Ho praises repurposing of buildings in Rua do Cunha

2019-08-15 08:00     Comment:1

Chief executive candidate Ho Iat Seng said on the sidelines of his morning visit to Rua do Cunha in Taipa yesterday that he appreciates how residents living in the neighbourhood have repurposed residential buildings for commercial use, adding that residents in the city’s other old neighbourhoods could use the area’s experience as a reference.

Ho and around 20 members of his campaign team toured Rua do Cunha, which has become a popular tourist attraction, to understand the business environment of the shops there. The walkabout covered souvenir shops, cultural arts and crafts shops and long-established restaurants.

‘Emptying the cage for new birds’

Ho noted that Taipa Village experienced rapid development, pointing out that many Rua do Cunha residents have moved out of their homes and rented them out for commercial use. He added that residents who are renting out their homes are earning “a good amount” of money so that they have been able to raise their living standard. He described the situation using modern Chinese economic jargon about the repurposing of buildings: “Emptying the cage for new birds”.

The “emptying the cage for new birds” term is an industrial development strategy proposed by the then secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Guangdong province Wang Yang in 2008. The strategy was about the switch from labour-intensive industries to higher-value industries as a way for industrial upgrading.

‘Good business atmosphere’
Speaking to reporters after the walkabout, Ho said he observed a “good business atmosphere” in Taipa village. He added that there are many buildings consisting of a fusion of oriental and occidental styles of architecture in the area. He said he would talk to the Rua do Cunha residents on how to better promote their neighbourhood.

Some shop owners and residents of the area said that when the buildings switched from residential use to commercial use, electricity consumption increased drastically which resulted in insufficient power supply. Ho promised that he will get in touch with the related government entity about the predicament, pointing out that as Taipa Village is not located in a low-lying area, the supply of additional electricity should not be too difficult.

When a reporter asked him about the neighbourhood’s arts and crafts industry, Ho pointed out that the development of the creative and cultural industries in the village is still in its infancy. As time progresses and when the arts and crafts sector in the area gets more mature, local artists’ products will attract tourists, Ho said. He was quick to add that as long as the products represent the city’s specialties, there will be a niche in the market for these newly developed industries.

Ho declined to answer questions related to Hong Kong’s three-months-long anti-government protests, saying he only hoped that Hong Kong could soon regain its peace.

Chief executive candidate Ho Iat Seng (centre) looks at old buildings while listening to a local resident briefing him on the neighbourhood during his election campaign visit to Rua do Cunha yesterday. Photo: Prisca Tang


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