Hong Kong is exporting social media content via heritage images : is street art next and will it help food & beverage business?

By HK Lawyer AJ Halkes Barrister-at-Law

Tai kwun
Tai Kwun Jockey Club renovation heritage “selfie Central” Hong Kong

With serious heritage having been preserved at the Tai Kwun complex in central Hong Kong, and despite widespread re-development, the Soho (South of Hollywood Rd) area of Hong Kong, next to the worlds longest escalator, is enjoying a boost at least of footfall if not in sales.  But who are the winners in this selfie-paradise and is it a sure-bet or even sensible to open a business there, despite plentiful space for the brave.

The massive project taken on by the Jockey Club to breathe life into the monumental prison and police station complex is hitting high notes finally and a “rising tide lifts all boats” … or so you’d like to think; but is that even close to the truth on the ground?

Once outside the confines of that massive building there’s certainly the “must-have blue bag selfie” to take at The Bakehouse and I’m sure they could just sell the paper bags alone, which have become more important than the food. Even if you didn’t really like the pastry you have got the all important bag for the photo, the social media equivalent of “proof of life”, minus the dated newspaper.


Visitors to Bakehouse snap the prized blue-bag photo

So there is food success today in some units that have been many different (failed) businesses over the years, from Italian to Vietnamese, Mexican to bakery products or Tapas to Korean, so many changes I’ve lost track totally.  Yet we all know product-market-fit is a fickle creature and in Hong Kong location is also critical; with 50 mtrs deciding success or failure at times. Even the re-launched Stauntons is almost a “heritage brand” on a must-win corner that failed to work for its last occupant under a different brand name.


Vission next to PURE Fitness a new entry to the line-up mentality

Take a gentle flat stroll to the renovated PMQ (Police Married Quarters) a hive of tiny retailers and F&B less than 5 minutes away, but it seems to not be hitting high notes. In a row of seven shops on Aberdeen St. opposite the entry; four are now for rent, and the line of vacated properties has a history of food & beverage failures.

aberdeen st

Vacant units on Aberdeen Street : could it be the next must-visit location?

So apart from having an iconic carrier bag as the hot item (more need to try this!), or perhaps the latest neat take away snack; whats going to move people around or get them past your front door?

A great mural could be the answer.

It’s time to get our creative artists involved and for operators and landlords to welcome street art and send a call to action; if there is something unique to capture visitors cameras and phones; they will seek it out from Sheung Wan to Central.

The greatest opportunity for art and impact with reach may be not be carrier bags or croissants; it could be art on doorsteps and shopfronts.  That may not pay the bills but it will pull foot traffic around and as people move so they may stop, snack and spend.


SoHo street art is on the rise : will it mean more profits or sales?

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