As competition gets fiercer, shopping centers have to get creative to attract crowds. Millennium City Phase 5, or apm, which opened in Kwun Tong in 2005, positions itself as a late-night retail hotspot. The shopping mall targets shoppers aged between 19 and 39 who usually stay up late.
"The name apm is actually a blend of am and pm, demonstrating the mall's vibrancy and its late-night shopping style," said Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency general manager for leasing Maureen Fung Sau-yim.
With 170 shops and 35 dining outlets, apm is the only shopping mall in Hong Kong that stays open at night.
The shops stay open until midnight while the restaurants keep their doors open until 2am. The mall's entertainment section, which includes karaoke, operates until dawn.
Also in Kowloon East is MegaBox, which as its name suggests, uses the "big-box strategy."
Czarina Man Ching-chi, general manager for marketing at MegaBox Development, a subsidiary of Kerry Properties (0683), said MegaBox is unique as it is the largest shopping mall in Kowloon East, with the city's largest single-story book city and the biggest collection of home-improvement stores - all situated in its 1.1 million-square- foot shopping arcade.
MegaBox, which opened in June, will target more than just families. "People from all walks of life are our would-be shoppers," Man said.
This month, its marketing team will send 600,000 text messages to cell phones of youngsters, who can then claim gifts worth several hundred dollars by showing the message to staff at MegaBox.
"We are using the short message service for promotion as this is something that young people use everyday," Man said.
The competition is expected to grow hotter with the addition of Elements at Kowloon station. The MTR's (0066) flagship mall will join the fray next month.
"Elements aims to become the 'third place' for Hong Kong people, meaning that the mall will be a place that Hongkongers visit the most frequently after their homes and offices," said MTR Corp chief retail development manager Betty Leong Sin-ling.
MTR has put a lot of effort in anticipating its shoppers' needs. At the entrance of each of the mall's nine washrooms, there is a lobby with sitting area and magazine rack.
"We understand that boys usually have to wait for their girlfriends outside the washroom. Our idea is to provide a decent and comfortable place for them to wait," Leong said.
This is not all. The male washrooms will be stocked with colognes, aftershaves and electronic shavers while the female washrooms will have perfumes and make-up sets for use. Toilet attendants will make sure that all these personal items are kept hygienic.
"Our attendants will sanitize the equipment right after a shopper finishes using the electronic shaver," Leong said.