With the Government announcing the expansion of the Youth Hostel Scheme in the Policy Address issued in October, and encouraging hotels and non-governmental organizations to convert into youth hostels and providing living subsidy to eligible youths in Hong Kong, attention is increasing on the prospect of co-living sector as a solution for easing the unmet housing demands in Hong Kong.
Established in 2012, Contented Living aims at providing comfortable yet affordable co-living spaces for university students. By revitalising the squandered space of vacant or run-down old buildings in urban area and turning them into a stylish co-living accommodation, Contented Living is now offering 500 plus bed spaces for young professionals and oversea students in the past 10 years. Unlike most co-living projects in Hong Kong, Contented Living supplies a diversified portfolio of accommodation options. There are typical rooms with ensuite bathrooms, and also single and shared rooms with shared bathrooms. All residents can enjoy a common living room, kitchen and other amenities. Such co-living arrangement helps reduce the rental cost substantially to around HK$3700 to HK$6200/ month per person and thus exemplify the core values of co-living.
“At first we were positioning as student dormitories for overseas students, hoping to make their lives easier during their stay in Hong Kong,” recalled Venny Chan, the Co-founder and Executive Director of Contented Living. “It was not until the business was run for a while that we found an increasing demand for housing by expats and local youths, so we started repositioning our student dorms into co-living spaces to cater the needs of the younger generation with different backgrounds. We hope our guests here could meet new friends and diversify their social network; alongside have greater incentive to settle down here in Hong Kong.”
Contented Living has recently secured Series A fund raising from two social impact funds, Social Impact Partner and Gravity Capital Partners. The funding will be used to accelerate Contented Living’s growth in the local co-living sector. The unique company vision of Contented Living as providing affordable youth housing through revitalising the idle accommodation resources is believed to be bringing tremendous positive impacts to the environment, society, and economy in Hong Kong.
Turning Hong Kong into a more liveable place
Social Impact Partners (SIP) is a Hong Kong-based venture philanthropy firm, aiming to help growth-stage social purpose organisations to develop the sustainability and scalability that needed to achieve organisational maturity. SIP sees the huge potential environmental and social impacts in Contented Living. “With its professional co-living management, Contented Living could help relieving the acute housing problems in Hong Kong.” commented Lillian Li, the Executive Director of SIP. “The business model of Contented Living also aligns with our advocacy for environmental protection and business sustainability, for example, its management service could help extend the life of furniture and large electrical appliances to 5 years or more. This practice, though sounds small, can certainly promote a greener lifestyle.”
Retaining talents in Hong Kong
The venture capital tech-based fund Gravity Capital Partners (Gravity) also specialises in steering investment for bringing positive impacts to society and the environment. Dr. Alan Lam, Managing Partner & CTO of Gravity added, “There are more overseas students coming to Hong Kong in recent years. By helping them to settle down and establishing their own social network within a co-living environment, it would be a motivation for those young professionals to stay and develop their career in Hong Kong. I believe the service provided by Contented Living would have great long-term impact in retaining talents in Hong Kong.”
As planned by Venny, Contented Living will utilitize the funding to upgrade the booking platform and property management app so as to enhance the efficiency and promote smart management service. Additionally, more new co-living projects would be launched in the coming year.
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