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The Young Reporter

Society

Hong Kong Brands and Products Shopping Festival opens, Unexcited by govt’s consumption voucher

The 2021 Hong Kong Brands and Products Shopping Festival, which was traditionally held during winter, opened on Friday in hopes to tap the buying spree boosted by the government’s HK$5,000 consumption voucher scheme.   For its first time held in summer, the festival will last for three days from August 6 to 8 at the AsiaWorld-Expo in Chek Lap Kok on Lantau Island.    After the opening ceremony of the festival, Edward Yau Tang-wah, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong, said the electrical consumption voucher was intended to boost the economy.   “Despite securing the enterprise, employment can also be secured by only spending a dollar,” he said. “We hope this goal can be achieved in the short run.”   The festival, used to be held annually in December or January in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, offers a variety of goods, as well as entertainment like shows, lucky draws and booth games for visitors.   The organiser, the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, expected the festival would have an enthusiastic response as registered citizens started to receive a $2,000 electronic voucher from the beginning of August. The balance of the voucher will be paid later this year.   “Some customers bought boxes of products using the vouchers,” said Ms Lee, who refused to disclose her first name. She is in charge of HOME+, an online shop that offers frozen food, groceries, household appliances and beauty products.   “We expect a 10% to 20% increase in membership after the festival,” she said.   The owner of Tak Shing Sea Products Co., Ltd. Ms Woo, who withheld her first name, said   while half of the customers purchased with electronic vouchers, the sales were limited. “They spend no more than $2000,” she added.   “We didn’t fantasise about …

Hong Kong residents and university students arriving from mainland scramble to adapt to latest Return2HK scheme

  • 2021-08-05

After completing the mandatory coronavirus test, passengers on China Eastern flight MU507 from Shanghai, one of the few flights arriving today from mainland China, gradually exited the arrivals hall around 5:30 p.m., reluctantly ready to accept latest quarantine requirements of the Return2HK scheme. "The government did not give us time to respond,'' said Xindy, a passenger on the Shanghai flight who came to work in Hong Kong and will stay in a hotel for her quarantine. "People who do not have a place in Hong Kong have to book hotels to quarantine, but many hotels are fully booked and many don't provide the quarantine service. The time left for us was too short, and the government did not provide any help." The Hong Kong government announced yesterday that due to the sudden increase of coronavirus infections in mainland China, from midnight today (Aug. 5), Hong Kong residents returning from the mainland, except Guangdong Province, are subject to 14-day compulsory quarantine at home under the Return2HK scheme. They are also required to be tested five times for a coronavirus infection during and after the quarantine period. "The previous policy, even if it is urgent, is usually implemented from ‘next Monday.’ It's on short notice this time," said Xindy, who was unhappy with the sudden change and only provided her first name. The new quarantine policy also affects university students arriving from the mainland. Many students who returned to mainland China during summer holiday have to adjust their return plans. "I originally planned to return to Hong Kong after August 20, but now I may go to Shenzhen these days," said Charlotte Wang, an undergraduate film student at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) who is now in Xi'an. "Since I have to either stay in Guangdong for at least 14 days or …

Society

Mass Covid testing in Macau after Delta variant found in one family

More than 600,000 people in Macau have three days to get a Covid test or they may lose access to public transport. There have been long lines outside 41 Covid testing centres since 9 a.m this morning. The move came after a family of four tested positive for the Delta variant. A girl in the family visited Xi’an recently on a school trip. She and two people who sat next to her on a flight to Zhuhai all tested positive. Failure of an online booking system caused further chaos. Some people who thought they had booked a test showed up only to find there was no record of their booking. Xiao Heiwu, a senior high student told The Young Reporter that the queue stretched outside Macao Federation of Trade Unions Workers Stadium where she was waiting for her test. “I booked the test online, but I still needed to wait for an hour,” she said “People had to wait in the rain,” she added. People wait for their Covid test in the rain outside Macao Federation of Trade Unions Workers Stadium. (Video provided by Xiao Heiwu)   Jenny, a student from the University of Macau who didn’t provide her full name, said in a phone interview that she stood in line for over three hours to get tested. “Such a large number of people (should be tested) in such a short period of time,” she said. “Queues are inevitable.”   Macau health authorities announced last night that the health code on everyone’s mobile phone would change to blue from 9 a.m. today, indicating they must get a test. The code was supposed to turn green once a person tests negative. But those who do not get a test within three days will get a yellow health code, which means they …

Society

Imported Delta strain spreads to 15 provinces and municipalities

The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has yesterday spread to 15 provinces and municipalities on the mainland since it was first detected on July 20 in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province in eastern China. As local authorities try to stem the outbreak, lockdowns and travel restrictions have been imposed in many parts of the country. In the latest development, Wuhan in Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak that started in late 2019, will begin testing its 11 million people, after seven locally transmitted cases have been recorded.  In Zhangjiajie, the scenic city in Hunan province in central China known for its spectacular landscape, both local residents and tourists have been barred from leaving, after 13 confirmed infections were identified.   In Nanjing, the population has been put through three rounds of COVID-19 tests. Lukou district was designated a high-risk area and 31 nearby districts medium-risk, according to local media reports. So far, the city has recorded 220 confirmed cases of infection, of which six are classified as severe. Thousands of citizens who reside in medium and high-risk areas have been quarantined in hotels, while others were told to refrain from going out.  As shopping malls and supermarkets in some areas were forced to close, buses and trains have also changed their routes to avoid passing through high-risk areas.  Despite these preventive measures, the city is not under a full lockdown and most people still need to go to work.   Guo Guanchu, a student of Southeast University, said people in the city did not find the current wave of infection frightening.  “The impact of the pandemic on Nanjing is decreasing, but it is having a bigger impact on the whole country,” he said, referring to the rising number of infections across the country.  But travel restrictions imposed to …

Consumption Vouchers set off a spending spree

  • 2021-08-02

About 10 people lined up at a convenience store outside Tai Wai MTR station this morning, ready to claim their government consumption e-vouchers through their Octopus cards. Eligible people have been receiving the first batch of HK$2000 e-vouchers since yesterday. The second batch of $2000 will be issued in October followed by $1000 in December. Consumers must spend what they have received in order to get the next two rounds of handout. The e-vouchers can be paid through Alipay Hong Kong, Octopus, Tap & Go and WeChat Pay HK. The payments can be activated online or by tapping the Octopus card at a payment counter. Miss Wong was in the queue in Tai Wai this morning. She planned to use the vouchers to buy a television set. "I don’t mind waiting in line given the discount," she said, "and there are convenience stores everywhere in Hong Kong. So if you really don’t want to line up and wait, you can get the vouchers later." Thomas Tong was shopping for an air conditioner at Fortress in the Festival Walk mall. "I planned to buy an air conditioner, but the vouchers helped me make up my mind sooner," said Mr. Tong. A sales person at an electrical appliance shop told The Young Reporter that the consumption vouchers have really helped business.  Many customers have been visiting his store since the vouchers were issued yesterday and he has seen at least a 40% increase in sales. Some restaurants that accept e-vouchers display a poster outside to attract customers. Simon Wong, Chairman of Hong Kong Japanese Food and Cuisine Association told The Young Reporter that the e-vouchers have brought a10% increase in business since yesterday.  But the manager at Six Up Inn in Kowloon Tong has not seen a significant increase in clientele.  "More …

Society

HK Swimmer Haughey Breaks Asian Record, Wins Second Olympic Silver Medal

  Hong Kong people cheered and applauded on Friday as they witnessed local swimmer Siobhan Bernadette Haughey breaking the women’s 100m freestyle Asian record and winning her second silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.   Collected her first silver medal in the women’s 200m freestyle two days ago, Ms Houghey finished the 100m freestyle at 52.27, only 0.31 seconds behind Australian athlete Emma McKeon, who made an Olympic record at 51.96.    Setting the new personal and Asian best, the second silver makes Ms Haughey the first Hong Kong swimmer to attain two medals in the Olympic Games.   Speaking at the press conference, Ms Houghey said 80% of the performance depended on her mentality. “I broke the personal best at the semi-final and achieved my goal. I just wanted to enjoy the 100m race,” said Ms Haughey.      Tokyo Olympic marks Hong Kong’s best performed Olympic Games so far, including two silvers achieved by Ms Haughey and a gold from Cheung Ka-long in the men’s individual foil fencing which is the city’s first medal in the game.    Approximately 500 audiences at APM, a shopping mall in Kwun Tong cheered for the 23-year-old while watching the live broadcast together.    Crowded on two floors, supporters brought along cheering tools like pom poms that made loud sounds by hitting and decibels reached the maximum as Haughey’s silver medal was secured. No one could help but cry out their excitement and appreciation.     Ten-year-old swimmer Yu, who withheld his first name, was inspired by the outstanding performance of Ms Haughey. “I will practice swimming more often, but winning an award in the Olympic Games is too difficult for me,” he said.   Audiences showed both the national flag and regional flag of Hong Kong after Ms Haughey won the …

Secrets of animated film production revealed in new Pixar exhibition

  • 2021-07-29

Barking out “A good soldier never leaves a man behind,” a life-sized model of Buzz Lightyear, one of Pixar’s most recognizable animated characters, flashes a broad smile and stands arms akimbo, ready to welcome visitors to a new museum exhibition that reveals through hands-on activities how to bring pixels to life. The Science Behind Pixar, a traveling interactive exhibit planned and produced by Boston’s Museum of Science and Pixar Animation Studios, opens to the public tomorrow through Dec. 1 at the Hong Kong Science Museum. Around 30 members of the news media and guests were allowed exclusive access to the exhibition a day before it officially opens. Pixar Animation Studios, owned by Disney, is known for its globally award-winning digitally animated short and feature films including Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Up, Finding Nemo and more recently Luca. In the exhibition, visitors will learn how these films ingeniously merge science, technology, engineering, art and maths (STEAM) to create the lively characters and realistic scenes that have been projected on movie screens worldwide for the past 25 years. More than 50 interactive exhibits, physical models and videos will be on display across eight areas. In addition to the informative and enlightening videos, the exhibition also includes screen-based activities so visitors can experience different roles in movie-making production and understand each behind-the-scenes process. Visitors will also be allowed to pose and take pictures with the life-sized models of some classic Pixar film characters, such as Buzz Lightyear, Mr.Q and Sullivan. General admission price is HK$30 on most days and HK$5 for full-time students. If you are interested, remember to make an appointment on the website of the Hong Kong Science Museum. Reservation website: https://hkscm-pixar.com/zh/event/the-science-behind-pixar/1.    

Society

New non-invasive colorectal cancer test may lower the cost and risk of detection

  Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have identified four unique bacterial genetic sequences found in the faeces of patients with colorectal cancer. By testing for these markers, known as M3, the scientists have developed a new non-invasive test that can detect colorectal cancer with up to 94% accuracy.   The CUHK team used the M3 test on more than 1100 cancer subjects. Patients were asked to swab their faecal samples at home. The swabs were then stored in plastic vials and sent to the laboratory for analysis. The results were available in four hours.   Based on a risk scale, doctors can then use the results to predict the likelihood of the patient developing cancer, and offer dietary recommendations to reduce the risk.   Patients with high risks may then be asked to have a colonoscopy to look for cancer cells and polyps.   The M3 test can also be used to detect recurrent polyps which may develop into cancer. The scientists used the M3 test on more than 200 patients who have had polyps removed within five years. The M3 test can detect the polyps with up to 90% sensitivity.   Compared with current tests for colorectal cancer, the M3 test is more sensitive than a faecal immunochemical test and less invasive than colonoscopy. Patients do not need to prepare the bowels for testing and there is no risk of rupturing the bowels or gastrointestinal bleeding. The cost is also much less than colonoscopy since patients can collect the samples themselves.   “We are cautiously optimistic about the popularisation of the M3 test,” said Prof Francis Chan Ka-leung, Dean of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research at CU Medicine.   “The cost for the M3 test is subject to different needs of …

Business

Hong Kong SME Leading Business Index hits 3-year high in Q3 as business confidence returns

  The overall Standard Chartered Hong Kong SME Leading Business Index rose by 4.4 to 46.6 in the third quarter this year, the highest since Q3 in 2018, as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) regained business confidence amid the gradual easing of the COVID-19 situation in the city, said the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC). Edmond Lai, Chief Digital Officer of HKPC, said in a news conference on Tuesday, “The survey shows that SMEs are flexing their muscles to pick up their business as fast as possible by increasing investment and expanding staff size.”  Kelvin Lau, senior economist of Greater China at Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong Limited, expected the positive momentum to remain intact in the second half of 2021, backed by further development in the IT industries and a recovery in the real estate sector. The overall index, which is compiled by HKPC and sponsored by the Standard Chartered Bank, rose for three consecutive quarters despite it was still below the neutral mark of 50.  All five component sub-indices were up and among which the “global economy” recorded the most significant growth to 52.8 from 43.6 a quarter earlier, said Mr. Lai. It was followed by recruitment sentiment of 50.9 and investment sentiment of 49.1. Talking about SME’s perspective and planning in response to the economic recovery this year. The business performance of information and communications was the best as 56% of the SMEs surveyed said that their business returned to the levels before the pandemic or fared better than that, while accommodation and food services were the most affected, with 81% of SMEs reporting a setback in business.   The retail industry index also recorded a surge, rising by 10.7 to 46.9 quarter on quarter due to the continued unwinding of social distancing measures since the first quarter …

Jewellery trade shows held in mixed mode and open to public

  • 2021-07-26

For the first time, two major jewellery shows in Hong Kong are open to members of the public and held in a hybrid format with a physical exhibition supplemented by an online matching service. The 37th Hong Kong International Jewellery Show and the 7th Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) opened yesterday. The physical exhibition for the twin shows held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre will run until July 29, while the online service will end on August 5. Because of COVID-19 restrictions on international travel, most of the 440 exhibitors are local companies, who have had to adjust their business strategy. Mr. Stanley Chu Kum-wing, an expert in jade from Anton Jewellery, said the shows used to be world-oriented, but had become a local exhibition this year. “We will select jewellery that is more popular with local people,” he said. “The number of exhibits has been reduced to one-third (of the original amount), and prices are very favourable. " An on-site helper of the HKTDC, who asked not to be named, said the previous jewellery exhibitions were always world-class trade shows, and there were usually many exhibitors from all over the world. However, almost all of the exhibitors this year were local companies, and the shows were being opened to the public to increase visitor numbers because there were few visitors from overseas. Singapore’s Leow Antique Watch & Jewellery is one of a few non-local exhibitors. Mr. Lik Szeto, told The Young Reporter that the company has great confidence in the Hong Kong market, where customs declaration procedures are relatively simple and tax is very low. He said Hong Kong plays a very important role to the company’s customers, who are mainly overseas Chinese from …