By: Stacy ShiEdited by: Sunny Sun

Business

Live streaming commerce triggers another wave of consumption

"Don't go to sleep! Stay awake! Or you will lose hundreds of yuan!" A male live anchor yelled on the mobile phone screen, banging a gong. It was already 12 o'clock in midnight. Li Yuqing, a 20-year-old student from The Open University of Hong Kong, couldn't take her eyes off this live stream conducted by Austin Li, one of the hottest live streamers in mainland China. Meanwhile, another 100 million viewers tuned in, just like Ms Li.  Ms Li spent one thousand yuan on skin care products, pet supplies, and some luxuries from this live streamed show. It lasted seven hours and closed 8.809 million orders worth 690 million yuan. "Live streamers can provide more detailed explanations of the goods during live streaming, as well a lower price and more freebies," Ms Li said. This year's Double Eleven sales promotion activities have kicked off from Oct.21, with series of live broadcasts on the mainstream social media platform. According to the E-commerce live broadcast daily rank, the total revenue created by top 20 sales anchors from Taobao, Kuaishou, Tik Tok, reached 7.26 billion yuan on one day. This sales model releases huge consumption potential, drives the resumption of production and work, and becomes an important engine of traditional consumption and economic transformation. In February, over 30,000 sales anchors accessed to Taobao per day. The number of new anchors can see 100%. New live broadcasts as well as a 110% year-over-year growth in Gross Merchandise Volume. According to Sohu, Guangzhou Live E-commerce Research Institute and data provider Datastory jointly issued a live e-commerce trend report. The report reveals that the average of live views peaked in July at 2.4 million, but the average of each live streaming sales was at the lowest point during the same period, and turned to rise in …

Business

China's push on "street vendor economy" faces urban challenges

It is 4pm, Wang Jiayu brings a large parcel of toys to Archaize Street, in order to occupy a good position for the coming night before other vendors trickle in. The Street is the paradise for the night market in Datong, a city in Shanxi Province in mainland China. Every night, there are a host of vendors selling various goods. Wang Jiayu is one of the "familiar faces" of the street stall here as she has been setting up her stall since early June this year.  But they sold almost nothing, as if no one is visiting. She was so idle that she played with her pet dog, Lala. "Since school started, fewer people would like to hang out and we lost lots of customers," said Mrs.Wang.  She said her sales were 50% less than the summer vacation as the amounts of tourists and students significantly decreased. The goods she provides, such as toy cars and cartoon character models, are mostly targeted to children aged 5-12 who need to go to school on weekdays and busy with homework or tutorial classes at the weekend.  Apart from the instability caused by the fluctuation of the holidays, the street vendor economy also brings pressure to the city's sanitation, even affecting the physical stores.  Gao Yizhen, this 67-year-old man, is the cleaner of Archaize Street. He always works up late to make sure the streets are clean the next day since they night markets are not closing until midnight, "it is too exhausted to clean up until three in the morning." During summer vacation, when the night market with a large people flow is over, garbage such as plastic bags and bamboo sticks could be seen everywhere in this street. In addition to sweep the trash, the most difficult part for him was …

Politics

Masses gather at Prince Edward despite police banning placing flowers

Hongkongers mourned with flowers outside Prince Edward MTR station Monday evening - the 15-month anniversary of the 831 incident - despite police warning that those laid flowers might face prosecution.   Three people were fined for littering after presenting flowers near the exit around 4 pm, said Mong Kok East constituency District Councillor Ben Lam Siu-pan. "We just peacefully give flowers at the Prince Edward station. The police still crack down on us. It is ridiculous," Mr Lam said.  Mr Lam and other pan-democracy district councillors used to collect flowers left by protesters on the last day of every month outside the station. This year, they moved the paper boxes to Mr Lam's nearby office so that the ceremony could continue.  "The spirit still lives. We do not forget the 831 incident," he added.  Police have been accused of indiscriminately beating up passengers with batons and using pepper spray inside train compartments amid arrests of anti-extradition protesters in the railway station in August last year.  Rumours claimed someone died in the raid while officials declined. At least seven people were injured in the incident.  The city's protester Alexandra Wong Fung-yiu, nicknamed "Grandma Wong," appeared on the scene with white flowers and a yellow umbrella that had logos of the Union Flag on it. In October, she alleged that the Chinese authorities had detained her for 14 months in the mainland after she joined nearly every anti-extradition protest.  Mrs Lam, 58, only wants her surname to be shown for fear of being targeted by authorities, held a white flower in hands while facing the Prince Edward station across the street. She said she had stood there for one and a half hour to commemorate the "deaths" Mrs Lam said she joined the memorial at least five times. The recent surge of COVID-19 …

Society

Policy Address 20/21: Carrie Lam introduces a scheme to fight youth unemployment but students are hesitant amidst Hong Kong-Mainland political unrest. 

In Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's fourth policy address today, she addressed Hong Kong's growing unemployment rate and introduced a new scheme that will open up to 2,000 places, of which some are innovation and technology positions, in the Great Bay Area for postgraduate students.  The Greater Bay Area consists of 9 cities in China, as well as Hong Kong and Macau to create a megalopolis. With aims to increase cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau and promote economic development.  The city's unemployment rate hit 6.4% this year, the highest it has been in 16 years according to government statistics. Especially among the youth, according to trending economics, as of September 2020, youth unemployment has skyrocketed to a staggering 12.10%.  In order to combat this worrying trend, the Hong Kong Government will introduce as part of the Greater Bay Area expansion process a new scheme officially called "The Greater Bay Area Youth Development Scheme". In hopes that Hong Kong graduates will apply and receive career opportunities in the Great Bay Area.  "Personally, I won’t work or get a job in the Mainland," said Tommy Mo, a student at Hong Kong Baptist University. He expresses his concerns about the National Security Law and the repercussions that he might face for being vocal with his political views on the CCP on social media platforms.  Mr Mo isn’t the only one to hold such opinions, 70% of Hong Kong’s youth said that they would prefer to keep their distance from mainland China and 60% were not a fan of the Greater Bay Area and that it would bring “more harm than good”, according to media reports on a survey conducted by Hong Kong Guangdong Youth Association in January.  Alice Lam Hoi-Yan, another student at HKBU expressed similar concerns but thought the …

Health & Environment

Policy Address 20/21: Lantau island reclamation: Hong Kong hiker fears "backyard garden" be gone forever

Johnny Wong remembers every detail of the day trip with his family 30 years ago to Tung Chung - the farmlands and ditches, the taste of the chips he got from the tuck shop and shared with his sisters and the Chinese restaurant where they ordered a corn and fish maw soup and steamed fish.  The 41-year old cultivated a passion for hiking when he was young and has been an eco guide since 2004 and a geopark guide since 2010. Four years ago, he published a book on mountains and trails. "Every time you hike, you feel like you're at home. You can unburden your emotions and feel relieved and absorb positivity," he said, adding that nature has comforted him when he was laid off or had troubles in his career.  But now Tung Chung is a sprawling complex of housing and airport infrastructure. A similar story might repeat for Mr Wong's 4-year old daughter, he said, who had a glance of the unbounded ocean and sky of Peng Chau when her parents took her on a trip there. But the view she will see in 15 years will be different if the government carries on with its ambitious development plan called Lantau Tomorrow Vision.  The plan will build housing on 1,000 hectares of reclaimed land, equivalent to one-third the size of Kowloon, around the tiny, undeveloped island of Peng Chau, just off the coast of Lantau Island. The proposal is estimated to cost HK$624 billion and will take at least 15 years. The first phrase can provide up to 260,000 flats in a bid to seek new land supply to combat long-lasting housing problems. The project also aims to build the "third Core Business District."   "There will be buildings," Mr Wong said, pointing at the water encircled by …

Society

Policy Address 20/21: Professional Teachers' Union is skeptical of Carrie Lam's national security education plan

The government is working on plans to enhance national security education, Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng yuet-ngor said in the Policy Address 2020, given that students arrested under the social unrest lacked "law-abiding awareness" and failed to have "positive values " such as mutual respect and understanding.  However, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, the largest representative body for teachers in the city, disagreed with Mrs Lam's characterization of the arrested students and expressed doubt about the vague content of her plan. Around 2,000 of the 10,000 people arrested for protests last year were primary and secondary school students. "The social unrest in the past year involved people from different walk of life. There's no evidence that children are particularly being mobilised by someone,"  Fung Wai Wah, the president of HKPTU said. Instead of accusing students for a  lack of correct values, he said,  Lam should  "review" her governance and "rectify" the mistakes. As for the national security education plan, Mr.Fung said although this plan can help improve students' awareness of the rule of law, he was sceptical due to the vagueness of the statement. He added that the initiative depends on the content that is going to be taught.  In the policy address, Mrs Lam also reiterated that the Department of Justice will implement a ten-year-initiative called  "Vision 2030 for Rule of Law", which includes educating urban youth to understand the rule of law and promote "law-abiding awareness". The initiative comes after two teachers were disqualified after a primary school teacher from Alliance Primary School in Kowloon Tong. One was accused of teaching materials that were supporting independence, and another primary school teacher from Ho Lap Primary School in Tsz Wan Shan was deregistered due to teaching a distorted history of the Sino-British opium war.  This initiative …

Business

Policy Address 20/21: Carrie Lam rolls out real estate measures, limited impact expected for most

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced a series of long term housing measures on relieving the financial burden of enterprises and boosting housing supply, as announced in her 4th policy address today. Mrs Lam said that the double stamp duty on non-residential property transactions would be revoked from tomorrow, 26 November to benefit the property owners immediately. The measure is expected to facilitate the sale of non-residential properties to meet financial problems arising from the economic downturn. Hong Kong real estate experiences a contraction in the rental market this year, with the rent index decreased by 9.4% in September compared with the same period last year.  Brilliant Properties Limited, a small-scale property company is one of the suffering businesses in the pandemic. "Tenants could not afford the rent while owners are not willing to lower the price," said Cheuk Shik-kong, 60, owner of Brilliant Properties Limited. "Therefore, contracts were terminated," he added. Mr Cheuk also said, the overall revenue of his company has dropped by 30 to 40% compared to the figures last year. Much as the government would like to invigorate the real estate market with the abolishment of double stamp duty tax, property agencies considered it as an ineffective approach. "The impact will not be significant," said Lam Wai-cheung, 43, she has been working at Cheong Shing Property for three years. "I believe the measure will have certain effects on the buying and selling of stores but it will not be obvious until the pandemic comes to an end," she added. "Many buyers have the financial ability and intention to purchase commercial properties. What halts them from making the trade happen is not the price, but the pandemic situation," Ms Lam said. However, Li Ching, 55, a real estate agent at Cheong Shing Property, has a more …

Health & Environment

COVID-19: China to reserve vaccines for Hongkongers, Carrie Lam says

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Simran Vaswani、Jasmine Tse、Janice LoEdited by: Cara Li
  • 2020-11-25

China will reserve a portion of its vaccines specifically for Hong Kongers, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in the policy address on Wednesday. "We have enough money to procure vaccines to safeguard the health of Hong Kong people," said Mrs Lam. Benjamin Cowling, division head of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Hong Kong, said he was pleased to hear about vaccinations coming in from the mainland and hoped the city would be vaccinated by the end of next year.  However, the government needs a more comprehensive vaccination plan soon. "It is not only about the vision but the details: how we will get millions of doses, who will get vaccinated first," said Prof. Cowling.  He said countries like the UK and US are expected to roll out vaccinations as soon as the next three to four weeks.  Hong Kong joined COVAX, a global vaccine initiative, along with 184 countries. The COVID-19 global vaccine alliance aims to work directly with vaccine manufacturers to provide low and middle-income countries with equitable global access to vaccines.  China is also part of the coalition and aims to provide the COVAX network with a domestically-made vaccine. With two pharmaceutical companies in the mainland undergoing clinical trials, China aims to procure a vaccine for the market by the end of this year. A one-off $5000 subsidy was announced on Monday to those who test positive for the virus. The fund is for patients that may face financial difficulties when hospitalised. The government also implemented Cap. 599J — The Prevention & Control of Disease Regulation on Nov. 14, allowing private doctors to do testing with patients with COVID-19 symptoms. Patients have to conduct the virus testing as advised by medical practitioners within 14 days. More facilities would be available for COVID-19 patients as …

Health & Environment

COVID-19: Hong Kong might see more mass testing

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Simran Vaswani、Jasmine Tse、Janice LoEdited by: Cara Li
  • 2020-11-25

Hong Kong might see wide-spread COVID-19 community testing again, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in the policy address on Wednesday, as the city sees the highest number of infections since this summer, sparking a fourth wave.  Testing would be voluntary, she said, and targeting high-risk groups and asymptotic carriers. "It is essential for us to take all necessary measures to strengthen epidemic control by guarding against the importation of cases and the resurgence of domestic infections," said Mrs. Lam.  The first large-scale universal community testing was conducted in September with 1.78 million people tested, around 20% of the city's total population. The mass testing found 42 COVID-19 infections. Vinci Chan Hei-man, a registered nurse, agreed with the government's decision. "If implemented, such a step needs to properly target high-risk groups," said Ms. Chan.  "[Testing] has to be accompanied by stringent contact tracing and a population that understands the importance of strict adherence to social distancing rules," she added. A cluster was linked to elderly care homes in July, which caused a surge in the coronavirus death toll in the city, which is now 108. Hon Pierre Chan, legislative council member from the medical sector, said in a press conference that testing for high-risk groups is a "pragmatic and ideal" measure. "Even for the seasonal influenza, not all citizens are willing to get vaccinated. It is important not to force citizens to do testing," said Dr. Chan. Dr. Chan said Hong Kongers are hoping for stricter border control. He urged the government to block loopholes in border control policies.  Travellers from high-risk places such as the US, UK and India, need to provide proof of a negative virus test before boarding planes and a hotel confirmation for their 14-day quarantine.  A quarantine-free travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore …

Politics

Policy Address 20/21: The government is drawing up plans to strengthen national security education in the city

Young people will be educated in the rule of law, the Chief Executive said in her fourth policy address on Wednesday, as part of a 10-year initiative called "Vision 2030 for Rule of Law." "Targeted public education activities will be carried out to promote law-abiding awareness, while research and related data compilation will be conducted through collaboration with various stakeholders," she said. It is important to "enhance moral, civic and national education," including the constitution, the basic law and national security, she said, adding that citizens need a "sense of social responsibility and national identity, as well as an affection for Hong Kong and international perspective."  Part of the plan includes reforming the controversial Liberal Studies in public secondary schools, though no details on the reform were given, and having stricter regulation on teachers. A task force of locally and internationally renowned "experts" has been set up to advise the government on the plan, which was announced last year. The Financial Secretary earmarked about HK$450 million in the budget plan last year for the Department of Justice to implement the project. The Democratic Party responded in the afternoon criticising Mrs Lam for overthrowing the liberal studies system, which has been implemented for ten years in Hong Kong, saying that the government will promote "brainwashing national education" in the future. "The Democratic Party calls on all of our teachers and Hong Kongers to stick with our positions, letting our students be able to access comprehensive knowledge from different aspects, building up their ability of thinking critically and independently," Wong Pik-wan, spokesperson of the Democratic Party said at a press conference. "Anti brainwashing is becoming an important point for us in the coming future." In the past few months, the government has jumped into education to assess the professionalism of teachers, the …