Vendors express discontent at Kwun Tong night market over poor management and losses

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File photo. Source: Home Affairs Department/Facebook.

30th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) Kwun Tong midsummer night market at Yue Man Square, part of the government’s “Night Vibes Hong Kong” initiative aimed at boosting consumer spending, concluded its 20-day run amidst controversy and dissatisfaction among vendors. The event, which took place in Kwun Tong, saw several stall owners vacate their spots prematurely last night, in a clear gesture of protest against what they describe as mismanagement by the organisers.

Multiple vendors have voiced significant grievances regarding the management of the event, leading to business turnovers vastly below expectations. Ms. Ho, a dessert stall owner, revealed that despite an investment of HK$80,000 across two stalls, her total sales barely reached HK$20,000 since the market’s opening. This turnover is a far cry from the daily expected revenue of HK$20,000 to HK$50,000 that was projected based on past market performance at the same location. Ms. Ho also expressed concerns over logistical issues, such as her allocated spot being on a slope, which she was not informed about due to the area being barricaded prior to lease signing.

Source: Home Affairs Department/Facebook

The situation was aggravated by inadequate cleaning services and lack of sufficient promotion, which vendors believe contributed heavily to the low footfall. Despite repeated communications with the event’s management firm, promises of improvement remained unfulfilled. The dissatisfaction reached a peak when the scheduled closing ceremony, which was supposed to include a visit from a civil affairs officer, was abruptly cancelled without explanation.

Mr. Hui, who operated three snack stalls, echoed these sentiments, stating that two of his outlets failed to conduct any significant business. With the total operational costs nearing HK$100,000, he has decided to abandon two stalls, using them merely for storage. “The lack of response from the organizers to our continual complaints has been disheartening,” he stated.

At the forefront of the venue, Mr. Ng, another vendor, reported similar challenges. Despite an investment of HK$110,000, he estimates a loss of HK$80,000. Contrary to his expectations of high traffic given the market’s proximity to a major MTR station, the actual visitor count was disappointing. “It’s puzzling to see crowds outside but not making their way into the market,” he noted. His experience in other locations like Sai Kung and Yuen Long, where queues would form, starkly contrasts with the poor turnout at Yue Man Square.