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About DiD HK Limited

Co-founded by Patrick Cheung and K K Tse in 2008, Dialogue in the Dark(DiD) is one of the most successful social enterprises in Hong Kong. The 10 ‘Firsts’ of DiD saying that they are the ‘firsts’ in Hong Kong might sound self-congratulating. Suffice it to point out that a) all these ‘firsts’ are objective and verifiablefacts; and b) they are the firsts in terms of time sequence, and do notnecessarily mean the best.



No. 1   Enabling ‘People of Differences’ to showcasetheir talents

Perhaps by far the most important FIRST of DiD is its success increating opportunities for people of differences to showcase their talents.

In the Experiential Exhibition as well as the Executive Workshops,blind people serve as guides and trainers respectively to provide valuable learningexperience for sighted persons.

In most other social enterprises, disabled persons are treated asrecipients of service or assistance; at DiD, however, sighted persons pay for,and benefit from, the innovative service provided by the blind people. DiD alsopioneered the use of the term ‘people of differences’ in place of ‘people withdisabilities’, which is still being widely used in the welfare sector.

DiD HK’s mission statement is “Engagingpeople of differences to create social impact.”


No. 2   Funded by a pool of private capital


19 shareholders collectively raised HK$5.6million of equity to start the company, with no government or philanthropicfunding whatsoever. In Hong Kong, most people have the misconception thatgovernment funding is a prerequisite for social enterprise startup. DiD’ sexperience has proved that it is possible to launch and develop a socialenterprise without government funding support.                      


No.3   Self-sustaining ability


DiD had been able to breakevenin the seventh month of its operation. It became profitable at the end of the second financial year. Up to 2016, ithas already paid over HK$1 million intax – something unheard of among social enterprises in Hong Kong. (As alimited company, DiD’s tax rate is the same as other businesses.)


No.4   Dividends for shareholders


DiD pioneered the use of the ‘three-thirdssystem’ in profit distribution for social enterprises. One third of theprofits is retained in the company for development; another third is donated toDialogue in the Dark Foundation (which supports people of differences torealize their dreams); and the remaining third is distributed to shareholders.


DiD started to pay dividends to the shareholders from the third yearonwards, which is unprecedented in Hong Kong.


No.5   Concert in the Dark – first in theworld

In the first year of DiD’s operation, itcreated the first-ever Concert in theDark in Hong Kong (and the world). Supported by a corporate sponsor (1010),the Concert featured well known local singers. Up to 2016, six Concerts in theDark have been held. The expenses of the operation and promotion of theConcerts have been covered by the sponsor while the proceeds of concertadmission tickets are donated to the Dialogue in the Dark Foundation.


A particularly encouraging development isthat the planning and management of the concert is now being taken over by ateam of people of differences, thus enabling them to interact and workcollaboratively with talents in the performance sector.


No.6  Dialogue in Silence


Apart from the various dialogue in the dark experiences, DiD has inrecent years ventured into creating brand new Dialogue in Silence activities, including Executive Workshop inSilence, Dinner in Silence, etc. This enables DiD to engage people with hearingimpairment to showcase their talents in a variety of ‘edutainments’.


Inspired by the success of Dialogue in Silence,DiD is exploring the possibilities of engagingother people of differences, such asthose with physical disabilities.



No.7   The Power of Social Franchise


Dialogue in the Dark was created by Andreas Heinecke in Germany some 30 years ago. Dialogue in the DarkHK Ltd. has been a franchise ofDialogue Social Enterprise (DSE) based in Hamburg since 2008. But DiD HK hasbeen adapting the original format to suit local conditions, continuously modifyingand refining the core model as well as introducing brand new elements to thebasic offerings.


Thisdemonstrates that social innovation does not necessarily involve ‘reinventing the wheel’. It is possibleto adapt solutions developed in other places of the world to address some localsocial issues. The creative use of social franchise is a subject that deservesmore attention by local social innovators.


No.8   Publishing a book to share experience


Scarcely two years after DiD wasestablished in HK, one of the co-founders, PatrickCheung, took the trouble of writing a book (in Chinese) to share in greatdetail the process of launching DiD HK. The purpose was to inspire more peopleto appreciate the power of social entrepreneurship and to launch their ownsocial ventures.


Patrick’s effort in writing this book is atestimony of his passion in leveraging DiD to promote social entrepreneurship.He studied engineering in university and has never written even an article inChinese in his life. But he wrote this book in Chinese, against all odds,proving that nothing is impossible if you put your mind on it.


No.9    Reaching the top spot in TripAdvisoron HK


DiD’s flagship Experiential Exhibition atMei Foo has attracted a large number of overseas visitors and has beenreceiving highly favorable feedback. About four years ago, DiD became the No. 1 tourist attraction in HK according to TripAdvisor – somethingunimaginable for a city like HK with its large number of tourist spots.(Unfortunately, owing to a reorganizing of the TripAdvisor site, DiD has beenplaced under a specialist category and lost its overall leadership position.)


No.10   DE Empower – creating employmentopportunities for people of differences


DiD’s ultimate vision is to realize social inclusion. Over the pastten years, HK has witnessed increasing awareness of infrastructure building forsocial inclusion, such as the development of barrier-free access and specialeducations services. But there is one area in which social inclusion has madevery limited progress: employmentinclusion. Most people of differences have great difficulty in findingemployment in the mainstream labor market. Even for those  with university education, there are stillmany insurmountable barriers for employment.

While everyone at DiD HK is proud of the accomplishments of the company to date,there is also the acute awareness that much remains to be done to realize ourdream of creating a truly inclusive society. Your continued support will begreatly appreciated.

*Remark: The concept of "Dialogue in the Dark" and its related trademarks are the intellectual property of Dialogue Social Enterprise.