What Lan Kwai Fong father says about nightlife economy

August 23, 2023 09:43
Photo: Reuters

Extending shopping hours past midnight? Relaxing rules on selling street food? Lengthening stock trading hours? Free night parking? Or simply banning Netflix?

There seems to be no simple solution to ease the plight of Hong Kong, which becomes a dead city after 10pm in the post-pandemic period.

Listens to Allan Zeman, who knows a thing or two about night economics after running the famous Lan Kwai Fong since the mid-80s.

In a video interview with New People’s Party legislator Adrian Ho King-hong, the father of Lan Kwai Fong wasted no time saying we should all get used to the new paradigm shift because the consumption pattern has changed.

It is understandable for the value-conscious locals to go to Shenzhen because it offers better service, quality and a more creative menu at the same time, he said, noting that the local restaurants must change instead of lamenting about poor business.

From the tourist perspective, it is not cheaper to shop in Hong Kong, as compared with online shopping which offered far more choices.

But still, mainlanders are rich consumers. Some of them would check in Lan Kwai Fong and spend half a million yuan a night for fun. That compares with foreigners who spend HK$100 for two beers during happy hours.

To be fair, the overseas tourists are yet to arrive as both the flight availability and ticket prices have not returned to normal.

One observation he has is that higher-spending foreign tourists will come if there are large-scale events or exhibitions.

But unfortunately, Hong Kong still lacks a large-scale stadium that can hold concerts or sports events that could attract tourists from all over the world.

In all, he is positive about Hong Kong because it’s only a few months since the end of the pandemic and it takes time for people to adjust.

Mr Zeman is confident that Hong Kong will recover soon. Let’s hope he is right again.

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EJ Insight writer