KOS Sharing Series: Hong Kong’s First Publicly Listed Recruitment Consultancy

07 Nov 08:00 by Winnie Choi

Kps 1200

With foresight and a dedicated talent pool, pace-setters were able to take a recruitment consultancy public.

The popular Chinese expression, “there is strength in brotherhood”, is true for Eddie and Jackson Chan, the identical twin brothers who co-founded KOS International Holdings Limited (KOS)—a professional recruitment consultancy. Equipped with years of practical experience, they have built a massive network of human resources, and have capitalized on the changing demand among today’s corporate clients for talent. In less than ten years, KOS has become the first GEM-listed recruitment consultancy in Hong Kong, and is continuing to expand its market presence throughout the region.


Creating a win-win situation with a three-pillar concept and tapping into market opportunities.

According to a survey, over 70% of employers in Hong Kong expressed challenges in recruiting suitable talent. Interestingly, another report which was released around the same period, found that approximately 80% of the surveyed employees intended to change jobs. This highly-polarised situation of human resources means that the needs of employers and employees can no longer be met by simply matching candidates with clients. Based on a profound understanding of multiple industries, KOS has built a network of human resources on a strong, three-pillar framework, encompassing clients, consultants, and candidates. To achieve a win-win outcome, KOS, with their service-oriented consultancy team, is dedicated to seeking suitable talent for clients and actively supporting the development of candidates in the workplace.

Prior to co-founding KOS, the Chan brothers both worked in the banking industry. They later joined locally-renowned job board, where they gained invaluable experience in building customer relationships and developing human resources. It was at this point that they came up with the idea of starting their own business. To help pave the way, Eddie and Jackson switched to a multinational HR consultancy group to broaden their horizons. During the financial crisis of 2008, amid widespread panic and anxiety, the brothers turned crisis into opportunity by establishing KOS in early 2009.


Building a team of trust for pragmatic business development.

With a great deal of work experience in HR consultancies, Eddie and Jackson are familiar with the operational and sales skills required for practitioners, as well as the development of the HR industry. However, as young men of the 80s, they are creative and ambitious when it comes to entrepreneurship. As such, they looked beyond the existing framework and decided to run KOS with an entirely new approach. The brothers were keenly aware of their strengths and limitations during the founding of KOS. Therefore, they invited their eldest brother, Kevin Chan—who is also a  successful entrepreneur—to provide his advice on the strategic aspects of KOS to ensure a “down-to-earth” approach for business operations. With a creative mind, Kevin played an important role in bringing new ideas to the company. Later, Kevin called upon his close former schoolmate, Raymond Chow, to set up an integrated IT system for the company. Built on brotherly trust and support, a strong team was formed, with clearly-defined responsibilities among the four senior executives.

Reflecting on the importance of family values and the company’s founders, the name KOS is derived from the initials of the Chan brothers. Eddie and Jackson, as sales professionals, fully understand the impact of excessive stress on work and family life. As such, they advocate a healthy work-life balance in the company. Compared with other multinational companies that put a premium on socialisation, KOS is dedicated to building trust with customers in a professional and practical manner.

In addition, as a recruitment consultancy, KOS values the relationship between a company and its employees. Both Eddie and Jackson regard their staff members as their partners and respect the cooperation and opinions of their entire team. As a result, KOS has developed a strong sense of comradery and fighting spirit, which, coupled with a can-do spirit, has helped to generate a flurry of innovative and implementable ideas.


Recruiting the best talent from various industries and planning the way forward.

After several years of hard work and dedication, KOS has managed to reach a mature stage. The two founders consider this as the right time to move towards bigger goals. To enhance the company's market competitiveness, Eddie and Jackson first invited Connie Au, who previously held a senior position at a multinational recruitment agency, to serve as the managing director of KOS. Later, Jackson invited his previous mentor, Louisa Yeung—reputed as “Wonder Woman” in the HR recruitment industry—to join the company as CEO.

In recent years, cities such as Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau under the "Greater Bay Area Initiate" have been experiencing rapid growth. The number of high-end talent shortage in engineering, technology, finance, commerce, and trade has reached a staggering 90%. Experienced professionals are continuously being imported into Hong Kong, but there is still a short supply in the market. With the rapid development of the Greater Bay Area and the increasing demand for talent in mainland China, KOS will actively explore opportunities to expand its business into the mainland market.

Approaching 2019, KOS will be celebrating its 10th anniversary. The most notable news is that KOS has successfully been publicly listed, and the company’s talent database and customer networks in Hong Kong and Macau are growing steadily.  KOS will actively expand its operations to the Greater Bay Area. Looking forward, Louisa will further enhance the management efficiency and development of the team with her outstanding leadership and extensive experience.

Over the next few months, we will continue to share our journey, and the milestones of establishing KOS Staffing and KOS China. In 2019, we will also discuss our advancement outside of Hong Kong. Stay tuned to our KOS Sharing Series for more exciting news and updates in 2019.