“We recognised the need to embark on a renovation programme for our fresh markets years ago,”

says George Hongchoy, the Chief Executive Officer of Link. “The reason is that the fresh markets form a very important part of the community, and we want to make sure that they are vibrant and they are refreshed, compared to how they were set up several decades ago. And this involves a wholesale renovation of the markets, and redesign of their layout.”

Link CEO George Hongchoy

Lok Fu Market was one of our first markets to be renovated

Fresh markets are important because of the long-held shopping habits of Chinese people, according to Peionie Kong, Director of Asset Management at Link.

“People like to buy fresh food here every day,”

she says. “Even though supermarkets also offer some pre-packed meat, vegetables and fruit, shoppers still prefer fresh food stalls. Actually, the fresh market provides a complete solution to those who cook daily. There is a wide selection of fresh produce for them to choose from. Other items like seasonings and sauces are also available. One can get all the ingredients for lunch or dinner in one stop.”

Of course, the other key ingredient is the human touch. “The shopping centres where our markets are located are not IFC, they are not Harbour City,” says Kong. “Shoppers visit our markets not just to buy fresh fruit or cooking ingredients but to chat with the stallholders. They know each other well and sometimes they will share their cooking ideas. That’s the personal touch, and it can really draw the customer and keep them coming back.”

Kong’s colleague Emmanuel Farcis, who is Link’s Head of Asset Management, gets a foreign resident’s perspective.

“You get a real slice of Hong Kong life in the markets,”

he says. “From the people you see there, from the produce, from the cooking habits. You see all walks of life, you’ll see housewives and you’ll see teenagers after school walking around buying snacks. You might see grandparents with young kids because the parents are at work, you might see tourists getting an experience of the real Hong Kong. You will see things that you don’t see anywhere else.”