Link Management providing housing estate tenants with better choices

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 August, 2009, 12:00am

Although the shopping malls and car parks of The Link Management are no longer Housing Authority properties, in the eyes of The Link's very vocal critics, its decision to introduce more chain stores and, in some cases, to not renew contracts with some small tenants, is seen as an unforgivable sin.

The Link's decisions are being made in the public interest. As a major owner of shopping malls in Hong Kong, it should be accountable to the members of the community.

The needs of the communities these malls serve are of paramount importance and take precedence over the interests of selected tenants.

I am a user of malls run by The Link [a publicly listed real estate investment trust] and I would encourage it to continue with its policy of trying to provide shoppers with variety and greater choice. It is also good that prices have been kept competitive.

The overall tenant mix has been improved over the past few years because The Link selects those businesses that its customers want to see in the malls. The choices made have evolved with shoppers' changing consumption patterns.

Critics argue that The Link Management lacks transparency. You cannot go on to the Housing Authority's website and find out how it selects its tenant mix, so why should you expect to be able to do that on The Link's website? Criticism of the company has been unreasonable.

A few months ago, in Siu Sai Wan where I live, a shop selling Chinese hot buns opened and it has proved to be very popular with residents. That's not only because of its reasonable prices and good quality, but also its convenient location. Critics of this change of business said the stationery store that was there had to close, but this is not the case. It was relocated in the neighbourhood.

There is no reason why housing estate residents should only be served by small tenants.

We are now seeing a more balanced mix of tenants, big and small, new and old.

Fighting for the continuous operation of selected 'small tenants', regardless of quality or performance, is acting against the interests of the rest of the community.

David Chan, Siu Sai Wan