Sheung Wan has been called one of the coolest neighborhoods in Hong Kong, thanks in part to the laid back and authentic atmosphere which has given rise in recent years to some of the best bars, cafes and restaurants in Hong Kong. However it is not just this development that makes the area such a unique destination, but rather how the new mingles and mixes with the old, palpable to visitors and residents alike across its many twisting streets and alleyways. The main force behind that feeling is the neighborhood’s community: steeped in history and also imbued with a thriving modern energy that is driving the ongoing growth of the area.
In order to put the neighborhood’s character into perspective, we caught up with local neighbors and tenants in Strand 50 to explore what they love most about working in Sheung Wan. Mr. Law from Law Wai Kin Tailor & Flag Making, and Fion Chu, Director at St Corporate Services Co. Limited, are both neighbors who have operated in the area for many years and been witness to the changes and growth of the area. We also caught up with theDesk Strand 50 member Tom Herbert-Doyle, Global Marketing Manager at PPC Samurai to gain the perspective of someone newly relocated to the area. Together we wanted to get their views on why Sheung Wan and Strand 50 are an ideal location for their work.
Why did you choose Sheung Wan?
Mr. Law: I have worked in the industry for over 40 years and 20 years in this building. I chose Sheung Wan because I grew up here, and because it’s convenient for me to get to many of my clients in Causeway Bay or Central. My first store location was in Sheung Wan, and I’ve been able to attract loyal customers from the local community over the years.
Fion Chu: The quality of local customers are quite high, and for us it makes sense to be close to the government offices on this part of Hong Kong Island, such as the Inland Revenue Department, Immigration Department, Companies Registry, and more. As an accounting firm most of our clients are SMEs located on HK Island, which means it’s always relatively convenient to get to them from Sheung Wan, and we can also save money on rent here compared to Central.
Tom Herbert-Doyle: I live local and enjoy this side of town. It’s close to the city, but still has a ‘local suburb’ vibe. For me, location was the main criteria for choosing an office, followed by facilities and events.
Why is community important to your business?
Law: Most of my customers are Hong Kong men who work or live in the area. The sense of community is therefore very important: customers can always go and try different tailors, but I have return customers who have come back many times. Some of them even pass recommendations to their friends to come to my shop. I think Sheung Wan is good because the customers are very friendly and easy going. I just like the local manner here compared to other districts. It affects my working hours too, as many people will come to me after work, so I stay open late.
Tom: Community is important in life fullstop, and being new to HK I wanted a place that was community-focused as I’m now a part of that community. Some of the initiatives, like the Urban Garden, really resonated with me since we really want to be part of a community that thinks about the bigger picture. It’s doesn’t have the be all about ‘what’s in it for me’ networking events.
Why did you choose Strand 50?
Fion: I chose Strand 50 largely for convenience, as it’s so close to the MTR station. It’s also still a relatively new building built in 2002, so I like the décor.
Law: I moved from my first store in Sheung Wan to this address at Strand 50 because there was a mall here in the past, and I could easily attract new customers on the ground floor. This location is very near to my previous store, so my customers could find me easily after I moved.
Tom: I liked the approach of theDesk with regards to the working environment and culture, plus the new fitout – and large terrace – were pretty appealing. This may make me sound boring, but it’s the small things that are important, things like; decent chairs, fast net, nice people.
How have recent developments in Sheung Wan impacted your business?
Fion: There have been many recent acquisitions of old buildings, along with new boutique hotels and renovation projects that are making the surroundings near the office prettier, with many new buildings going in. Although the area is becoming more commercial along with that development, Sheung Wan still is one of the best options for a company like ours when compared to other areas in Hong Kong, because it balances convenience and affordability for the small office size we need.
Tom: Being new to town I’m not sure what is new and what is not. However I do know that I got a lot of feedback and recommendations about Sheung Wan as an up-and-coming area.
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