Business

Health & Environment

Hong Kong's first solar-powered food truck wins catering award

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Holly Chik、Michelle NgEdited by: Choy York Borg Paulus
  • 2017-11-07

Hong Kong's first green food truck won the Gold Prize of Catering in Traditional Cuisine of CLP’s Greenplus Award Programme. The solar-power panels, which cost over $20,000, are installed on the vehicle's roof to supply electricity for fans and for customers to charge their electronic devices. “The eye-catching panels also demonstrates the eco-friendliness of the vehicle whereas other energy-saving measures are usually not obvious,” said Trevor Ng, Managing Director of Pat Chun, who has been operating the $800,000 truck since March this year. The company also adopts an energy management system which can be operated with a smartphone to improve energy efficiency. “With the system, we can collect real-time energy consumption data and adjust the use of electricity,” said Ng. For example, they can use the remaining heat generated by the automatic rice-fryer to cook their stewed beef brisket. To reduce interior temperature, they opted for a heat-resistant automatic rice-fryer. The solar panels on the roof also serve as a heat barrier during hotter days. A centrifugal range hood and a grease trap are also installed to collect used cooking oil that will be converted to biodiesel for the car. Ng said they save about 25% on their electricity bill after implementing these measures. Such environmental protection measures “mitigate climate change, lower business cost and create new business opportunities,” said Philip Yung Wai-hung, Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism).  

Society & Politics

Hong Kong bike-sharing initiatives's secretive rise

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Japson Melanie Jane、Angie Chan Wing Ling、Xu MingyanEdited by: Daniel Ma、Sean Hsu、Choy York Borg Paulus
  • 2017-10-04

The Lands Department confiscated around 30 bikes in Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long, most of which are from GoBee, the first bike-sharing service in Hong Kong. Unlike existing bike-rentals, bike-sharing services allows users to rent green bikes by scanning QR codes with their mobile phones, posing no restrictions on where to pick-up or drop off the bicycles. Sha Tin District Councillor Sunny Chiu Chu-bong finds the bike-sharing service is a good concept and can be very convenient, though problems have arisen since before its implementation. However Chiu said there are no regulations towards these services, but taxpayers are paying for these bikes. “They are using government land to make profit, without approval from the public.” The district councillors were not informed of the bike-sharing service until they started receiving complaints; Some complained of alarms going off and are unable to be turn them off; Bikes were inappropriately parked, blocking the road. These are only some of the common problems found since the launch of the service. “Hong Kong is not ready for bike-sharing services,” he added. “ The city lacks government regulation and infrastructure. More similar companies are going to surface and that will worsen illegal parking.” Sha Tin resident Chan said this service is quite convenient, but it’s not very well-known and the payment method is quite complicated. Though she is concerned of the parking problem, she would choose to pick up these green bikes for a free 30-minute session. Another resident Michelle Cheung feels uneasy about the registration and payment method of the services. She fears about privacy problems which could hinder with the usage of the service. “The government should make them register and plan out the areas for them to park the bikes.” She answered when asked about possible government action, regarding the disruption caused …

Society & Politics

Cultural tours fail to pull mainland tourists during Golden Week

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Holly Chik、Caroline Kwok、Ezra CheungEdited by: Angela Cheung、Emily Cheung
  • 2017-10-04

  Not a lot of mainland tourists come to Hong Kong for cultural exploration or eco-tours, spokesperson of Mainland Travellers Centre of China Travel Service said. The company offers different one-day tours including popular tourists spots such as Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland, but they also offer cultural and eco-tours. For example, China Travel Service provide cultural tours to Kowloon Walled City Park and visits to Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. Both types of packages targeted at mainland travellers but cultural and eco-tours are usually less popular amongst customers regardless in peak seasons or in regular days. Over these few days of the National Day Golden Week, over 150 individuals from the mainland came to Hong Kong daily for one-day tours of traditionally popular tourist attractions. Yet, only less than 60 joined either cultural or eco-tours every day. China Travel Service spokesperson said the company did not marketise any of their tours as flagships and customers could make their own choice. “Usually they are here (in Hong Kong) for shopping and popular tourists spots,” spokesperson said. Ho Ho Go Experience is a tour agency which covers tradition and off-the-beaten-path attractions. The founder, Ling Ho, also said no mainland tourist has joined their cultural tours after they were launched in 2015. • 20 Most Popular Countries as Mainlanders' Tourist Destinations (Data from China Tourism Academy) Former Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying aimed to diversify the visitor source market and develop cultural and creative tourism, as he announced in the 2016 Policy Address. The government defined “creative tourism” as tourism and minglement of experimental activities with local characteristics, citing South Korea, Brazil and New Zealand as examples. Brazil offers tourists samba dance learning experiences instead of just watching a dancing show, whereas New Zealand organises indigenous related hands-on workshops operated by local …

Business

Hong Kong tops the Japanese Pearl Export Market

By: Tracy Zhang, Jade Li, Dorothy Ma Edited by: Winnie Ngai and Emily Xu   Hong Kong has become a most sought-after and promising Japanese jewellery market as the city’s growing appetite for pearl. The 35th Hong Kong Jewellery Fair opened on September 13th at AsiaWorld Expo. Organized by UBM Asia, the seven-day fair has attracted over 3,690 exhibitors from 56 countries and regions. As the largest Asian jewellery fair, it is expected to draw more than 56,000 visitors. Hong Kong has been the top market for Japanese pearl, accounting for 80 per cent of the country’s pearl exports last year, according to the annual report of Japan's agriculture, forestry and fisheries exports. In 2016, the amount of exported Japanese pearl to the city was valued at 24,222 million yen (about HK$ 1,719 million)– about eight times of the value exported to the US, which ranks second. According to Hong Kong Merchandise Trade Statistics Import from January to July 2017, Japan takes the lead in the quantity and value of pearl trade in Hong Kong. Project Manager of Japanese Pearl trading company Hinata Trading Corporation Limited, Alexander Muller said this was his sixth time attending the fair. "Hong Kong is the centre of the Japanese pearl trade," he said, "Japanese pearl market is the most booming trading market in Hong Kong so I hope [this good situation] would keep on going.” Muller believes that the high credibility of pearl quality and the reputable tradition of Japanese pearl make the business successful in Hong Kong. His company is expert in refining irregular shapes of pearl to meet the demand of its key customers from Europe and America. “People from mainland China and Hong Kong only account for a small part of our business sales since they are more interested in the perfectly round pearls,” …

Business

Help Yourself !

Self-ordering technology at restaurants has been around in the United State and Japan for at least 20 years. But here in Hong Kong, the demand for self-ordering technology has gone up over the past three years, according to Hans Paul, co-founder of a self-ordering solution provider. Profits of his company has tripled every year. Fast food chain restaurants, including McDonald’s, started providing self-ordering service in mid-2015. Customers simply tap on a screen to choose their food. The automated system then charges users’ credit cards and all they need to do then is just pick up the food once it is ready. Not only fast food chains but also other businesses or canteens in hospitals and universities starts to adopt this technology. For example, Citibank, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and City University of Hong Kong have installed self-ordering kiosks in their canteens. “As self-ordering technology becomes popular, customers will get used to it and use it efficiently. Other fast food restaurants such as Café De Coral or Fairwood will then have the confidence to develop it too,” said Leung Wai-keung, Associate Professor of Marketing at City University of Hong Kong. Leung thinks the rising popularity of “self-ordering” has to do with the fast-paced lifestyle of Hong Kong. He said self-ordering service greatly reduces the waiting time for food ordering. This kind of time-saving model meets Hong Kong people’s need, leading to the increasing trend of the service, he said. Leung pointed out that difficulties in hiring also contributes to the popularity of self-ordering systems. Labour cost is going up, plus few job seekers are willing to take on the heavy workload in the food and beverage industry. Paul thinks self-ordering solutions allow catering businesses to reallocate their human resources. They can cut out the cashiers and instead, hire staffs to …

Business

The Fall and Rise of Traditional Craftsmanship

Whilst time has been slipping away, some local handiwork stay. Tucked away in Shau Kei Wan, an old fishing village on the Northeastern shore of Hong Kong Island, a small shop is all that’s left of a Chinese tradition in Hong Kong. Lai Hing Kee Embroidery has been selling handcrafted quilts and Chinese wedding gowns for over half a decade. In recent years, Lai Sum, 49, who is the third owner of the 53-year-old shop, has stopped selling and renting out what he calls "obsolete" items, such as wedding dresses and towel quilts, some of which are on the First Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory of Hong Kong. "Our business has not been doing well. To be honest, if this shop(鋪位) is not owned by my family, it would have been closed down long ago," said Lai, whose grandfather bought the shop in its early years. It started off as a traditional wedding supplies store, selling bedclothes and wedding gowns. “Many fishermen in Shau Kei Wan took traditional Chinese wedding customs, such as wearing a highly embroidered red silk dress with a pair of dragon and phoenix, very seriously back then,” said Lai. A few years ago, the government Intangible Cultural Heritage Office visited their shop for a week and recorded the quilt making procedures, which ended up in the First Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory of Hong Kong, said Lai. The office was set up in 2004 according to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. According to the convention, the aim is to safeguard heritage through “identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement, transmission, as well as revitalization “. Yet all Lai received was a certificate from the office, which he considers of no help to his …

Business

An augmented piece in the real world

  • 2017-05-24

Games with immersive experience are merely one dimension of AR world. In the blueprint of AR business people, classroom, retail market and advertisement will all become battlefields of AR in the future. The word Augmented Reality swept the city in 2016 with the viral game Pokémons Go. Although the game seems to be dropped by most of the people after the hit, Hong Kong entrepreneurs do not stop their attempts to go on exploiting the potential of AR industry in a diverse way. Serving education, retail, and advertising fields is the intensified direction of worldwide AR business. Figures speak out for the prospect of the market - a report of Goldman Sachs last year estimates that the value of global VR/AR application in retail and education field could reach about $12.4 billion and $5.4 billion respectively by 2025. A few Hong Kong startups woke up and smelled this opportunity these years but the whole industry is still in a primary stage. Though the technique itself sounds like a path to hyper-reality, local AR developers’ role is more similar to contractors than scientists, who buy technology over- sea then offer made-to-order services to different targets. “When you scan a plan using AR, some three-dimensional kinds of stuff or videos will pop up – this is what AR could do now technically. However, the point is not what it could do but how to apply it wisely, creating fresh things”, said Roy Lo, Business Director of Creote Studio. Roy and his wife Coby made a name for themselves for the innovation injecting AR into their wedding in- vitations and wedding album, which won them the HSBC Youth Business Award last year and triggered off the entrepreneurship. Now their business is trying to prove that AR marketing solution could be more vivid and …

Business

Shopping Africa

  • 2017-04-11

An e-commerce platform based in Uganda may bring the country out of poverty and outdated technology.

Business

Door-to-door Food Delivery: A Growing Trend

  • By: Angela Cheung
  • 2016-12-02

Is online trading applicable to food as well? by Angela Cheung Online food delivery services are growing and well-suit bustling Hong Kong. Foodpanda, Deliveroo and UberEATS are the main online food delivery service providers in Hong Kong. By partnering with different F&B businesses, they provide on-demand delivery services between customers and businesses. Hong Kong is one of the youngest markets of Foodpanda. They offer more than 1,000 restaurant options such as Jamie’s Italian, Hungry Korean and Cali-Mex. Foodpanda provides the online food delivery service in 24 countries. It has been operating in Hong Kong for nearly five years. Alexander Roth, CEO of Foodpanda Hong Kong, said that they see a growing trend in these services. “I don’t personally see it as a competition. Foodpanda, specifically in Hong Kong, is a educational process.” Roth says despite the fierce competition within the F&B industry, businesses are getting more engaged with the online media. “There are a lot of different functions, menu items and restaurants we have but others don’t. They are the key differentiators of different companies.” 70% of the transactions are completed with the mobile application. Roth says more businesses are trading online than ever before, mainly because of its convenience and busy lifestyle of Hongkongers. Citizens in Hong Kong are worried whether these delivery services use a proper packaging when delivering from the restaurant to the customers. Abid Khan, 29, a master’s student in Supply Chain Management, questioned whether these companies use appropriate materials to maintain food temperature in the delivering process. “The kind of delivery bag and how often they clean them is the two main operational factors which the consumers need to consider[when choosing which service provider to go for].” Simon Li, 47, a local resident, says he would not use these services because he prefers traditional dine-in …

Business

Social Enterprise: to the Community

The government’s plan to help social enterprises is not effective enough by Richelia Yeung & Cecilia Wong The problem of an ageing population is nothing new in Hong Kong. In his 2016 Policy Address, the Chief Executive predicted that the proportion of people aged 65 or above is estimated to increase from 15 percent in 2014, to 36 percent in 2064, that is, by over 1.5 million. “Hong Kongers have some of the highest life expectancies in the world. Many people have a long time to live after retirement,” said Mr Derek Pang, one of the founders of Senior CID. “People need to be concerned about what they have to do to make a living for the rest of their lives. That inspired us to start our company,” said Pang. Senior CID was established in early 2016 after Pang and two other partners participated in the Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge 2015 (HKSEC). It is a social enterprise that provides training in pet care for the elderly. Once trained, participants can then offer their services to pet owners. Pang said the difference between a social enterprise and a business company is that they have visions to do something for the society instead of just making money. “We want to give values to those in need." Pang added. “Providing a pet sitting service is a much better way for the elderly to make a living compared with collecting papers on the street,” said Mr Keith Leung, one of the pet sitters in Senior CID, which he became after his retirement from a teacher’s position at a secondary school. However, pet sitting services are not well known in Hong Kong. As a pet owner himself, Leung pointed out that the popularity of a pet sitting service in Hong Kong is much lesser than that of …