ON THE CASE
Tatler Hong Kong|October 2021
Over the past decade, entrepreneur Wesley Ng has grown Casetify from a part-time passion project to one of the world’s largest tech accessories companies. Now, he is launching a new investment fund to build a global empire
Oliver Giles

ASIA’S MOST STYLISH THE WORD “STYLISH” MEANS SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO EVERYONE.

To some, it conjures up an image of a man decked out in sneakers and slouchy sportswear, while others might think of a woman posing in a sleek gown and flawless diamonds, or someone clad in sharp tailoring. The individuals featured on this year’s Asia’s Most Influential: Style list showcase all of the above and more—they are newcomers and veterans, edgy and classic, maximalist and minimalist, but one thing they all share is an undeniable mix of confidence, sophistication and flair

Wesley Ng was still a primary school student in Hong Kong when he started his first business. “I traded Dragon Ball Z cards. I used to make tonnes of money for a kid—I could buy whatever I wanted, like a Game Boy,” he says, laughing. “So I think the entrepreneurial spirit has always been inside me, but it started small.”

Ng’s ambition has grown since then. The 40-year-old is now the co-founder and CEO of Casetify, the booming tech accessories brand that he established in 2011 with his school friend Ronald Yeung. To date, Casetify has sold more than 25 million phone cases worldwide and collaborated with more than 100 companies, ranging from designer labels such as Moncler and Saint Laurent to corporations like Disney and even museums—most famously the Louvre, which entrusted Casetify to transform the Mona Lisa from the canvas onto iPhone cases, AirPod holders, water bottles and phone chargers.

These partnerships have made the brand a firm favorite of celebrities such as the Kardashians and the Hadids, and have also attracted huge media attention, marking the business out as a start-up to watch in Asia. Casetify is privately owned and Ng has never publicly discussed revenue, but a recent investment gives some idea of the company’s value: in June, Adrian Cheng, executive vice-chairman and CEO of New World Development invested an undisclosed eight-figure US dollar sum in Casetify in exchange for a nearly ten percent stake.

So, as Casetify celebrates its tenth anniversary this month, Ng says he feels proud of everything his team has achieved so far—and is excited about what’s to come. “It is a big moment for us,” he says. “Now we’re at this mark, we have the luxury to do things we didn’t do in the past, which is expanding into different products, into different verticals, different business models. I have a lot of ideas.”

Casetify itself came into being as the result of a very simple idea: that the iPhone was a great product, but the cases on the market were subpar. “When Steve Jobs gave his first keynote about the iPhone, in 2007, I thought, ‘Wow, this device is going to change the world,” says Ng. “But phone cases back then were all bulky and ugly. There was no style whatsoever.”

Ng knew he could do better. He was born and grew up in Hong Kong but moved to Australia to finish secondary school and study communication design at university, where he learned about 3D animation, film, graphic design, and more. “I’ve always been into art and design—I was always creative,” he says. “And I wanted a phone case that expresses who I am. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could turn all my Instagram pictures into a customised phone case?’”

Casetify—which first was called Casetagram—was born. “It was an interplay between software and hardware because we had to design the case and figure out the logistics of manufacturing, but at the same time we had to code our own app,” he says. “Our app was the first and the only one back then to let you customize your phone case with your Instagram photos.” International press including The New York Times, TechCrunch, and Mashable picked up the story, hailing it as an innovative product. “We still had full-time jobs, so after work, I was working with Ron on coding, design, shipping, and answering all these customer service emails,” Ng says. “Those were the days—I was super tired, but it was super fulfilling.” From the start, Yeung has overseen everything related to technology, while Ng manages product design, branding and marketing.

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