For Hongkongers who are traveling abroad or foreigners visiting Hong Kong, the best foreign exchange rates could be found by using a mobile app.

Local technology startup HyperAir provides a “travel money search engine” that enables users to find the money exchange shop with the best offer through its website and mobile application.

Founded by Lee Ka-to and Leung Jock-hei, HyperAir allows users to compare the real-time exchange rate offers of various money exchange shops.

Users can then choose the shop with the best offer and reserve the amount of currency needed on the app.

Once the customer submits the exchange request, the exchange shop will receive a notification from the app and decide to accept the order.

When the order is confirmed by the system, the customer will then be notified via email or the mobile app.

The customer can go to the designated exchange shop and scan the QR code upon arrival to finish the transaction.

“[Using the HyperAir platform] saves users lots of time from checking rates and queuing at the shop,” the duo told the Hong Kong Economic Journal in an interview.

“Comparing foreign currency exchange rates is a nuisance, and [normally] you need to call the exchange shop or a bank to reserve in advance the amount of foreign currency needed,” Leung said.

“But we know the new generation is not used to making phone calls for things like this, so our mobile app is a great fit for them.”

The platform integrates exchange rate data from 23 local money shops, covering real-time exchange rates of 12 foreign currencies, including the euro, Japanese yen, US dollar, and Taiwanesedollar.

HyperAir said it carefully selects its partners and only works with licensed banks and currency exchange service operators.

The duo admitted during the interview that it is a challenge to invite exchange shops aboard. “They are used to take exchange requests and orders by phone or SMS, and they are not sure if an app-based platform can really bring business to them. So some shops tend to join the platform once it has got on track.”

After receiving a HK$100,000 subsidy from the Cyberport Creative Micro Fund (CCMF), the duo added it to their HK$200,000 self-financed capital and launched the HyperAir mobile app in August.

As for now, the mobile app is free to download.

In the long run, the startup plans to deploy new technologies like big data analytics and artificial intelligence in analyzing users’ travel habits and consumer behavior, which will be used in offering travel-related products such as mobile SIM cards, travel insurance and local tours.

The full article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 29

Translation by Ben Ng


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