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About HKSS.com
hkss > about hkss > site history

The History of HKSS
Written by: Michael Yuen (May 5, 2006)
Revised: May 7, 2006


This section will provide information on how the site got started and what changes it went through before becoming the site it is today.

"The Totally Useless Page"
HKSS started as a personal website on GeoCities.com by Michael Yuen during the summer of 1996, and was then known as, for an embarassingly lack of a better title, "Michael Yuen's Totally Useless Page." It was a side project during his first college year and contained a few pictures of his first few favorite Chinese singers, Linda Wong, Jacky Cheung, Leon Lai, Vivian Lai, and Shirley Kwan. A few months later, Michael wanted to do more with the site and posted a request for sponsorship.

Alex Ly of Lytek Internet, a webhosting company that wanted to give something back to the community for its success, contacted Michael to have the site hosted at Lytek.net free of charge. Ecstatic and thankful (even to this day) about the offer, he immediately browsed his favorite Chinese music fan sites for inspiration for the new site.

"Hong Kong Superstars"
Hermann Lee's Hong Kong Bridge (hkbridge.com) and Ben Liu's Hong Kong Stars were his biggest role models, and after a few months, "Michael Yuen's Hong Kong Superstars" was launched on September 23, 1996. Its content expanded upon the original "The Totally Useless Page" with a few more singers' profiles on a completely new, hand-coded design (see v1.2 picture below.) As the site name suggests, its primary focus was on Chinese Pop and Cinema.



Click on a thumbnail below for a larger view
Michael Yuen's Hong Kong Superstars (v1.2) Hong Kong Superstars (v1.6) Hong Kong Entertainment (v1.1)
Michael Yuen's
Hong Kong Superstars

(v1.2 - Aug. 6, 1997)
Hong Kong Superstars
(v1.6 - May 22, 1998)
Hong Kong Entertainment
(v1.1 - Dec. 24, 1997)


The site soon became known as simply "Hong Kong Superstars" as the Superstar Galleries, Discussion Forum, and "Live Chat" were added. Subsequent versions featured Digital Postcards, "HKE Chat", Voting Booth, a Trivia game, and even its own co-branded Internet Dial-Up Service (ISP)! Alex Ly was instrumental in helping Michael install, configure, and troubleshoot the various codes necessary to get the additional features to work. He also helped him learn some basic web programming that later inspired Michael to study Computer Science and Information Technology (IT) in college.

As the site's popularity grew to thousands of unique visitors a month, so did HKE Chat ("Hong Kong Entertainment Chat", "HKEC"), a chat room spun off from the Lytek-Hong Kong Superstars joint venture, Hong Kong Entertainment. HKE was going to be an online shopping site for Chinese entertainment, but the project was never completed and was eventually abandoned.

HKEC's success, however, continued and had about 10-20 people chatting at any given time during all hours of each day. The chat room and Discussion Forum never slept, and friendships, romances, and real-life weddings (!) occurred. Many visitors of HKSS still remember and cherish those good times :-)



Click on a thumbnail below for a larger view
Hong Kong Superstars (v2.0) Hong Kong Superstars (v3.0) Hong Kong Superstars (v4.3)
Hong Kong Superstars
(v2.0 - Feb. 15, 1999)
Hong Kong Superstars
(v3.0 - Feb. 19, 2000)
Hong Kong Superstars
(v4.3 - Dec. 22, 2000)


Version 2.0 of Hong Kong Superstars, by then also known as HKSS, debuted the first version of this site's logo: multi-colored, bouncing boxes (1st version of current HKSS) that signify the energetic, fun spirit of the HKSS community. Hong Kong Superstars 2.x also made its move from Lytek.net to its new address at www.hkss.com on April 3, 1999. Hong Kong Superstars 3.0 launched the following year and brought Java-based games and free @hkss.com e-mail accounts to the site's visitors. Version 4.0 made its appearance the same year.

Major Problems at "Hong Kong Superstars"
The cost of running Hong Kong Superstars with its over 30 million unique hits a month was sky-high, and something needed to be done soon to avoid shutting down the free online community so many visitors had come to love. On December 22, 2000, Alex and Michael agreed to allow Lytek take over the design of Hong Kong Superstars with a goal to commercialize parts of the site for income generation to help pay its enormous operating expenses.

However, a global, economic problem started to occur during the year 2001 as floods of companies went bankrupt due to the burst of the "Internet Bubble." Lytek's webhosting business was no exception, and Alex strategically decided to transform Lytek into an Internet Service Provider in South Africa.

With the U.S. economy degrading to uncertain levels, and with no income to continue operating Hong Kong Superstars on his own, Michael shut down the site on January 1, 2002.

The Rebirth of "Hong Kong Superstars"
Hong Kong Superstars, now commercially hosted at iPowerWeb.com, was resurrected on January 1, 2003. Traffic had significantly dropped to just a few hundred unique visits a month, allowing Michael to fully operate the site at his own expense. Commitments to re-design the site and get it back to becoming a popular destination it once was were made over the years that followed, but due to personal priorities and a lack of time, Michael continued to delay work on the site. Hong Kong Superstars continued to operate in the shadow of its former self primarily as a Discussion Forum.

Two years later on January 1, 2005, preliminary work on Hong Kong Superstars v5.0 started, and the site was completely shut down for the re-design. However, work once again ceased as Michael had to attend to some very difficult times in his personal life.



Click on a thumbnail below for a larger view
HKSS (v5.0)    
HKSS.com
(v5.0 - May 7, 2006
   


The Real Rebirth of "Hong Kong Superstars"/ "HKSS.com"
With Michael's personal life back in order, April 3, 2006 made the official preview debut of HKSS.com v5.0. The new site's motto changed from "Chinese Superstars of Pop and Cinema" to "Asian Entertainment" as a result of Michael's new-found taste in Japanese and Korean music, television, and movies. Hong Kong Superstars was renamed to HKSS.com (or simply, HKSS) to reflect the scope this site now serves (see Introduction), and its logo has been updated to a fresher look. Slowly, but surely, parts of the original Hong Kong Superstars site have been re-emerging better than ever before. Michael pledges to continue working and improving on the site as time, personal life, and money permit.

September 23, 2006 marks the 10th year anniversary of HKSS.com.

Thank you for reading about the history of HKSS.com! Enjoy your stay at this site, and if you haven't already done so, please introduce yourself to the HKSS community so that we may welcome you as well.

If you like this site, please consider helping HKSS.com. For advertising or partnership considerations, please click here. Thank you.

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