I will always be wondering why Uber decided to quit Hong Kong when this is the place where its service is most needed.
After all, Hong Kong car owners are among the least privileged, long-suffering groups in Hong Kong.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t complain about the high cost of owning a car in this city. If the high import tax doesn’t kill, the car parking fees will.
A car parking lot is often more expensive than the car itself, and this should shift consumer behavior in favor of renting rather than owning a car.
Just think about it: How much money can you save if you decide to give away your car to the next guy who takes an admiring glance at it, and you take a taxi instead?
A car parking lot on Hong Kong Island would cost you HK$4 million. With that money, you can enjoy taxi service everyday for at least 50 years – assuming you are spending HK$200 on taxi per day.
Now consider how much a car parking space costs in Tseung Kwan O, which I believe has the highest population density in the city since I could already see more than 20,000 homes in a tiny slice of the district from my balcony alone.
Developer Sino Land managed to sell 80 of its 125 car park spaces at its Corinthia by the Sea in Tseung Kwan O. The most expensive sold for HK$2.13 million, breaking the record set two years ago by a car parking space at The Wings, a neighboring residential development in the same district.
But we can understand why a car parking space would cost HK$2 million. A one-bedroom unit in that housing project, which is about the size of two parking lots, sells for just a little bit above HK$4 million. (Despite the name of the project, I doubt if the flats there have any seaview.)
Buying a parking space for HK$2 million is the same as renting one for 44 years at HK$4,000 a month.
If you really want to buy your own transport, why not try a motorbike? Its parking space will only cost you HK$50,000.
In fact, at HK$2 million, one can buy a decent 1,000 square foot apartment in selected areas in Toronto or Taipei.
So why buy a car parking lot in Tseung Kwan O?
This reminds me of the controversial Ten Outstanding Young Persons awardee Fonia Wong Yeung-fong, who said she bought a three-bedroom unit in Tseung Kwan O for HK$2.31 million back in 2003. Today that same price is only good for a parking space.
It’s all a question of demand and supply, but of course.
According to Apple Daily, there are 7,922 units in 12 private residential developments in Tseung Kwan O, but only 2,368 car parking lots.
A car park space at The Wings, which only offers 208 parking lots for its 1,038 units, is now being offered at HK$2.61 million.
Tseung Kwan O doesn’t have a monopoly of high-priced car parking lots.
In Yuen Long, Henderson Land just sold 44 car parking lots, with the highest price of HK$1.54 million. That’s about the same price as a studio flat in a public estate.
As far as prices are concerned, it’s probably better to be a car than a human being in Hong Kong.
Too bad, Uber missed this point.
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