展銷場 Display Distribute
Authored by Ming Lin
Edited by Erik Bernhardsson
Published by Modes Vu
展銷場 Display Distribute is a unique point of sales located at a busy intersection in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Wedged between a lighting shop and a dry goods store, the 100-square-foot space hosts a roving cast of vendors, selling everything from fake designer handbags to life insurance. Taking the space, its vendors, wares and customers as its starting point, this project traces the wider networks that have defined its activities in an effort to examine how modes of production and consumption are changing the landscape.
With the “World’s Factory” just a stone’s throw away, vendors in Hong Kong have found ways to capitalize on China’s shifting production schemes. At 展銷場 Display Distribute, many of the goods on offer are surplus gleaned from factories in Shenzhen. Vendors peruse a selection of these items online and have them mailed wholesale to Hong Kong, where they are then sold at a premium.
Sites like 展銷場 Display Distribute are an ideal retail venue for these wayward goods because they can be rented at short notice, for short periods at a time, and without the risks entailed in signing a lease. Often, vendors capitalize even further by splitting the rent cost with others and taking turns as sales representative. Branding and marketing is unnecessary, as all businesses operate under the shared 展銷場 Display Distribute banner which, already trusted and anticipated by customers, also duly satisfies the desire for new seasonal products with its changing selection of goods.
Landlords in turn have also found this arrangement favorable. When there is a vacant property, it is better to have daily renters than just an empty lot (a frequent sight in Hong Kong). With exorbitant property costs, some even go as far as to subdivide, creating multiple infinitely smaller venues which can be rented out in order to maximize cash flow.
At 展銷場 Display Distribute, despite its constantly shifting demographic, the landlord remains elusive, managing at least a dozen similarly priced and sized properties around the city. Vendors have only to call to arrange the rental, at which time they are requested to make cash deposit of HKD 1000 through online transfer. Bringing their own lock and key, they can set up and store their goods the night before in preparation for the next day’s sale. With this system in place, the meeting between renter and landlord, and between renters, is virtually unnecessary, though mutually benefiting all the parties involved.
展銷場 Display Distribute exists as an intuitive response to a high pressure real estate market and current trends in production and consumption. A free port with no import or sales tax makes Hong Kong an attractive destination for those seeking to make luxury purchases. The number of chain watch and jewelry shops attests to this growing market, which is simultaneously precipitating the decline of small, individually owned businesses.
By sharing space, however, 展銷場 Display Distribute allows smaller local businesses to thrive through coexistence. Rather than being an ad-hoc business scheme, it is a mode by which communities are able to self-organize and to ultimately resist the city’s homogenization by capital. Taking advantage of Hong Kong’s proximity to China, vendors are able compete with the chains that are eclipsing them by selling their byproducts. And in doing so they simultaneously provide a window into the unwieldy nature of the global market. Angry Bird Crocs one day, Dr. Dre headphones the next, 展銷場 Display Distribute exists as a microcosm of the wider forces at play, the ebb and flow of trends and the methods of reorganization that are formed in their wake.
Publication Date: July 16 2014
ISBN/EAN13: 918782907X / 978–9187829079
Page Count: 102 (48 photographs)
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 4.5” x 6”
Color: Full Color with Bleed
Related Categories: Photography / Photoessays & Documentaries