Sian Powell
A newspaper journalist for many years, Sian Powell has lived and worked in Australia, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong, covering everything from presidential elections to polio outbreaks.

WatchBox’s Liam Wee Tay talks about the surging prices of pre-owned luxury watches from brands like Rolex, Patek Phillipe and Audemars Piguet and the dangers when buying.

A Hong Kong Facebook group lets users give away unwanted items, reducing pressure on the city’s landfills. With Christmas coming, we all need to shop less and reduce waste.

Demand for Rolex watches has risen in tandem with the global leisurewear trend. The Swiss brand’s sports watches are in short supply and pre-owned models command high prices.

Frederieke van Doorn, the Dutch founder of Frey, and designer Yulia Tlili tell Sian Powell what makes the women’s workwear brand stand out from the crowd.


From e-commerce platform Rent the Runway to sneaker makers Allbirds and On, several online fashion retailers have launched initial public offerings of shares to leverage a surge in sales and popularity.

From the actions of Squid Game’s wealthy winner to just about everything involving the police, here are some of the more difficult-to-swallow loose ends left by the show.

Is Hong Kong doing enough to reduce the amount of plastic waste that washes into the ocean? Some small steps have been taken, but single-use plastics are still widely employed and used excessively.

Big-name jewellers like Tiffany and the Chow Tai Fook group are bowing to growing demand for sustainable jewellery made using ethically sourced gems and gold.

Viveka Mansukhani’s tailor-made shirt service is the height of pampering – and with so many choices of fabric, fit, and style, it is the polar opposite of fast fashion.

That’s the question facing many couples who want to limit their ecological impact. We spoke to those who chose not to and others who work hard to reduce their babies’ impact on the world.

In-house movements, interesting complications – that’s what these women watch collectors want and more when they buy a Rolex, Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet, and often that means buying a piece meant for men.

Suits are becoming less formal and easier to wear, with more casual styling, as tastes change and clients emphasise comfort, say bespoke and made-to-measure tailors.

From Dior to L’Occitane to Lush, big beauty brands are creating refillable products, promoting recycling and eliminating packaging to avoid adding to the world’s plastic-waste crisis.

Hong Kong is one of the few urban areas where forest cover is expanding. While having more trees is good, they are mostly not of the kind native wildlife needs in order to thrive.

Father-and-son Hong Kong company Bombyx has invested in sustainable organic silkworm farming and fabric production in Sichuan, China, in one of the places ‘where silk began’.

The cost of an international phone call could cut short even the most emotional conversation in years gone by, but cheeky callers had ways of scamming the system.

Companies dealing in scents report a surge in interest as people try to get away from Covid-19 odours such as stuffy homes, mouldy shops and sanitised hands.


Plant-based leather is having a moment, from Allbirds’ sneakers made using eucalyptus tree fibre to grape-waste shoes by Pangaia and partly mushroom-based bags from Hermès.

When the world’s biggest jewellery producer said it would stop using mined diamonds on ethical grounds, producers cried foul. A diamond retailer says the argument is less cut and dried than Pandora is implying.

Eco-friendly and cheaper, cardboard coffins for green funerals are a growing global trend – one that is slow to catch on in Hong Kong, where a manufacturer recently set up shop.

Lawns are expensive to maintain and need precious fresh water for irrigation. Faced with climate change, cities around the world are reducing theirs, but in Hong Kong they thrive in public parks.

Drinking alcohol-free beer used to be frowned upon, but has become trendy, especially among young people who choose a healthier lifestyle, and among older drinkers who don’t want to get drunk any more.

Two Hong Kong friends half a world apart launched online cooking lessons with a difference amid the coronavirus pandemic – they are interactive, with chefs answering users’ questions and seeding global conversations about food.

Charities collecting unused food to distribute is one way to reduce waste. Apps that alert users to discount offers by member shops and restaurants on unsold food are another whose use is growing around the world, including Hong Kong.

The future of fashion may be made-on-demand, not fast – from a fashion designer who has collaborated with Meghan Markle to a production company in the US, more people in the industry are adopting the practice to minimise waste.

In 2017 Becky Li sold 100 Mini Cooper cars online in four minutes. Today, her brand, Becky’s Fantasy, influences the purchases of millions of young women, giving her huge power in the Chinese marketplace.

More expensive Swiss luxury watch brands have coped with the pandemic better than cheaper counterparts, a report says, with strong Chinese demand for mid-price brands driving the market.

In the heat and humidity of places like Singapore and Hong Kong, we rely on air cons to stay comfortable. They use a lot of electricity, and generating it adds to global warming, so we use them more. We need alternatives, say ecologists.

Museums in Europe and the US are filled with ancient artefacts from around the world, many plundered from Asia and Africa. Nations have called for the return of their heritage, with mixed results.

Considered an important medicine in China for thousands of years, rhubarb is now more commonly known as a tasty pie ingredient, but there was a time when owning it was punishable by death in Russia.