Hong Kong’s Retail Diversity


“Julia Levitt just posted Hong Kong’s Retail Tetris at Metropolis Magazine POV. Levitt looks at the retail makeup, density that comes in a densely packed mega-city such as Hong Kong. The variety of spaces and retails outlets in Hong Kong is often an amazing sight.

I recently traveled to Hong Kong last weekend and found that shopping centres are as lively and exciting as the streetscape and vice-versa depending on the time of day. Restaurants are often on the 5th, 6th and often 11th floor of shopping centres. Nothing beats the streetscape at night time in areas such as Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok on the Kowloon side that are a sea of neon and LED light until the early morning. Same can be said of Central, Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island. The culture in Hong Kong is also around eating and often Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Aftenoon Tea, Dinner, Midnight Tea, so you can always find people wondering the streets in some areas of Hong Kong. Also the heavy used public transport creates the opportunity to stay out to the late at night or early hours as the trains run until 1am and also buses that run all night”

restaurant with a view

I see Hong Kong as a model of smart growth management and land use planning. It’s a city were policy dictates that development must concentrate on only 25% of the land area, with the remaining 75% preserved as open space. This policy ensures that the region’s lush green spaces remain intact. It also maintains scarcity and high land values in developable areas. This is crucial to the local government because its primary source of income is land leasing.

Looking at development in Hong Kong through Western eyes, I noticed another impact of the city’s tightly concentrated density: the compact clustering of residential and working populations supports a diverse, competitive, and often ingenious retail community. Continue reading

Rethinking Industry Dynamics: What’s your Velocity Regime?

I have often thought that the emphasis on speed and “now-ness” that the digital world encourages is not reflected in many industries actual experience of business -i.e. their customers are living in many non-synchronized time scales – such as that of their nostalgia -yearning for times when things were made “better” e.g. appliances that could be repaired vs tossed for new ones, and returning to their youth e.g. sales of 60’s rock stars, contrasted with the consumers societies drive for the latest gadgets and cars etc. How slowly we actually adopt new ideas- such as reduced consumption, change eating habits or adopt new washing powder. There is a disconnect here that this post from It Depends – Ian McCarthy’s Blog and diagram make explicit:

“Competitive advantages are temporary, especially in fast changing industries. A cover of Business Week magazine asks “Is Your Company Fast Enough?”, and there are scores of popular business books and magazines with titles such as “Fast Company”, “Business @ the Speed of Thought”, and “The Age of Speed”. Such publications suggest that in fast moving industry environments, speed, and in particular being fast, is an important factor in the creation and erosion of competitive advantage.

In an article entitled “A Multidimensional Conceptualization of Environmental Velocity”, that I authored with colleagues Thomas Lawrence, Brian Wixted, and Brian Gordon, we present a framework that dispels this notion that speed always leads to business success.”

Figure 1: Conflicted Velocity Regime for the Fashion Apparel Industry

When faced with such a velocity regime, it is misguided to focus on designing and managing a business that is uniformly fast. What’s important is determining your “velocity regime” – the multiple different rates and directions of change in your world – and then ensuring that different business activities are organized and coordinated to effectively respond to these different velocities.

For a detailed description of Figure 1, and the concept of the velocity regimes, please go to the full article. We provide illustrative industry examples and measures for determining your velocity regimes.

Adapted from: McCarthy, I.P., Lawrence, T.B., Wixted, B., and Gordon, B. 2010. A Multidimensional conceptualization of environmental velocity. Academy of Management Review, 35(4), 604-626.