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Making platforms to tap, swipe and learn

Felix Fan has no interest in teaching, but his expertise when it comes to developing apps could be one of the next big things in education.

Fan has long had an interest in developing apps. When he was in his first year at university, he started going to various app-development competitions to build his CV as an app developer. "I had participated in events at Cyberport and the Hong Kong Science Park that helped connect tech start-ups with investors, but without success. Luckily, my uncle set me up with a friend of his who was interested in app development and he became my investor," he says.

After graduating from university this year with a degree in industrial engineering, he wasted no time in establishing his own company - - dedicated to developing education apps. "I chose this sector because it is the fastest growing sector in apps," he says.

In early October, launched its first app - YLE Flash Card - which helps young learners improve their vocabulary. Within a week of its launch, it had been downloaded more than 200 times.

Fan says the company currently relies solely on charging fees for app downloads. For the business to grow, however, he concedes that he needs to come up with other sources of income.

"Later in October, we plan to launch a platform to distribute exam materials through apps on smartphones and tablet computers. Currently, we have several education publishers who have shown interest in us and having them pay us a fee to use the platform will bring us more sustainable income," he says.

Although is based in Hong Kong, Fan does not see the city as a major market because of the limited e-learning opportunities in schools. "Schools in the US, Australia and South Korea are way ahead of Hong Kong in using tablet computers as a learning tool at school, so they will be the main markets that I serve," he says.

He adds that his company stands out because it focuses on making apps to help students prepare for exams. "I think apps that help students prepare for examinations are attractive to Asian parents who are very concerned about their children's examination scores," he says.

Although he is not yet totally confident that he can build a sustainable business, Fan remains optimistic that he will succeed if he keeps trying. "At this stage, I am not entirely sure how to make the business sustainable. Even if I fail, though, I will walk away with valuable experience and I will keep trying until I become a successful app developer," he says.

Fan praised the efforts of Cyberport and the Hong Kong Science Park for helping tech start-ups. "They give a lot of support to tech start-ups, such as providing free office space. By having the start-ups in one place, it also generates a lot of opportunities for collaboration among different companies, which is vital for the development of new businesses," he says.