Hong Kong, 8 Aug (ZXS) -- The term "night economy" has recently become a "hot topic" in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong SAR Government hopes to invigorate the night market in the short term and consolidate the economic recovery after the "customs clearance", which has caused politicians, businessmen and scholars to offer suggestions for the "night economy".

In fact, Hong Kong has always been known as the "city that never sleeps", and in the fifties and sixties of the 20th century, there was already a Sheung Wan Tai Bang Land, known as a "civilian nightclub", for the public to spend their night. Before the epidemic, many shops and restaurants were open until three or four o'clock in the morning, so that people who left work at night could enjoy late-night snacks. However, an epidemic broke the "tradition", and the only shops that are still open late at night are convenience stores.

It is learnt that the HKSAR Government encourages the business community to extend the opening hours of shopping malls until midnight, hold international beer festivals and night markets in Central Market, and hold night activities on the waterfront, etc., and the "night economy" activities will start at the end of September at the earliest, around the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day.

In response to media enquiries, a number of developers said they would actively consider extending the opening hours of their malls, organising night events to attract foot traffic, and introducing shopping vouchers to encourage consumption. The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority also indicated that it would study providing theatrical performances at night, complemented by catering facilities, to enhance the nighttime vitality of West Kowloon and attract citizens and tourists.

The Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Industry Association, Qian Junyong, predicts that the revitalization of the night market will promote the business growth of the bar industry by 20%, and the association will also organize activities such as bar culture, and launch special offers to attract tourists and promote Hong Kong bar culture.

Zhu Jiajian, a Hong Kong member of the National Association for Hong Kong and Macao Studies and a commentator on current affairs in Hong Kong, wrote that all walks of life need to first define what the "night economy" is, whether it is night shopping, or the model of the Brands and Products Exhibition and the New Year Flower Market Carnival, or the nightclub pastime. The most important thing is to attract citizens and tourists while creating a new consumer life group, and not competing with restaurants and merchants who pay rent for real money.

Chu Jiajian told the China News Agency that Hong Kong's "night economy" must be streamed, otherwise people will feel that Hong Kong's image has fallen down a grade and solidify this impression. He suggested replicating the former Sheung Wan Tai Di in Temple Street, or creating a night market economy in the shopping streets of Central Market and its vicinity, Pak Tak New Street and Tung Kok Road in Causeway Bay, as well as the shopping community from Lee Tung Street in Wan Chai to Admiralty. He believes that the night market economy can help increase people-to-people connections.

Amid weak external demand, inbound tourism and private consumption remained the main drivers of economic growth for the rest of the year. With night markets in neighbouring areas booming, people from all walks of life in Hong Kong hope that the "night economy" can stimulate consumption growth.

A number of Legislative Council members have suggested to the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mr John Lee, to create a Hong Kong-style night market culture, with reference to the Mainland model, relaxation of hawker management regimes, noise and hygiene restrictions, and consideration of organising night markets and street art performances in the West Kowloon Cultural District and waterfront locations, so as to shape Hong Kong's new hotspots.

Chan Pei-leung, a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, told the China News Agency that the original intention of the SAR government is positive, but the night market in the mainland is spontaneous by the people, and Hong Kong relies on government departments to promote it, so it is necessary to consider from the perspective of consumers, and suggest that local businesses and citizens can do research.

However, the retail industry pointed out that merchants are currently facing the problem of insufficient manpower, and if they want to extend their business hours, they will need to work overtime continuously, hoping to accelerate the import of foreign workers. (End)