05 June 2011

Hong Kong: Easy Spending at Harbour City

It's often still surprising how a little effort with some long-term foresight can go a long way, even in the short term.

Harbour City shopping center, in the busy Tsim Sha Tsui district in Kowloon, Hong Kong, has mastered how to capture, service and move shoppers through their 2 million square feet, indoor shopping center with finesse and sophistication.

Firstly: Dedicate opening hours of Monday - Sunday, 10:00a - 9:00p.
Secondly: Establish facilities that keep a recorded 200,000 shoppers per weekend moving from shop to shop.
Thirdly: Offer a range of tenants in their 450 shops that targets every kind of savvy shopper.
Lastly: Air conditioning. And lots of it.

Not only are the hours of operation convenient for early or late leisurely shoppers, it also caters to the development's 60,000 office tenants and 500 adjoining service apartments.

Facilities and services include 2 cinemas, the 50 restaurants, 3 hotels, various parking lots and a 'Shoppers Care Centre' that has thought of everything to make your stay, and shopping experience, all the more comfortable from mobile battery charging services and baby stroller loans to facial masks and vehicle battery boosting.

What is also not overlooked are the public restrooms. Typically attendants service high-end restaurants' restrooms by holding out a hand towel and a tip bowl. Here, an attendant assists an electrically-prompted light board that announces which stall is vacant for the next user. Not only helpful to the user, it drives us in and back on the shopping floor in no time.

And if mixing the human element with technological advances needs to be further expounded on, Harbour City has developed the 'i-Concierge', installed at various busy intersections of the shopping center. Not only is there a map, but a button to call a live concierge who by video can see us, and we him or her. "Where is the nearest Birkenstock shop?", we ask. As the screen changes to our current location, "Wendy", with her e-pen, draws where we are and where we should walk to get to our destination. If only she can print it out for us. Maybe that will be Wendy 2.0.

This "one-stop shopping experience", as Harbour City promotes itself, offers a specific range of decent brands to the varying consumers that come through. In addition to main stream brands, a section has been devoted to sports-oriented brands and gear where New Balance lines up near to Puma and a multi-brand sneaker/sportswear shop. If running or racket ball in Hong Kong is not your gig, then Chanel, Joyce and Dior line the Canton Road side of the complex. And the message is as clear outside these shops as they are inside the mall: efficiency through order, politely.

A center as this would not be possible without the sophistication and vision of its developer, Wharf Holdings, so it's of no coincidence that luxury department store, Lane Crawford, and Joyce Boutique in Hong Kong, are also owned by the same company.

Harbour City I 3 - 27 Canton Road I Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong I www.harbourcity.com.hk

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