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Soaring Rents In Hong Kong Push Out Mom And Pop Stores

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HONG KONG — Nam Kee Noodles is a typical Hong Kong eatery: functional, popular and busy. A dozen plastic-topped tables offer room for about 40 patrons, who line up outside at lunchtime to consume spicy noodle soup, dumplings and iced soy milk amid the clatter of plastic bowls and chopsticks.

In April, however, the little restaurant in the heart of Causeway Bay, one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping districts, nearly had to shut down after the landlord tripled what was an already expensive rent.

“We were paying around 200,000 dollars a month,” said Au Kei-Hong, the shop’s manager, referring to an amount in Hong Kong dollars equivalent to about $25,800. “But the landlord then increased it to 600,000. It was too expensive. We cannot afford that.”

After frantic negotiations, Mr. Au agreed to a less dramatic — though still steep — increase that has allowed him to stay put for another year.

Nice a 200% increase a month and the landlord did nothing. It's an easy path to wealth.

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  • 244 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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