Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong sends fans home early as typhoon signal expected

Merchandise sellers fear their revenues may take an unexpected hit if the incoming storm shuts down the event early

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 August, 2016, 5:51pm
UPDATED : Monday, 01 August, 2016, 10:19pm

Comic and game lovers attending this year’s Ani-Com were asked to leave the venue two hours early on Monday as the Observatory warned it would issue the typhoon No 8 signal before 8.40pm.

A spokeswoman for Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong said the venue, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, will remain temporarily closed if the warning lasts until 8am on Tuesday morning, and will remain closed for the whole day if the warning is not scaled down to a typhoon No 3 by 1pm.

On Monday evening she said they had still not decided if they will issue refunds for entrance tickets or compensation for businesses that have booths at the event.

Merchandise sellers at Ani-Com said they hoped the organisers would extend show hours or subsidise their losses due to the cancellation.

MediaLink, that has a booth selling Japanese and Taiwanese comic products, was offering discounts of as much as 50 per cent from Monday morning.

“We are treating today (Monday) as the last day of [Ani-Com] because we have already prepared for the worst – that the show will not open on time tomorrow morning due to the typhoon,” MediaLink’s assistant distribution manager, Jackie Lam Wik-tak, said.

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“Usually we only slash prices in the final hours of the last day, but even if the show reopens after suspension tomorrow, the flow of customers would at least be halved.”

Lam said although the company has seen an increase in sales and attendance this year, the company would lose around HK$100,000, the daily sales revenue of the booth at the show.

“I heard the venue would be occupied by another event right after Ani-Com so an additional date to compensate our loss seems impossible. I hope the organiser could at least subsidise our rent if we cannot run business tomorrow,” Lam said.

Originally expecting a sales revenue of HK$500,000 on the last day, comic product seller Muse Communication’s marketing executive, Tiffany Kwok Nga-ting, said they were very worried about the organiser’s typhoon arrangement.

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“If the show has to be closed for some hours, I hope the organiser could extend the same hours in addition to the original closing time [on Tuesday] and also allow us to move out our stock and booth later,” Kwok said.

The show has been opening from 10am to 9pm since July 29 last Friday.

Jacqueline Chiu Sin-ying of Sony Hong Kong also said halting the show would revenues drop at their booths.

Attending the Ani-Com together for the second year, Cheuk Pak-hei, 14, and Wong Long-ching, 13, decided to go to the event on Monday instead of Tuesday after learning that the typhoon could hit the city.

“I wanted to come on the last day because there would usually be on sale items but now I have to come earlier and get my Gundam models because I don’t know if we can still come tomorrow,” Wong said.

“I guess we will only stay for three hours, get everything we want and go because I don’t want to be stuck in traffic later,” Cheuk said.