International English newspapers sold here

If you’re staying in Wan Chai and haven’t got a digital subscription to the newspapers or just prefer to read the broadsheet like my dad, you might think that you need to head to Central for that. The neighbourhood seven elevens (7-11) carry the South China Morning Post. 

Most newsagents on the street don’t carry the broadsheets, usually it’s a mixture of local chinese tabloids, magazines and some soft porn. 

The newsagent to head to for the English language broadsheets is a rather non-descript newsstand tucked away on the 2nd floor of Hopewell Center next to the HSBC. They sell most of the broadsheets, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, New York Times etc. It’s called Ngai Shing


This newsstand also sells the tabloids and has shelves full of disorganised magazines. It is also discreet enough for you to purchase any material that you’d rather not be seen with in broad daylight, plus you won’t get it wet in the rain as you head up one floor to Starbucks for your coffee. 

Update: these newsstands may soon be a thing of the past… check out this article below.

Newspaper hawker licences dry up as Hong Kong changes its habits, government says

Bicycle & Scooter shop – The Bicycle World 

Giant Bicycle shop (aka the Bicycle World, but Giant clearly has marketing monopoly here) has the rudest staff but the best collection of bikes and scooters in Wan Chai. Be prepared that if you walk into that shop speaking only English, you’re generally going to get ignored. If you’re going in to get advice on what to buy, be prepared to be given the advice in a somewhat insulting manner. 


I’ve been to this shop at least ten times to  assist friends acquire various items and accessories but the service has never improved. Some of the guys in there are a tad more genial but it isn’t at all often that you get a smile. There was once I went in to buy a kid’s helmet for a friend and a gweilo (Caucasian) guy was leaving in a huff, swearing and cursing saying “don’t treat me like that just because I’m a foreigner”. I almost stopped him to tell him that they treat everyone like that. Those guys are in need of endorphins, or maybe happier girlfriends. Or maybe a pay raise.

Notwithstanding the stinking attitude, the shop does carry high quality bikes, scooters and accessories at competitive prices. The helmets and scooters are at least 20% cheaper than toys ‘R’ us and you get 10% off if you pay in cash. 

We were there to pick up a micro scooter for a friend’s daughter. Her Christmas present. It was a Sunday and we stood outside at 11.30am. It wasn’t open.


Okay, so another half an hour. Off to the swings round the corner. We came back at 11.50am. Nope. Still shut. 

At 11.55am, one of the guys showed up, unlocked the shutters and lifted them just high enough for him to slip in and lower them down again. At 12.08, another guy showed up and that’s when they lifted the shutters entirely. The first guy brought out two incense sticks as a prayer offering to the small shrine on the outside of the shop, usually to appease dwelling spirits and pray for lots of customers.


The shop has a range of children’s bicycles and adult bicycles. 


But we were there for the scooters.


Here they sell the “Micro” brand of  scooters. Designed in Switzerland but owned by a Hong Kong company apparently. Genius marketing as most people I speak to genuinely think it’s a European brand and product. Maybe it was once. Price ranges from HKD 700+ to 900+ per scooter for kids. Adult scooters go for HKD 2000+.


Don’t forget to buy a helmet for your kid. They have various sizes, measure your kid’s head before heading over. Helmets go for HKD 400+ depending on the size and design. The ones with the cartoon characters are a bit cheaper but they only fit one year olds. 


Find them at 15 Wood Road, Wan Chai. About a 15 minute walk from Wan Chai MTR, already accounting for the time you need to weave in and out of human traffic on narrow pavements, unless you go on Sunday.

City Tree PSI pollution monitor still not working 

Hmm. It’s been a blank screen for two weeks now. Anyone gonna fix it?


Heloooo… 

I went to their website Green City Solutions and saw their marvellously simple concept and site. There was a box labelled Aircare that invited me to click to see how clean the air is around a City Tree.


The default map is Paris….So I type in Wan Chai to see if the readings are being captured centrally despite our screen here not displaying any information whatsoever. This is what I got:


Hmm. I don’t think you need to know any German to understand that the City Tree in that “location has been disabled”.

The question is why??

The chain stores invade Wan Chai

I did my old route of Johnston road and Queens Road East today and noticed that some hoardings were coming down while others had gone up.

First, the Tang Tang Tang Tang shop owned by David Tang. 


Purveying posh home accessories, silk pyjamas, leather printed bags and funky umbrellas, it was the only shop of its kind. It was a shop you could go to for expensive gifts luxuriously wrapped and the receiver would immediately know how much you decided to spend on them. The shop seems to have vacated overnight and large “For Lease” signs have been erected around the pillars. 

Next, the hoardings have come off the Under Armour shop, situated prominently by the Swatow Street Tram Stop. 


Johnston Suites gave up their double height lobby reception area for Under Armour to move in. The shop now has a huge double storied space.

The most disappointing space is the two storied shop house that Hopewell retained as a front, the remnant facing Hopewell Center. A great locale with lots of footfall has been leased to Kee wah bakery. How uninspiring. 


I had high hopes for a nice bar or cafe, perhaps some shop with style with at least unique or interesting items to draw the crowd in. Kee Wah already exists in many locations and it’s quite a boring tenant to have. 

Oh well. Due to increasing rent and the changing residents and neighbourhood, small shops don’t stand much of a chance against the big chain stores with negotiating muscle.

The Economist – Taco Stall

What does a premier financial magazine, the Economist have to do with Taco? 

Not much except that it’s what they think will draw the crowds at lunchtime. The red signs really do stand out. This promotion was taking place between Wu Chung House and Hopewell Center


The last time I saw their cart was by the open area next to Burger King, now pseudo Italian leather sofa store Kelvin Giormani near PP3. They were offering ice cream in the height of summer.


Helmed mostly by young ladies touting iPads to get anyone in a suit to take up a subscription. This must be part of their digital media strategy.

Digital subscriptions aren’t exorbitant initially but once they have you on auto-renew you’re probably forever in their clutches. It looks to me that getting an annual digital subscription costs hkd 2250.


At the promo sign up teaser rate for the first 3 months at $300, it’s like buying Tacos for two.