At Shanzhai City, our mission is to alleviate poverty and promote community development through tech solutions that enhance the accessibility and reliability of high-quality impact data.
This supports the unimpeded flow of capital into worthy projects and ensures beneficiaries access to the data they need to control their futures.
Shanzhai City is a Hong Kong-based social enterprise and start-up. We have a deep store of community development and IT solutions development expertise, which we incorporate into tech solutions that benefit communities and support investment.
Founded in 2015, we have since expanded to Shenzhen and San Francisco. This geographic distribution offers us easy access to Chinese social purpose organizations and the international impact investing and tech development communities. It is also the perfect platform from which to pursue expansion in developing regions worldwide.
Every one of us at Shanzhai City is enthusiastic about bringing positive change to people’s lives. We do so by combining expertise in community building, data science, education, strategic planning, business design, urban and rural development and social impact metrics.
Our vision stems, in large part, from the work of our founders, Tat Lam and Chris Gee, who have been working for the past decade to enrich the community development landscape by incorporating the positive aspects of China’s “shanzhai” culture — creativity, innovation and bottom-up action.
Tat Lam — Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Tat Lam founded Shanzhai City after over a decade of work in urban, informal, and village developments throughout China. There, he observed a pressing need for social development approaches that could address market and policy failures in rapidly developing countries.
Tat is a China development expert, having directed Urbanus Research Bureau, a China-based urban development think tank. He also worked as a development project consultant to private and government entities such as public agencies, municipal urban planning commissions, Vanke Group, Poly Real Estate Development, and grassroots community development organizations in rural and urban China.
Chris Gee — Chief Operating Officer
Chris Gee has spent 20 years in the non-profit sector, applying his expertise in urban studies, filmmaking and ethnographic research to community building, media empowerment, and education projects in the developing world. For almost a decade, he has collaborated with Tat Lam in China, with their joint work inspiring the creation of Shanzhai City.
Chris' experience includes work as the Creative Director of the 2013 Hong Kong-Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. He has also served as Media Director at Urbanus Research Labs, and as Adjunct Assistant Professor for Urban Design Thesis at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Nicos Kekchidis — Chief Architect
Nicos Kekchidis is an expert at building scalable distributed computing and cloud analytics platforms that incorporate the ideals of modern data science. He is particularly talented when it comes to the adoption of cutting edge tools, solutions and processes.
Nicos has over 20 years of product development and consulting experience, providing input on enterprise application integration, cloud management, and data science. His previous work at start-ups such as Tibco, Vitira, and ClearApp along with his work for established companies such as HP and Oracle have provided him with an appreciation for data science innovation and solid project management skills.
Howie Chan — Director of Growth
Howie Chan develops future initiatives at Shanzhai City. Through his work, the company's impact investment and social entrepreneurial networks come to life. Particularly, he has built relationships with organizations such as World Kindness China and impact investment funds, as well as national foundations with poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and early childhood development missions.
Howie previously served as Director of Operations for Aleybo, a division of King’s Flair, a publicly traded company. In this operations role, he led product design, branding, and marketing, and developed strategies for building, operating and supporting the company’s 100-plus retail outlets, online store, and mobile platform.
Peter Ko — Director of Finance
Peter Ko brings seven years of mainstream finance and corporate experience and an intense interest in social impact to Shanzhai City. He develops corporate strategies to grow the company into a more holistic and visionary business that combines a strong social mission with adaptation to the contemporary financial system.
Previously, he worked as an Investment Director at Elliott Management Corporation, a global multi-strategy hedge fund. There, he was responsible for Asia-Pacific investments, focusing on shareholder activism, event driven and special situation strategies. He has also worked as an Associate at the Investment Banking Department of NM Rothschild & Sons.
Tim Lin — Director of Product
Tim Lin strives to expand Shanzhai City’s business and corporate governance capacity in China. His extensive research on tools for social impact assessment and knowledge of China’s social realities inform his fieldwork and analysis of project impact in the country.
Over the past ten years, Tim has been devoted to applying design thinking to business. Previously, he was an Assistant Manager in the landscape and urban design practice of a renowned Chinese architectural firm, where he helped major regional property groups explore new design possibilities.
Jessica Cheung — Senior Solution Architect
Jessica develops social innovation solutions, urban development metrics and impact measurement strategies at Shanzhai City. She is a domain expert specialized in creating resilient developmental models for grassroots communities. She is also a faculty member at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she teaches an urban innovation seminar.
Jessica has previous experience as a senior designer and project manager of multiple large scale urban design projects in China, for which she researched and developed resilient and sustainable models of urban-rural co-development.
Ye Lei — Administrative Manager
Ye Lei is responsible for media, business and marketing development at Shanzhai City. She received Master of Social Science in Media Management from Hong Kong Baptist University.
Harris Lee — Full Stack Engineer
Harris Lee has a fervent interest in helping underserved communities, which he combines with a business and engineering background to develop software for Shanzhai City.
Prior to joining Shanzhai City, he worked as a software development instructor in San Francisco. He has also led a team in developing an educational program for underserved teenagers in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Zheng Ting — Urban Development Researcher
Zheng Ting contributes her experience in urban design and planning as an Assistant Development Consultant at Shanzhai City.
She has worked for the Shenzhen Urban Planning and Land Resources Research Centre, a Shenzhen government-backed think tank and planning organization; the Urban Planning and Design Institute of Shanghai's Tongji University; and Lay-Out Planning Consultants, a private urban planning firm.
Brian Leung — Impact Data Analyst
Brian Leung is skilled at data analytics and at designing measures to address related problems. At Shanzhai City, he combines his knowledge of statistical analysis and analytical methodologies with extensive experience visiting rural areas to research the most appropriate impact metrics and impact strategies.
Sandra Tai — Impact Researcher
Sandra Tai builds on Shanzhai City's impact framework through participatory research. Her area of expertise is informal and formal social protections in Southeast and East Asia. Of note, she previously founded a mini design institute in the largest refugee camp in Asia, where she trained young migrants to become decision-makers.
Jia Li — Social Development Researcher
With her background of Communication Studies and Social Development Practice, Jia researches to define impact datafication solutions and empowerment strategies. Jia is an expert of fieldwork and ethnography, looking for social need through the lens of everyday life. She was a volunteer in the slum of Nepal, managed the education projects of left-behind children, and conducted social research in China and Brazil.
Xu Min — Impact Researcher
Xu Min holds a Master degree of Social Work from Fudan University. She has studied and worked in social service and social innovation domain for twelve years. The projects mainly relate to the education of children and youth, women empowerment, community organization, volunteer training and post disaster reconstruction. Her working experience includes well-known NGO, social investment platform, social enterprise and foundations in China. To be a better impact solution designer and communicator, she hopes to integrate the past experience and utilize her comprehensive ability.
Doreena Deng — Data Solution Researcher
Doreena is responsible for developing data solutions for clients and end-beneficiary users. She is an expert of social science research. She received her master degree in Health Inequalities and Public Policy at University of Edinburgh. She has worked in medical incident management and patient safety culture at the University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Hospital. She also worked in food bank in Scotland and served orphanage in Moldova.
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