Operation Santa Claus

It's a fair of the heart and smartphone this Christmas

Cutting-edge bargain hunting and traditional Christmas goodies will raise funds for charity as company hosts street fair in Quarry Bay

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 4:45am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 4:45am

Shoppers will be able to snap up bargains using their smartphones and tablets at the White Christmas Street Fair being held by Swire Properties tomorrow and Saturday - although they won't be able to get their hands on them straight away.

Instead, pictures of some 250 products from 42 brands will be displayed, along with a quick-response code, or QR, which can be scanned using mobile devices.

That will unlock discounts that can be redeemed at the nearby Cityplaza mall or Pacific Place in Admiralty.

But shoppers who prefer a more traditional experience will still be able to, literally, get their hands on hand-made baubles and other Christmas goodies at the fair on Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay.

Both the hi-tech and traditional options will be helping raise money for Operation Santa Claus, a charity fundraising drive organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.

"The space on Tong Chong Street is quite small and limited for setting up booths to sell the products," said Charlie Melvoin, a marketing officer with the company who developed the project. "It's like recreating a shopping mall on a digital platform. We're very excited about experimenting with the new technology."

Melvoin says the difference between the fair's "pop-up stores" and the usual product coupons is that people who have unlocked the digital coupons can then share them with friends via e-mail or the WeChat mobile app. The coupons will be valid for about two weeks.

The companies offering the digital discounts have all made a donation to Operation Santa Claus, which will also benefit from sales of handicrafts and food at the fair.

"Our White Christmas Street Fair is a way for us to give back to the communities who have helped us flourish, and it makes perfect sense for us to donate the proceeds raised to Operation Santa Claus, which supports various small-scale and lesser known non-profit making organisations that are making a difference in society," said Martin Cubbon, Swire Properties chief executive.

Tong Chong Street means "Sugar Factory Street" in Chinese and was where the Taikoo Sugar Refinery was established by Butterfield and Swire in 1881. It now marks the site of Swire's Taikoo Place development.

"Christmas is a time of giving and sharing, and this event provides us with a chance to give back to society and strengthen our relationships with our staff and the wider community," Cubbon said.

Swire staff have volunteered to help make the handicrafts, and have also given up their spare time to rehearse a performance of a Christmas song in sign language.

Heidi Wan Hor-tai, an assistant marketing manager at Swire, attended a workshop with her son to produce colourful Christmas baubles which can be bought at the fair. "Work is busy and we seldom have the chance to spend time together," she said. "I also explained to my son that Christmas is a time to help the underprivileged."

Karic Ho Ka-ki, a secretary, has been teaching colleagues to make leather pouches. Some bear the makers' names, and they plan to snap them up themselves at the fair, she said.



  • Donate online by credit card at osc.scmp.com
  • Donate at an ATM or at any HSBC branch (account no: 502-676299-001 for SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus)
  • Send a cheque payable to "SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus". Mail it to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories
  • Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you require a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt, with your name, address and telephone number, to the previously mentioned address. Please call 2680 8159 or e-mail osc@scmp.com with any inquiries, or visit us online at osc.scmp.com