Price no barrier for lovebirds on Valentine's Day
Maggie Tam and Ada Lee
It's going to be an expensive Valentine's Day for lovebirds, and a costly year for those who want to wed, with the price of flowers, wedding banquets and packages all going up.
But it seems that many Hong Kong men don't mind spending a small fortune for a special moment on Monday with their loved one.
At the Mong Kok Flower Market, a bunch of 11 local roses, with delivery, will cost at least HK$780, and those from the United States up to HK$980. Flower prices have increased by 20 to 30 per cent compared to the last Valentine's Day.
Brighten flower shop manager Bonnie Chan Pui-shan said the price of flowers from the mainland had surged almost 30 per cent, while those from other countries such as the Netherlands and New Zealand remained the same. 'The economic situation is better this year,' Chan said. 'Men last year were more hesitant, but this year they are more willing to pay.'
One man visiting the shop barely paid heed to the price tag on a pink bunch of tulips named 'Beloved', saying he did not mind spending an arm and a leg to please his girlfriend.
Another customer, Joseph Wong, planned to send a bunch of snow-white roses to his girlfriend's office on Monday, costing him HK$1,480. 'Flower prices are always high for Valentine's Day. As long as I can see my girl smile, the price is not a problem,' he said.
Peggy Ha Wai-chee, general manager of Chee's Wedding, which offers overseas wedding services and photography, said it had raised prices by 4 to 5 per cent, with wedding packages ranging from HK$18,000 to HK$50,000.
She said business in the past five months had increased compared to last year. '2011 and 2012 will be good years for weddings on the Chinese calendar, and people are more willing to spend money after getting bonuses,' Ha said.
Banquet prices had increased by over 10 per cent, said Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades.
The cost of luxury food items such as abalone had increased by 30 per cent compared to three months ago, because of stronger demand and a stronger yuan, he said.
Many restaurants were fully booked in the coming year and customers who wanted a big banquet would have to wait until next year.
The Kowloon Shangri-la hotel increased its banquet prices by 6 to 10 per cent, but Grace Kwok, the hotel's director of events management, said its customers were generally more willing to spend on their big days. It expects a 10 per cent increase in bookings compared to last year.
The price of a bunch of roses, in HK dollars, at the Mong Kok Flower Market: $780