Wed, Feb 22, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Hotel smartphone leaser Tink Labs plans big expansion

LOCAL LINKS:The firm aims to start offering its services in Taiwan in the next two months, with a goal of being in 10,000 hotel rooms at year’s end

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Start-up handset leasing service provider Tink Labs wants to have more than 3 million units installed in hotel rooms worldwide by the end of this year on roubust demand for free voice service and Internet connection, a company executive said yesterday.

That would be a 30-fold increase, given that the Hong Kong-based firm, which Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團) has invested in, currently has more than 100,000 smartphones in hotel rooms in 30 cities — including London, Paris and Rome.

“By year’s end, we hope to expand our services to more than 100 cities around the world, with 3 million hotel rooms having our Handy phones,” Akina Ho (胡芯), an executive vice president of Tink Labs’ hospitality business, told a media briefing in Taipei.

“We even have staff in Egypt,” she said.

Given the expansion plans, Tink Labs’ headcount might triple from its current 300 employees, she said.

Tink Labs, founded by 24-year-old Terence Kwok (郭頌賢) in 2012, offers free voice calls, including international calls and Internet access, as well as hotels’ service details and local activities via its “Hhandy” smartphone.

It counts Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt and W Hotel among its partners.

Tink Labs charges hotels telecom and service fees, but its major revenue source is advertisements, Ho said.

Tink Tabs sourced a large chunk of its devices from InFocus Inc (富可視), which has them made by Foxconn, Ho said.

With Foxconn’s acquisition of Sharp Corp last year, Tink Tabs plans to introduce more Sharp handsets from the middle of this year, she said.

The company plans to offer its services in Taiwan late next month or early April, Ho said, adding that it aims to have its Handy phones in 10,000 hotel rooms in this nation by the end of this year.

Tink Labs is working with Asia Pacific Telecom Co (亞太電信), Foxconn Technology Group’s telecom arm, to provide voice calls and Internet connection services for hotels in Taiwan, Ho said.

Foxconn invested US$135 million in the start-up via its handset manufacturing subsidiary FIH Mobile Ltd (富智康), making it the largest investor in Tink Labs.

Sinovation Ventures (創新工廠), the investment firm of ex-Google China head Lee Kaifu (李開復), and Cai Wensheng (蔡文勝), chairman of Chinese selfie app developer and smartphone maker Meitu Inc (美圖) are also investors.

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