• Sat
  • Oct 25, 2014
  • Updated: 9:27am
NewsHong Kong

Causeway Bay shops hit as mainlanders spend less

Causeway Bay shop owners lament reliance on tourists - and blame the government

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 4:05am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 4:05am

Shops catering to visitors from the mainland are struggling while business is stable for those that cater more to locals - and Causeway Bay retailers say the government is to blame for allowing the economy to become over-reliant on cross-border consumerism.

"We've lost about 50 per cent of our business. Us small, brandless, independent shops, are suffering even more than the big companies," jeweller Philip Chung said. Local retailers are smarting from Hong Kong's steepest sales drop in five years.

Chung said 80 per cent of trade at Truly Treasury Gold and Jewellery on Hennessy Road, where he has worked for 23 years, came from mainlanders.

But as economic growth on the mainland has slowed and graft-busting campaigns kicked in, their business has plunged.

"You don't see mainlanders buying dozens of watches in one go now," Chung said. The watches, often given as gifts to government officials or people in power, are no longer any good as presents. "No mainland official would wear a gold Rolex while surveying a disaster zone now."

The jeweller, speaking after government figures showed sales in April were down 9.8 per cent year on year, said relying on mainland business was a double-edged sword.

"The number of mainlanders coming here has increased, but they are here to do business, not to consume," Chung said. "In the process, they jack up the rents while not really increasing our income."

Albert Chong, who owns Kam Lun Dispensary on Tin Lok Lane, said his business had dropped 20 to 30 per cent this year, mainly due to lower mainland spending.

"The past few months have been the worst," he said.

But Edmund Lee, who owns Man Sang Dispensary next door, which sells mainly to locals, said he had not seen a drop in business since last year.

He said the government should support the local economy instead of allowing and even encouraging over-reliance on mainlander consumerism.



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This article is now closed to comments

sudo rm -f cy
The thing is the raw tourist numbers aren't going down, it's just that the Rolex buyers have been replaced by the personal care products and milk powder buyers.
Glad to see it happen cause it was starting to get sickening to see these "specialty retailers" only focusing on serving mainlanders..............maybe they should move out of Causeway Bay and cross the border to the mainland and open shops up there.
I cant bloody believe it. The retailers are blaming the government for the economy's over-reliance on cross-border consumerism? Oh come off it! The retailers adjusted their sales and marketing strategies to gear towards mainlanders. The government only facilitated the influx of mainlanders so if the government can be blamed 10% the remaining 90% rests with the retailers themselves.
John Adams
I agree !
End of a very bad fad in Hong Kong, hopefully sanity will return
do what you do best, blame the government, but it's you who are to blame, you are greedy and your attitude towards your mainland customers are terrible, hope you are sorry now
"The number of mainlanders coming here has increased, but they are here to do business," yes good business, buying groceries in HK and selling them in Lo wu.
Moreover don't always blame the government. They are like the property sales : happy when mainlanders are there to buy and unhappy when they are not there.
They always say drop, but people, relativise: It was a golden era when the richest mainlanders came and poor their dirty money. No this time is gone and we only have the regular or super regular (groceries buyer) that just spent "normally"
So just bear with it.
Free enterprise rules in Hong Kong and retailers have only themselves to blame. They gained allot during the good times and now the times get tougher. But this is a rollercoaster and 2 years from now the tide will have shifted again and mainlanders will be back in force.


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