it, and with the government's confirmation, the cousins brought callback to Hong Kong.

With this new competition, IDD price started to drop over 50%. In March, after lengthy negotiation with the government, Hong Kong Telecom International surrendered its exclusive licence for provision of certain external telecommunication circuits and services eight years earlier than the scheduled expiry in 2006 in return for a cash compensation of HK$6.7 billion. According to official data, cumulative savings resulting from competition in the mobile and IDD service markets have also been substantial, while savings from IDD service were estimated at HK$25.5 billion between 1999 and 2002.

Broadband[edit]

Ricky Wong was also credited for bringing broadband internet to Hong Kong. At the time when the whole city is still wired by traditional copper wires using legacy technology (ADSL), with service speed limited to 1.5Mbit/s to 6Mbit/s, Ricky Wong acquired a fixed line service license and began a ten-year project of building an all new network in Hong Kong using fibre optics, of which accumulatively invested over HK$3 billion (US$400 million).

The audacious investment decision was considered impossible by the market and investors, and Ricky Wong's company had lost money for seven years. As the investment project went on, with equipment and technical support from Cisco Systems,[9] Ricky Wong successfully built the largest Metro Ethernet in the world, and launched probably the first 100Mbit/s & 1000Mbit/s broadband service for residential use in 2004 & 2005.[10] His company became the second largest service provider in Hong Kong in 2008, the fastest growing service provider in 2009, and targets to overtake the incumbent in 2016.[11]

In 2010 he was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year China in the 'Telecom' category.[12]

Asia Television[edit]

On 3 December 2008, Linus Cheung originally hired Ricky Wong to be the new Asia Television (ATV) chief executive.[13] On 4 December, it was announced that both of them would lead the TV station's reform.[14] As the station was losing HK$1 million a day after racking up losses of HK$300 million in 2007.[15] The station itself has long been recognised as pro-Beijing.[16] After just 2 weeks Ricky Wong resigned from his ATV position.[17] Wong himself had denied that he had ever quit the position.[17] His position at ATV lasted only 12 days.

Hong Kong Television Limited[edit]

In 2013, City Telecom was renamed as Hong Kong Television Limited (HKTV). Ricky Wong is the chairperson of HKTV and remains in charge of the full operation of HKTV. He initiated the application of broadcast license for HKTV in 2009, but the application was rejected in October 2013. Operations of HKTV was adversely affected. He dismissed 320 staff due to the crisis.[18] Ricky Wong and the public blamed the government for using a vague and generic phrase "a basket of factors" to refuse its application. He then sought another way for the company to survive.

In December 2013, HKTV acquired a mobile TV licence and the spectrum needed to broadcast, and planned to launch services on 1 July 2014. However, in March 2014, the government refused to accept HKTV's technical proposal on the deployment of DTMB, the mobile TV standard deployed in China.[19] Such matter was brought to court for further judgment.

Despite all these, Wong's actions made him to be named Radio Hong Kong's Icon of the Year in 2013.[20]

In February 2015, Wong leads HKTV to seek business opportunities in internet shopping and launched online shopping platform "HKTV Mall". Wong aimed to build the largest and the most diversified in terms of brand names, products and services e-shopping mall in Hong Kong, providing one-stop shop & 24 X 7 services.[21]

HKTV Mall has lost HK$200 million a year within its two-year operation. [22] In October 2016, Wong launched a physical store of HKTV Mall in North Point to boost its online shopping business, targeted to its 1.23 million registered subscribers.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Ricky Wong has a daughter and a son.

Ricky Wong is also a columnist with articles published in the largest local free newspapers The Headline and major financial newspaper Hong Kong Economic Times and its free newspaper arm The SkyPost.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Ricky Wong plans to run for LegCo seat". Retrieved 2016-05-17. 
  2. ^ "HKTV's Ricky Wong eyeing Legco seat: report - RTHK". news.rthk.hk. Retrieved 2016-05-17. 
  3. ^ "HKTV's Ricky Wong plans to run in Legco elections, with CY Leung's exit as key campaign platform". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2016-05-17. 
  4. ^ Kong, Ashley (2016-07-04). "Ricky Wong announces Legco candidacy". Harbour Times. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  5. ^ "Ricky Wong to contest Island seat". Retrieved 2016-07-19. 
  6. ^ "Home - Ricky Wong Wai Kay". Official campaign site of Ricky for Hong Kong 2016 Legislative Council Election. Retrieved 2016-07-19. 
  7. ^ Ricky Wong, Chairman and Co-founder, City Telecom
  8. ^ Ricky Wong builds Hong Kong’s 21st century network
  9. ^ http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/global/asiapac/news/2005/pr_02-01.html
  10. ^ http://www.allbusiness.com/media-telecommunications/data-transmission-broadband/7322542-1.html
  11. ^ http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2009/11/13/lessons-from-the-land-of-cheap-broadband/
  12. ^ "Ricky Wong, Chairman Awarded Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 China for Telecom Category - Business - Press Releases - MSNBC". MSNBC. 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  13. ^ South China Morning Post. "Ricky Wong resigns from ATV". Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  14. ^ South China Morning Post. "Cha was the man behind the scenes of soap opera at ATV". Retrieved on 24 December 2008.
  15. ^ South China Morning Post. "Wong exit shows no two tigers can co-exist". Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  16. ^ The Standard (HK). "The Standard.com Archived 13 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine.." Survival Drama. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
  17. ^ a b South China Morning Post. "Outspoken, and out of a job". Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  18. ^ "Ricky Wong abandons free-TV dream for digital one with HKTV relaunch". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "Ofca's Eliza Lee slams HKTV's Ricky Wong amid mobile television row". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "HKTV's Ricky Wong wins big in annual Icon of the Year poll". South China Morning Post. 30 December 2013. 
  21. ^ "HKTV boss Ricky Wong Wai-kay planning mobile-TV shopping channel". South China Morning Post. 24 April 2014. 
  22. ^ "HKTV mall loss-making". The Standard. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 
  23. ^ "HKTV launches online shopping operation". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 

References[edit]