Overseas buyers avoiding Tesco HK

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 12:00am

Jerry Chan, deputy managing director of the Hong Kong operations of British supermarket operator Tesco, says the company is shifting some of its sourcing activities from Hong Kong and China to India and Sri Lanka as a result of the Sars outbreak.

'We have no choice but to source some of our goods from other places,' Mr Chan said.

He said buying agents for Tesco in Britain and continental Europe had cancelled trips to Hong Kong, cutting back business opportunities. Tesco indefinitely postponed trips to Asia-Pacific. Last year, Tesco's Hong Kong office, which buys from across Asia, directly sourced about 70 per cent of its clothing and hardware products from Hong Kong and mainland suppliers.

Mr Chan estimated this portion could drop to 50 per cent and this could continue for the long term, if present conditions persist. If buyers were satisfied with the quality of products sourced from India and Sri-Lanka, they might shift some of their buying orders from Hong Kong and China to those places, Mr Chan said.

The company said if the virus warning was not withdrawn by the end of next month, all business meetings with British buyers in June and July would be held in Bangkok or Colombo.