For a city where the free market supposedly reigns supreme, the state of Hong Kong’s supermarkets is a sobering reminder that there is no such thing as fair competition.
It’s a truism that every 20 minutes of being in Hong Kong you are putting money in the pocket of one of the three or four large companies which own everything, from the mobile phones to the pharmacies to the cable TV to the supermarkets. Rumour has it that a major British supermarket chain tried to open in HK (as it has done successfully in other countries in the region, not least China) but was forced to close following price-fixing collusion by the two other main supermarkets which it couldn’t compete with.
Apart from the fact that they are either cheap and nasty, or horribly expensive, with nothing inbetween, the thing that annoys me most about Hong Kong’s supermarkets is that they are all named insultingly inaccurately:
· you can’t park at Park’N’Shop;
· GREAT isn’t (Great);
· Gourmet isn’t for gourmets (indeed for some reason they sell toothbrushes as well as food);
· City Super isn’t (Super); and
· you don’t get much of a welcome at Wellcome.