|Final Deadline for Newsstands?|
|Written by Li Hongliang|
|Friday, 12 December 2008|
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Yip Shin Kee will close the six-square-foot newsstand he has run for 15 years on Des Voeux Road West in the New Year. With two children of school age to raise, he has to find another job to support the family.
Click to listen Mr. Yip talk about his difficulties:
He is not alone. In the past few years many of his fellow newsstand owners have ceased business.
Newsstands selling newspapers and magazines, cigarettes, chewing gum and soft drinks, have been a familiar part of Hong Kong’s urban landscape for decades.
Few people realize that in the past few years the newsstand business has been struggling, and that many long-established newsstands have already closed.
According to Vice Chairman of Hong Kong Newspaper Hawkers Association, Cheung Tak Wing, the number of registered newsstands dropped to around 700 last year from 2,000-3,000 just a few years ago. Facing the rise of convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, and changes in newspaper buying habits driven by the Internet, the future for traditional newsstands appears bleak.
Hong Kong is a place where modernity and tradition co-exist, but in recent years many aspects of Hong Kong’s unique heritage, from the Star Ferry terminal to Hong Kong’s oldest wet market in Graham Street, Central, have disappeared or are under siege.
For decades newsstands have offered an important distribution channel for a broad range of print publications, including not only Chinese and foreign language newspapers and magazines, but publications covering topics from politics to pornography.
Faced with a censored media in the PRC, many mainlanders come to Hong Kong to purchase political magazines and pamphlets unavailable in their homeland.
Newsstands are also part of the collective memory of Hong Kong people, and a focus of community for people living in the neighbourhood of a particular newsstand.
Within a few years this important part of Hong Kong’s heritage may have completely disappeared.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 12 December 2008 )|
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