South China Morning Post
Eager shoppers in Hong Kong on Sunday kicked off a spending binge as the government rolled out the latest round of consumption e-vouchers aimed at boosting a post-Covid economy, but some said the reduced value of HK$5,000 (US$637) was not enough.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said the fresh round of electronic vouchers would inject HK$20 billion in consumer spending into the market, equivalent to 60 per cent of the city’s monthly retail sales.
“The HK$5,000 consumption voucher is estimated to bring a boost of 0.6 per cent to the economy, which is crucial to our economic recovery,” he told a radio programme on Sunday.
“We hope that businesses can offer more discounts to bring joy to the voucher holders. When people feel happy, they will naturally spend more or eat more.”
Some 6.4 million adult permanent residents and certain new arrivals from mainland China aged 18 or above are eligible for the HK$5,000 vouchers. They received HK$3,000 on Sunday, the first of two tranches, with the remainder to be disbursed on July 16.
Individuals who have migrated to the city through various talent and work admission schemes, or to study, are also entitled to vouchers worth HK$2,500 and received the first installment of HK$1,500 on Sunday.
The voucher scheme, first launched in 2021, is in its third year but the value of the latest round has been halved from last year’s HK$10,000 amid skepticism from economists and politicians over its effectiveness in boosting the economy.
Clerk Mary Wong, 30, at Tsim Sha Tsui’s Harbour City shopping centre, said she would use her first set of vouchers on apparels and everyday essentials.
She added she would use the second round of vouchers on travel agents operating in Hong Kong to buy flight tickets and hotels for a trip to Japan. “Since society has resumed normality, using the money for plane tickets or a hotel room is not a bad choice.”
“The economy won’t improve a lot instantly, it will need time to recover. During this time, I think there is a need for consumption vouchers for low-income households and others in Hong Kong,” she said.
Meanwhile, project manager Alex Lam, 35, said he did not have any plans yet on how to spend his vouchers.
“HK$5,000 is too little, you can use it all up in everyday spending. HK$10,000 is a more shocking figure that will let people think they have some money to spend,” he argued.
At an electronics store in the mall, Steven Chung, 28, bought a Dyson fan worth about HK$5,000.
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- Published By Team Hongkong Journalist