Date
16 August 2017
An industry veteran has questioned the claims made by institutes offering funeral planning courses in Hong Kong regarding sector prospects. Photo: Kowloon Funeral Palor
An industry veteran has questioned the claims made by institutes offering funeral planning courses in Hong Kong regarding sector prospects. Photo: Kowloon Funeral Palor

Funeral planning industry: How bright are its prospects?

The funeral service business doesn’t have much room for new entrants in Hong Kong, an industry veteran said, giving a vastly different perspective from that touted by institutes offering funeral planning courses.

Ng Yiu-tong, chairman of the Hong Kong Funeral Business Association, said about 100 people pass away in Hong Kong every day but competition in the funeral service business is keen as there are as many as seven funeral parlors and more than a hundred coffin shops in the city, Sky Post reported.

“About half of the business goes to the funeral parlors. The rest is competed for among the coffin shops,” Ng said. “There are about 3,000 practitioners in the industry.”

The comments raise questions about the tactics being deployed by the institutes that offer funeral planning courses in the city. The institutes lured students by telling them that there is insufficient manpower in the lucrative industry.

Among such entities is the Hong Kong Institute of Funerals, which began offering three courses early this year, according to the report.

The fee for the months-long course is said to range from HK$12,880 (US$1,662) to HK$22,880. More than 100 students have completed the course, the report said.

Course director Chan Wai-shing had said that there were thousands of vacancies in the industry and if that if a professional gets 10 cases a month, he can make about HK$30,000, according to the report.

Responding to Ng’s criticism, the institute’s board director Lam Kin-tung insisted that it is a profitable business, as about 40,000 people die in Hong Kong every year and that families spend HK$40,000 to HK$60,000 on average on each funeral.

“Some peers may want all the business for themselves, so they say there is adequate manpower in the industry” to deter new entrants, Lam said.

The report cited a funeral parlor consultant, who was identified by his surname Wong, as saying that the institutes offering the courses can make anywhere from HK$400,000 to about HK$1 million on a class of 40 students, and that the business is more profitable than the funeral industry.

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