Wah Hing Hong, a local wholesaler of joss sticks and candles, is diversifying its business and shifting its focus to mainland China and Southeast Asia amid falling revenues.
Government restrictions on the burning of joss sticks and paper offerings, as well as the declining interest of the younger generation in religious traditions and beliefs, have resulted in the continued decline of the business, managing director Ling Kin Hong told the Hong Kong Economic Journal in an interview.
Many of the production plants have moved to the mainland after the 1998 financial crisis, and the number of such joss stick stores in the city has declined to less than 500, compared with 2,000 to 3,000 at the industry’s peak in the 1990s, Ling said.
The company, which corners about 70 percent of the local market, has diversified its product offerings.
It is now selling liquid soap, shampoo and hand wash with herbal ingredients as well as lilly, pomelo and agilawood extracts.
The new products now contribute 60 percent of the company’s total revenue, with the mainland market generating over 50 percent of the business, Ling said.
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