Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco
Hong Kong
Building Development Teams in Hong Kong is a Viable Option for Bay Area Tech Companies

Do tech companies’ engineering teams have to be based in Silicon Valley?  Some Bay Area entrepreneurs said it doesn’t have to be.  Flexport, Clover Health and HomeCourt all have development teams offshore.  And it works!

On March 10, senior executives from these companies shared their success stories and experience via an online panel discussion, hosted at the office of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco.  Online audience from the United States to Asia joined the event, “How to Build an Offshore Development Team” where the panel discussed how they are successfully building their companies ‘engineering teams offshore, in Hong Kong.

At the event, Chien-Liang Chou, Vice President of Engineering at Flexport; Andrew Toy, President and Chief Technology Officer at Clover Health; and Philip Lam, Co-Founder of HomeCourt shared a wide spectrum of practical experience and gave insights and tips on the hiring process, managing teams in different time zones, and building company culture and cohesiveness among locations. 

“The number one problem of almost every Silicon Valley entrepreneur is finding engineers and keeping up with the competitive salary, bonuses and stock packages competitors offer in the area,” said Edith Yeung, General Partner at Proof of Capital, who moderated the event. It doesn’t have to be that way. These Bay Area companies have successfully built highly qualified engineering teams offshore without the crippling financial burdens of hiring locally.

Chien-Liang Chou explained that Flexport’s success in hiring offshore starts by building a clear and strong hiring template. “We send team members from headquarters to interview potential new candidates to ensure the same standard is met across all employees and locations,” he said. The panelists also explained that having landing team on site at their offshore locations is key to successful team building among locations. When new members are hired, the landing team sets the company’s culture and processes, which creates cohesiveness throughout the company, the panelists said.  They also shared tips on cross team discussions and how to take advantage of the talent skills both in the U.S. and Hong Kong.

The March 10 event was supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco and FoundersHK, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with the mission to build Hong Kong as the next tech hub of the world.  FoundersHK connects the tech community in both Silicon Valley and Hong Kong.

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