Border shopping mall a flop, lawmaker Wong Tin-kwong admits

Business | 14 Feb 2018 4:13 pm

DAB lawmaker Wong Ting-kwong said today that a pop-up mall built near the Lok Ma Chau border to attract mainland shoppers away from North District has failed to meet expectations.

Speaking on an RTHK program, the lawmaker representing the import and export sector said only 20 shops have opened at The Boxes in San Tin – far short of the number anticipated. The mall, which covers an area of 420,000 square feet, has space for more than 200 shops.

Wong, who came up with the idea for the mall, said at the moment, only around 300 people are visiting the site each day – and most of them are local residents.

Wong first proposed the idea to build the pop-up mall three years ago amid concerns that mainland shoppers were causing a shortage of necessities like milk powder in Hong Kong, especially in North district.

He had hoped that the mall could divert shoppers away from busy areas and alleviate the disruption that flocks of traders were causing to the daily life of residents in the border district.

It was originally hoped that the mall would attract 9,000 visitors every day and 12,000 customers per day during weekends. Wong estimated that 85 percent of the shoppers would be tourists, mostly from across the border.

A Sheung Shui resident called the RTHK program and complained that crowds of mainland shoppers are still heading to North District, causing congestion in the area. He suggested that the San Tin mall could provide more shuttle buses to bring in visitors.

The mall operator earlier decided that shop tenants would have their rents waived until July – if they open their stores before April. Wong said he hoped that would encourage more people to open up shops at the site.-Photo: RTHK

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