The rise of Tai Nan Street and Don Don Donki

March 24, 2021 11:10
Photo: Café Sausalito/Facebook

Two notably economic miracles emerged in Hong Kong, where most retail businesses lost their heartbeat.

First, Tai Nan Street, the New Brooklyn in Hong Kong. The Sham Shui Po district has turned into a hip place for youngsters as at least 15 new coffee shops were opened in one of the city’s poorest district over the past year.

Most of the commercial rentals along Tai Nan Street remain firm, compared to a 10 percent overall drop in Hong Kong, a report said.

There is no lack of people lining up in front of Cafe Sausalito, Colour Brown x phvlo hatch and such like for an hour over the weekend for a seat whereas bars in Lan Kwai Fong, Wan Chai and Prince Edward were quiet for a year under the social distancing policy.

There might be upside rental revision. As reported in the local news, the lease of an old leather company might not be renewed as the district turned into a more artistic place for arts and gift shops and boutique shops. Some tenants also worried they could probably get a 10 per cent to 20 per cent rental increase after their contracts expire.

The vibrancy seen in Tai Nan Street contrasted sharply with Russell Street in Causeway Bay, once known as the world’s most expensive shopping area. Due to the absence of mainland and other tourists, commercial rentals took a plunge.

Ditto for the shops in the three other core districts, namely Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok.

One retail franchise that stood out and opened more stores was the Japanese snack franchise Don Don Donki.

Since landing in Mira Place, Tsim Sha Tsui in July 2019, Don Don Donki has expanded to seven stores, mostly in core golden districts, taking advantage of the reduced rentals.

Popular among youngsters because they could not travel to Japan, there are always queues forming in front of the store, especially on Friday and weekends.

Because of the huge popularity, the Japanese company was said to be targeting to expand its Hong Kong network to 24 stores.

Well, as they said, going to Don Don Donki is like going to Japan, so it is definitely a beneficiary under the pandemic.

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EJ Insight writer