Race is on for stalls at Lunar New Year fair
Not all bidders are seeking profit from Victoria Park event
About 900 people entered the bidding yesterday for 300 stalls at the Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair, and while some had dollars in their sights, others were not too worried about making a profit.
One of the most expensive stalls, at the centre of the fair area, went to New Method College in Ho Man Tin for $47,700.
The school plans to use it to give students experience in running a business.
Education is the aim of at least two other successful bidders. Terry Chan, a logistics student with Caritas Francis Hsu College and a first-time bidder, bought a stall for $19,500 to sell blow-up toys.
As next year is the Year of the Rooster, he and a dozen of his classmates hope to sell inflatable chicken legs and heads.
'We're not aiming to make money,' he said. 'We only want to apply the theories we've learnt in school to running a stall.'
As it was his last year at school, it was his last chance to run a stall with friends, he added.
Helen Lam and Sunny Miu, Form Six pupils at Kwun Tong Government Secondary School, said almost the whole Sixth Form - about 40 students - would work at the stall they bought for $20,000. They have not decided what to sell and are not looking for a profit. Instead they hope to learn interpersonal skills.
But one bidder who is looking to make a profit is Cat Lau Chi-wing, owner of Chiu Chow snack chain Wo Hing Loong, who paid $42,000 for stall 61, which he has occupied for a number of years.
He said he was determined to buy the stall, no matter what the price, to sell confectionary, pastries and other delicacies.
Mr Lau hopes to make a profit of at least $200,000, although he only broke even last year because of bad weather during the fair. 'I'm optimistic because the fair starts on a weekend, which I think will attract more people.'
He said his business had been worse during the first six months of the year than during Sars.
As usual, politics was behind the purchase of stalls by political veteran Szeto Wah and activist Tsang Kin-shing, better known as 'the Bull'.
Mr Szeto paid $24,400 and $24,100 respectively for stalls one and two on behalf of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China. Mr Tsang bought a stall for the Anti-Tung Solidarity coalition for $39,000.