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HK retailers prepare for consumption vouchers distributed on 7 April

HK retailers prepare for consumption vouchers distributed on 7 April

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The Hong Kong government will disburse the consumption vouchers to more than 6.3 million eligible citizens on 7 April. To cater to the enhanced demand for goods and services, shopping malls and eCommerce platforms in the city have rolled out promotional campaigns, hoping to revive businesses despite the city still being plagued by the pandemic. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said consumption vouchers under the first phase of the 2022 Consumption Voucher Scheme will be disbursed to about 6.3 million citizens on Thursday. Citizens who successfully registered under the consumption voucher scheme last year will receive the new round of vouchers without any registration. Citizens who are using accounts of AlipayHK, Tap & Go or WeChat Pay HK for receiving vouchers last year will be disbursed with a HK$5,000 voucher. The vouchers can be used until 31 October.

Similar to the arrangement of the programme last year, when citizens use an Octopus Card for local consumption, those consumption falling within the usage scope of the consumption vouchers will automatically be counted towards the total "eligible spending". If people's cumulative total "eligible spending" has reached HK$4,000 between May to October, the last HK$1,000 voucher will be disbursed on the 16th day of the following month.

The operators of the consumption voucher scheme previously enhanced their service offerings to prepare for the upcoming phase of the programme. For example, HKT Group's SME servicing platform HKT Merchant Services put in measures to support SMBs ahead of the upcoming round of the consumption vouchers, enabling them to use HKT Merchant Services’ SmartPOS all-in-one payment acceptance device and one-stop FPS Payment Solution without any transaction fee.

The company said that to help SMEs capture opportunities through the consumption voucher scheme and reduce operating costs, HKT Merchant Services is charging SMEs, social enterprises and NGOs no transaction fees for Tap & Go and the Faster Payment System (FPS) via HKT Merchant Services’ SmartPOS all-in-one payment acceptance device and one-stop FPS Payment Solution, enhancing their operational efficiency and competitiveness.

HKT Merchant Services said the SmartPOS one-stop payment acceptance device supports all mainstream payment methods, including all stored value facilities participating in the Consumption Voucher Scheme. Thus, merchants are able to accept all consumption voucher payment options with a single device, which helps enhance cost efficiency. The upcoming consumption vouchers are expected to help retailers and brands in the city as Hong Kong's retail sales dropped significantly since the onset of the fifth wave of the pandemic. According to the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong government, the value of total retail sales in February 2022, provisionally estimated at HK$25.2 billion, decreased by 14.6% compared with the same month in 2021.

For the first two months of 2022 taken together, it was provisionally estimated that the value of total retail sales decreased by 4.9% compared with the same period in 2021.

Prior to the launch of distribution of the consumption vouchers, some businesses have rolled out campaigns to lure the public to spend. For example, Klook will work with all consumption voucher operators, offering customers a discount of up to 6%. The platform has also strengthened its content marketing efforts, publishing a detailed online piece to educate the public about the scheme and the offerings on Klook.

As brick-and-mortar stores are crucial to Hong Kong's retailers, shopping malls in the city will also offer gifts and vouchers to go with the government's consumption voucher scheme. Sun Hung Kai Properties' HomeSquare will offer gifts and vouchers worth more than HK$2 million to customers. Customers need to spend at least HK$500 at the stores in the mall to join a lucky draw.

Sino Malls will launch a series of promotions too. A total of six shopping malls, including tmtplaza, Olympian City, Citywalk, China Hong Kong City, Gold Coast Piazza and Tsim Sha Tsui Centre and Empire Centre will be launching the campaign “S+ REWARDS – Shop for Mega Rewards”. From 7 to  20 April 2022, members of its loyalty programme S+ REWARDS could win two tickets for a music event and redeem shopping vouchers after spending a designated amount.

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