Michael Cheung Pak-kei, 31, has known both academic failure and business success over the years. His failure in the HKCEE (the former version of the HKDSE) pushed him to move forward and become an expert in multimedia. Now the annual income of his production company Ani Motion is more than HK$1 million. Young Post caught up with Cheung to learn more about his life of ups and downs.
Growing up on Cheung Chau, he studied at the same primary school as Hong Kong’s “Queen of the Wind”, Lee Lai-shan. But after primary school, he had to put up with a one-hour ferry journey twice a day to study at Rosaryhill School in Wan Chai. His long daily grind, going back and forth between Cheung Chau and Wan Chai, did not help him in the exams.
Studying science, Cheung scored only eight marks in the HKCEE out of a possible 30. He then decided to pursue further studies in video production. However, his plan for an associate degree didn’t go the way he imagined.
“I wanted to learn video production so I thought the Creative and Interactive Media Production course at the Community College of City University could help,” says Cheung. “But it ended up not teaching me about video at all.”
“But I knew that if I wanted to pursue further studies in video production, I needed to build a portfolio. So during my time on the associate degree, I set aside a lot of time to take part in different video production competitions organised by companies or the government. I won some prizes, including championships, as well.”
Later Cheung entered the School of Creative Media at City University to learn more about video and animation. Graduating in 2011, Cheung was invited by his professor to participate in a big project about Dunhuang.
“Our team was tasked to digitalise canvas paintings from Dunhuang, in Gansu province. The project went viral, gaining huge attention from the public. Even now, our products still appear in many museums when they feature Dunhuang.”
But at the same time, his own multimedia start-up faltered and he ended up losing HK$100,000, his entire starting capital.
“Within a month, I lost all my start-up funds because of my lack of business management skills,” he says. Despite this setback, he did not give up.
“Then I moved my office from San Po Kong to Innocentre in Kowloon Tong with the help of the government,” he recalls. “I was offered a rent discount and knowledge support, especially in the area of business management. So now my company is running smoothly.”
This summer, Cheung is working with Telford Plaza in Kowloon Bay on a virtual reality (VR) project called Telford Plaza Multi-Sensory Summer Wave. He is creating VR jet skis for shoppers to ride on and take pictures.
“I didn’t learn about VR from school but from work,” Cheung says. “Virtual reality started to hit the city last year so a lot of my potential clients, especially shopping malls, hope to do VR projects to interact with their shoppers. So I started to learn about VR creation.”
There are many challenges when learning about VR. “Virtual reality is in 360 degrees. It is similar to a dice which has six surfaces,” Cheung explains. “Though it is hard to learn and time-consuming, I need to move forward to cater to the market.”
Cheung says moving forward is important for students, too. “I only got eight marks in the HKCEE but I still ended up doing well. The key is to give it a try. Combine your passion and your dedication, and you will never go too far off track.”
Multi-Sensory Summer Wave is at Telford Plaza until September 3