Hong Kong’s Leading Domestic Chores Mobile App ‘Agentbong’,  Launches to Help Busy Singaporeans

Agentbong mascot and model for cleaning services

Agentbong mascot and model

SINGAPORE, 15 March 2016 – Agentbong, Hong Kong’s leading domestic chores mobile app, has officially launched in Singapore. Started by a group of young tech entrepreneurs from Hong Kong in 2015, Agentbong – with Bong meaning “help” in Cantonese (“帮”) – provides an online, app-based marketplace where homeowners can hire vetted domestic helpers for their unique household needs. On top of cleaning services, the company also provides services for cooking, grocery shopping, babysitting, eldercare services and even pet-sitting.

Tale of Two Cities

In Hong Kong, Agentbong leads the market with over 20,000 downloads and 2,000 job matches per month – the most of any home service matching service. Agent Bong saw a similar need for domestic helpers in Singapore.

“As life in Singapore grows increasingly hectic, homeowners often struggle with household chores after a long day at work. Many homeowners are also looking for alternatives to live-in domestic help, yet require the same level of assurance that the household chores will be done well,” said Mr Sam Ng, Co-Founder of Agentbong, “Young couples who value privacy, and expat families who are less inclined to full-time domestic helpers and who are looking for a live-out nanny will be attracted by our services.”

Clean with a Click

Customers complete an in-app form stating the services they require, frequency and timing. They are then matched with helpers whose profiles include a photo, experience and any relevant qualifications, on top of their availability. Once a service is requested by the user, the helper is also required to accept the job on their end. Homeowners choose the domestic helper who best meets their needs, instead of a randomly assigned helper, providing a level of quality control. Agentbong believes that the additional services they provide are especially relevant to Singapore’s growing number of dual-income households1 and an ageing population2. About 20 percent of the job requests in Singapore include non-cleaning services; with about ten per cent requesting for cooking; eight per cent for running errands such as shopping; and two per cent for pet-sitting. In Hong Kong, requests extend into babysitting (10%) and confinement (10%).

Social Enterprise

“We created Agentbong to extend help in any way possible, akin to the role of a full-time domestic helper who covers more than just household chores,” added Mr Ng. “We will continue to survey the market needs and at the same time recruit helpers who can meet customers’ requests.”

The service currently works with a team of over 150 helpers providing a wide variety of services. This includes stay-at- home mothers and students, who benefit from an additional income. All of Agentbong’s helpers are either Singaporeans or Permanent Residents. Agentbong screens them by ensuring that they have the appropriate skills and experience through in-person interviews. The company has also added licensed nurses to its team, to support customers who require eldercare services.

In Hong Kong, Agentbong already serves 8,000 customers. It has completed approximately 60,000 hours of jobs since its official launch in August last year. With its official launch in Singapore, Agentbong hopes to increase the number of matches; and recruit even more helpers to respond to respective customer needs.

1 Opening Speech by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development, At The Second Reading of The Women’s Charter (Amendment) Bill 2016, In Parliament, 29 Feb 2016, Ministry of Social and Family Development

Changing Family Trends http://app.msf.gov.sg/Press-Room/Opening- Speech-by- Mr-Tan- Chuan-Jin- Minister-for- Social-and- Family-Development- At-The-Second-Reading- of-The- Womens-Charter- Amendment-Bill- 2016-In- Parliament-29- Feb-2016

2 General Household Survey 2015, Statistics Singapore http://www.singstat.gov.sg/publications/publications-and- papers/GHS/ghs2015