Guangzhou, Zhaoqing offer bountiful harvest for Hong Kong superstar chef, businessmen as food stuff marketplace can take off in Bay space

a man standing in front of a building: Hong Kong celebrity chef Vincent Ko Wing-sun poses in front of his restaurant in his hometown Guangzhou in Guangdong province. Photo: Handout

Hong Kong superstar chef Vincent Ko Wing-sunlight poses in entrance of his restaurant in his hometown Guangzhou in Guangdong province. Photograph: Handout

When celebrity chef Vincent Ko Wing-sunshine decided to branch out and open an outlet in his hometown in Guangzhou 19 yrs ago, he experienced no inkling it would come to be extra profitable than its Hong Kong restaurant.

The 73-yr previous businessman, identified as Master Ko to hundreds who adhere to his television cooking present, made a decision in 2002 to set up a manufacturing facility to make Chinese cooking sauces, as perfectly a 200-seat cafe identified as Gao Zhuang Si Fang Cai, which implies Ko’s personal kitchen in Chinese.

Created on a 60,000-sq ft plot of family members-owned land, the company prospered to the extent that the chef made a decision to shut his Tai Hei Hing Restaurant in Causeway Bay in 2013 to relocate and focus on growing his hometown desire.

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“I desired to retire in my hometown and only operate a little restaurant,” he said in an interview. “Even so, it turned out that the restaurant became considerably more worthwhile than the 1 in Hong Kong.”

The 73-year outdated businessman is between Hong Kong’s pioneer entrepreneurs to undertaking into Guangdong at the change of the new millennium, prolonged ahead of the southern mainland province turned currently the linchpin to the Larger Bay Place progress program.

The area is a cluster of nine provincial towns additionally Hong Kong and Macau, which sorts one particular of the world’s wealthiest and quickest-rising financial regions. The area’s mixed US$1.7 trillion economic output ranks as the 11th most significant in the globe, and accounts for one particular-fifth of China’s significant web worthy of homes among its 70 million population.

“The persons in Guangzhou are eager to pay back for wonderful cuisine,” Ko reported of his early achievements, adding that a wedding ceremony or birthday banquet could be priced at up to 6,000 yuan (US$933.40) for 12 individuals on par with the rates in Hong Kong. “The opening of a superior-pace prepare in 2019 has authorized many of my aged Hong Kong buyers to appear to my cafe” until finally the pandemic struck in early 2020, he extra.

Hong Kong has turn into far too high-priced for lots of firms to sustain them selves as personnel fees and rents surged, Ko lamented. Guangzhou and other GBA metropolitan areas at this phase are exhibiting the identical wonderful qualities and potentials as the previous times in Hong Kong.

Ko’s father begun Tai Hei Hing Restaurant in 1962, by cooking Guangzhou dishes at the households of rich families in the previous British colony. Ko turned it into a dine-in in 1979 and expanded it in early 1980s into an 8,000 sq ft restaurant in Wan Chai, Causeway Bay.

Amongst 1979 and 2006, rents skyrocketed from HK$2,000 a month to HK$300,000, he said, forcing him to change to more cost-effective places.

“As the Guangzhou restaurant is my have property, I do not need to have to spend any rent,” Ko explained. “The workers expense and food stuff components are only about 1 third of all those in Hong Kong, even though I can cost my foodstuff near to the ranges in Hong Kong” simply because of robust community paying out energy, he additional.

Ko’s personal kitchen area has turn into a shining illustration of entrepreneurship for more buyers to build and extend their foods production ventures in the Bay space. One of them is the Yong Sheng Group, which has interests in agriculture, pig-farming and logistics, amongst some others.

The Zhaoqing-dependent group is investing 1.61 billion yuan to establish a meat processing plant in Zhaoqing, on the western component of the Guangdong province, in accordance to main executive Chang Wing-fai. The venture will become just one of the greatest of its type in southern China.

“The GBA delivers a terrific probable for Hong Kong people to develop their small business,” he additional.

Djoko Suyanto standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Chan Wing-fai, chief executive of Yong Sheng Group, who has big investment in Zhaoqing. He speaks with the SCMP in an interview in November 2020. SCMP: Iris Ouyang

© Presented by South China Early morning Write-up
Chan Wing-fai, chief executive of Yong Sheng Group, who has significant expense in Zhaoqing. He speaks with the SCMP in an interview in November 2020. SCMP: Iris Ouyang

The expenditure addresses 8.4 million sq ft of services to accommodate pig breeding, cultivation, butchering, distributing and processing to meat demand from customers from vendors and dining places in the bay location. The plant is anticipated to start out generation in May 2021.

For Chan, the three-hour-moreover travelling time concerning Hong Kong and Zhaoqing is a little value to pay considering the benefits of cheaper land and labour fees in the extended run. In any circumstance, Zhaoqing is a “good and gorgeous” location to visit or stay in, he included.

It has turn out to be a development among Hongkongers to reside, do the job and journey in GBA cities in recent decades. Individuals can easily travel across the border concerning Hong Kong and the mainland cities in the GBA in just a single to a few several hours.

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This write-up originally appeared on the South China Morning Submit (, the primary news media reporting on China and Asia.

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