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Lunar New Year

Starting young in business: pupils, 14, pay HK$20,800 for stall at Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year fair

Some of the youngest participants at auction for highly prized booths come out on top as they put their entrepreneurial skills to the test

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 November, 2017, 8:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 November, 2017, 10:47pm

A group of 14 year olds on Tuesday showed how youth can trump experience by securing one of the coveted market stalls at Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year fair next year.

The three pupils from Po Leung Kuk Tong Nai Kan Junior Secondary College in Sham Shui Po forked out HK$20,800 on the second day of a public auction for stalls at the event, which is a top draw for holiday shoppers.

The trio put their entrepreneurial skills to the test against a tough field of enterprising individuals at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai as the hopefuls vied for the right to run a stall at the Victoria Park bazaar between February 10 and 16.

While the minimum age for entry to the auction was 18, students were able to bypass that rule with the help of their teachers, with schools subsidising their mini moneymaking efforts as part of learning projects.

Tuesday’s session saw many young faces in school uniforms. The Sham Shui Po group were first-time entrants and could have been the youngest on the floor at just 14 years old.

A nerve-racking exchange involving heated back-and-forth shouting wound up with the pupils landing a booth for HK$20,800 – a significant step up from the initial asking price of HK$13,920.

Hong Kong’s largest Lunar New Year Fair crowded, despite fears of unrest

Teacher Jensen Chan, who accompanied the trio, said the school would fully subsidise the project as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations.

Asked how they planned to recoup the investment, one of the three, Cheung Sum-po, said they would flog handicrafts at the fair, but remained tight-lipped on designs.

Also entering the fray were pupils from Raimondi College – regular participants at the Victoria Park fair.

Hong Kong’s largest Lunar New Year Fair crowded, despite fears of unrest

They locked down a stall for HK$19,000 but said they would invest a total of HK$120,000 in the project.

Stanley Lai, a Form Five pupil, was in charge of the college’s 16-member team for the stall and said most of the funds would come from the school’s alumni association.

All profits from the booth would be donated to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Lai said.

Apart from providing a testing ground for budding entrepreneurs, the seven-day Lunar New Year market is also a prime spot for political parties to gain exposure and seek donations.

Pro-democracy party the League of Social Democrats secured a booth for HK$30,777 in a subtle dig at the 777 votes Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor received to land the city’s top job in a small-circle election earlier this year.

The wry reference drew applause from the crowd as the hammer went down.

Monday’s auction was dominated by veteran flower sellers as wet goods stalls went under the hammer.