No Christmas decorations at Harbour City

December 09, 2019 12:37
Harbour City is known for its extravagant  Christmas decorations. But the giant shopping mall may make this year an exception. Photo: Bloomberg

It is said that one good example of the “one country, two systems” principle is Christmas, which is a major event and public holiday in Hong Kong but is not even celebrated by most people in mainland China.

Many mainlanders used to come to Hong Kong at this time of the year to get a feel of the festive season, which is usually celebrated with great fanfare in the shopping districts of the city. 

Not anymore. Mainly as a result of the six months of anti-government protests that have been roiling the city, tourist arrivals from across the border have plunged.

You can still hear Christmas carols being played in malls, and the festive glitter and decorations still adorn these establishments.

But for most retail outlets in the city, it's the constant merry ring of the cash register that they miss.

Harbour City, the city's largest shopping mall with annual sales of over HK$10 billion, didn't even bother to put up their annual Christmas decorations this year.

It used to boast the brightest, most elaborate and most expensive adornments for the season. But not this year.

The area outside the kilometer-long mall and Star Ferry Pier is virtually devoid of reminders of the cheerful season.

District Council member-designate Leslie Chan Ka-long of Tsim Sha Tsui West told Apple Daily that he could not recall Harbour City not having Christmas decorations over the past 30 years.

One can’t really blame Wharf Holdings (00004.HK) for not coming up the Christmas decors for its flagship mall this Christmas, considering the more than 40 percent drop in mainland tourist arrivals in the city this autumn.

The mall and its tenants are struggling to survive the winter amid the serious business impact of the weekly, often violent, anti-government protests. 

Even the mighty Tiffany disclosed last week a 49 percent drop in revenue in Hong Kong for the three months ended Oct. 31.

Despite Harbour City's Scrooge-y move, however, Christmas lights are still ablaze along Victoria Harbour, and the celebrations, although no longer as extravagant as before, will last up to the next holiday, the Lunar New Year, next month.

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EJ Insight writer