Valet self-storage businesses are among the recent startups poised to capitalize on the growing micro-living trend in the Hong Kong market, according to a report by “Gulf News.” With 20-square-meter apartments fetching as much as HK$4.5 million, many young professionals are opting to live in so-called micro-apartments, which have little living space and even less storage. Colliers estimates three-quarters of Hong Kong’s apartments lack dedicated storage space, the source reported, giving credence to valet-storage services and other businesses, such as suitcase rentals.
Valet-storage investors and operators in the region are banking that services such as by-the-bin storage, home pickup and delivery, and online inventory-management will catch on with those living in dense urban areas without adequate home storage.
The Hong Kong market has attracted several valet-storage operators. Competitors include Boxful, Go N Live, Klosit, Spacebox Ltd., StuffGenie Ltd. and Vault Dragon. Hongkong Storage, a traditional self-storage operator with 15 facilities in the region, also offers pickup and delivery services through its Yes-Storage program.
Boxful has raised $8.1 million from investors since January and, as of April, had stored 3,500 boxes with growth projected month to month, the source reported. Services start at about HK$49 per month. “Most of our customers have never used self-storage before, and that is unexpected but very encouraging because we’re creating a new market,” said founder Norman Cheung.
Spacebox has 500 current customers and is projecting 5,000 by the end of the year, co-founder Stuart Cerne told the source. The entrepreneur believes the valet-storage business model will create economies of scale as operators will need to acquire more warehouse storage space to accommodate the rising number of residential customers.
“We’re thinking about expanding internationally from next year, and we’re looking at Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing in China,” Cerne said. Other markets targeted for Spacebox expansion may also include Bangkok; Jakarta, Indonesia; Manila, Philippines; and Tokyo.
Another startup business, Rent-a-Suitcase, leases upscale suitcases from HK$68 per day and has served 300 customers since launching in October 2014, according to the source. “Prices are rising all the time, and apartments are getting smaller by the day,” said founder Rachel Cheung. “A suitcase takes up a huge amount of space at home, but doesn’t get used that often.”