BOSN talks to... Coffee Pang

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I am a born and bred Hongkonger, although I have spent time working in Singapore and Greater China. I originally got into the events and marketing space because I loved organising things and I had a talent for storytelling.

Much of my career has been working in sports and events and over the years I’ve come to realise I am extremely passionate about developing the industry.

I have been very fortunate to be involved in a number of big scale initiatives, spanning across adventure sports competitions, live shows, art exhibitions and auctions, industry conferences, as well as international sporting events. In recent years, my focus has been on the management of sponsorship portfolios and event marketing for international brands in mainland China and across the Asia Pacific. I joined the Formula E team in Hong Kong in the summer of 2018.

What brought you back to Hong Kong after your stint working abroad?

Family, friends and food! After being away for some time I got a different perspective on the place I called home. I took all the amazing things about this city for granted before I went away.

How has your experience working in other mega events in APAC region helped you evolve the Formula E concept?

I think evolution was inevitable, but for me it was a case of making sure the event evolved in the right way. Now in its third year, we are continually changing the offering, and improving the format of the event, to keep things fresh and appealing to both Formula E fans as well as the general public. To begin with we didn’t really know who our audience was, or what they wanted from the event, but we’ve been able to tap into our international experience to develop a compelling race day experience for visitors. I wanted to focus on telling the Formula E story in a powerful and impactful way and build upon the legacy created in the first two years. People are naturally inquisitive and interested in creating a more sustainable planet so for us, it’s about using the race as a platform to educate people on the future of EV.

Formula E is a complex event, what are the main challenges for the organising team?

Yes, it is very complex! Just confirming a suitable date with the Government to close the road was a challenge. There are so many stakeholders, all with different views, so it’s our job to work with them and bring them all on to the same page. Strong communication between key groups, such as Government, corporate sponsors and vendors, is absolutely vital. It’s my role to provide a platform to ensure everyone's point of view is heard and we use the right expertise to overcome challenges.

We are an international team working across different time zones which is a challenge in itself, especially when things have to happen yesterday ;-) But we are lucky to have such a professional team that is passionate and determined and we have the common goal of creating an unforgettable experience for our fans around the world. It’s challenging, but when everything comes together, and you see smiles on the guests faces, it’s worth it!

The format of the race has changed this year, tell us about that.

In the first two years, the Hong Kong race kicked off the FIA Formula E Championship in October and December respectively. They were also Double-Header races meaning drivers had two separate chances compete and rack up points for the Championship ahead. In March, we will be the fifth race of the season (of 13) on 10 March, followed by race 6 in Sanya just two weeks after.

Since we are now a one-day event, spectators will enjoy a more action-packed day programme, which will be announced shortly. In addition, the E-Village is being significantly extended with more enhanced content for families, and those who are curious about sustainable mobility. Stay tuned to to find out more in the coming weeks!

What new elements should we look out for at this year’s event?

The Gen2 car and the Attack Mode are definitely the key new on-track elements to look out for this year. The Gen2 car, probably the most futuristic and chic looking vehicle on the planet, made its FIA Formula E Championship debut this season, and it’s already proved popular with fans and teams alike. Attack Mode, gives drivers a burst of energy at a particular part of the track, will thrill fans, especially because when this is activated because the side of the car lights up! These fun elements not only offer the teams more to leverage on strategy and energy management, but they also provide a better experience for fans.  

Do you think there is appetite to host more auto events in Hong Kong?

There is appetite for sure. Yes Hong Kong is a small city where most people use public transport, rather than owning cars, but that is not to say Hongkongers aren’t big car lovers. We just need the right venues to host top-class auto races. But even though there’s strong interest from followers of the series, the Hong Kong races needs to appeal to other groups - families, young couples etc and to do that our hospitality and village areas have to be compelling to event seekers looking for unique and interesting experiences to spend their weekends, and boast about it on social media! We already see a lot of car brand sponsored events and I think the right people just need to come together, brainstorm, and look for the right opportunities. I was involved with Top Gear Live in Hong Kong back in 2008, a car exhibition cum car stunt performance hosted by Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, and it was so well received. We moved on 10 years, so I can only see the interest for auto events increasing.

What’s your plan for after the Hong Kong race?

To take a nice long break, that’s for sure! We’ll be supporting the first edition of the Sanya E-Prix as it will take place a few weeks after Hong Kong. Then we’ll be back to preparing for the following season!

Can you tell us a bit about future plans for Formula E in the Asia Pacific region?

For sure, there are global plans to host races in more cities in the Greater China region and across Asia. Just this season, Asia has increased from one race (Hong Kong) to three (Ad Diriyah, Hong Kong, and Sanya) and as someone based in Hong Kong, of course I would like to see that number grow. Recently FEO has been in discussion with JSM Holdings to bring Formula E to Seoul from 2020. So endless possibilities!