Chinachem Group Supports Child Development Matching Fund to Combat Intergenerational Poverty
The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected many people’s livelihoods and further entrenched inequalities of income, health and education across the city. Hong Kong is one of the wealthiest cities in the world, yet the city’s poor families have doubled in number over the past two years, with almost 302,000 people living in low-income households at the end of March 2021. To help address the issue of intergenerational poverty and other deprivations, as well as reduce inequality and spur economic growth, Chinachem Group (the Group) has donated a matching sum of HK$960,000 to the Child Development Matching Fund (CDMF) to benefit 200 young people in the Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing Districts for the year 2019/20, equivalent to HK$4,800 each. The Group takes seriously its role as a partner and supporter of local communities and strives to bring positive change to those in need and support the community through the challenges brought about by the pandemic. The Group has been a long-time supporter of the CDMF, which was founded in 2009 to address the issue of intergenerational poverty in Hong Kong and support and complement the HKSAR Government’s Child Development Fund (CDF). The CDMF provides valuable support for underprivileged youth in society. It runs three-year programmes during which the participants, aged 10 to 16, are required to make personal savings of HKD200 per month for two years, amounting to HKD4,800 in total. These personal savings are matched by community donations, including the Chinachem matching fund, plus a Government bonus of equal amount. This means that the young people will ultimately have a total of HKD14,400 (HKD4,800 x 3) to spend on areas that support their personal growth and development. To connect with some of the outstanding beneficiaries in the Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing Districts and mark the finale of the 2019/20 programme, four participants along with their families and their mentors were recently invited to a tea gathering ceremony at Nina Hotel, where they were joined by the Chairman and other officers of CDMF, as well as representatives of Chinachem Group and CDF operator The Praise Assembly (Tsuen Wan). During the ceremony the four youngsters shared how they used their matching fund to support their growth and development, ranging from computer programming, language learning to the purchase of facilitating equipment. James Cheung wishes to become a computer engineer in the future. He spent part of his matching fund in a computer programming and game design course. Stella Kao wants to work in the medical field after her graduation. Her wish is to join an international rescue service. She spent some matching funds to enrich her foreign language abilities so she can have better communication skills when working overseas. Wing Wong wishes to develop her future career in the art and multi-media industries. She applied for a course in film-editing and bought some related software to enhance her computer to practice the relevant skills. Another youth Yen Wong, on the other hand, used part of her matching fund in a music course to improve her flute performance skill. Four beneficiary youths from the Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing Districts presented on behalf of CDMF a written poem to Chinachem Group which celebrates the 60th anniversary as a token of appreciation. Pictured here are Sylvia Chung, Chief Business Impact Officer of Chinachem Group (7th from right), Amy Chan, Chairman of Child Development Matching Fund (6th from right), Mary Wong (8th from right), Director of Legal of Chinachem Group, Manson Wu, Director of Child Development Matching Fund (7th from left) and representatives of Chinachem Group, CDMF and representatives from The Praise Assembly (Tsuen Wan). Sylvia Chung, Chief Business Impact Officer of Chinachem Group, noted during the tea gathering that the prolonged pandemic had continued to deal heavy blows to local economic activities. “We have supported the CDMF since 2018. As a part of the community, the Group understands the importance of being inclusive and supportive of the needs of its neighbours, in this case young people in the Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing Districts,” she said. “Two key areas of our community programmes focus on relief of poverty and the advancement of education. Through this programme, we hope our targeted youths can develop good savings and financial habits, to make better planning for their future. We always aim to make a positive contribution to society through our adherence to the ‘Triple Bottom Line’, a commitment that all our activities will benefit People, bring Prosperity to the community and preserve the Planet.” Explaining the work of CDMF, its Chairman Amy Chan said “CDMF helps youths build ‘tangible assets’ through building a savings habit and learning wealth management. CDMF also opens opportunities for them to build ‘intangible assets’. All CDMF beneficiary youths, once they reach the aged of 16, will be placed with different industries for work experience arranged by the Child Development Initiative Alliance, a CDMF strategic partner, to widen their exposure and horizons, and enhance their soft skills for upward mobility, eventually enabling them to come out of poverty. We are extremely grateful to Chinachem Group for supporting this poverty alleviation policy. This will bring a positive impact to our needy youths and help them develop talents for the sustainable growth of our economy. This is made possible by the tri-partite co-operation between the Government, business and the community to nurture our next generation.” For more information on how the Chinachem Group is caring for local communities, please visit its website. CDMF beneficiary students, James and Stella present their journey and their experience gained during the programme and soft skills and tangible assets they gained.  Hong Kong’s First Quarter Economic Report 2021. https://www.legco.gov.hk/yr20-21/english/panels/fa/papers/fa20210607cb1-963-3-e.pdf
Phase One of Revitalised Central Market Opens Signify Blending Old and New
Jointly managed and operated by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and Chinachem Group (the Group), the revitalised Central Market celebrates its soft opening today, marking a new milestone for the Grade 3 historic building which is now open for public enjoyment, as phase one of the restoration and revitalisation work reaches completion. The new-look Central Market has captured and preserved many of its historical elements and integrated these into the open plan floor design. It adopted a “boundaryless spatial concept” to provide over 100 leasable units for retail and F&B, 1,000 square metres of green open space, and community spaces for a variety of art exhibitions, performances, and cultural activities, transforming the Central Market into a “Playground for All”. A very satisfactory take-up rate of over 80% has been achieved for phase one, drawing over 70 commercial tenants, with operations ranging from street foods to specialty restaurants, local brands and cultural craft boutiques, and lifestyle grocery stores. Most phase one shops begin operating today. Additionally, 13 of the original market stall activities of unique historical value have been preserved and will return in new ways to continue their legacies, making Central Market a window into living history. Several of these tenants are well-known Hong Kong traditional brands. Managing Director of the URA, Ir Wai Chi-sing (center), Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Chinachem Group (left), Donald Choi and Managing Director of Real Estate of Chinachem Group, Dennis Au (right) worshipped at the Ceremony. A Thriving Hub to Continue its Innovative Spirit at the Heart of the Community The soft opening ceremony took place at Central Market today, officiated by the Managing Director of the URA, Ir Wai Chi-sing, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Chinachem Group, Donald Choi and Managing Director of Real Estate of Chinachem Group, Dennis Au. Managing Director of the URA, Ir Wai Chi-sing delivered a speech in the soft opening ceremony of the Central Market. Ir Wai Chi-sing said, “When the Central Market was built 80 years ago, it was an epoch-making architecture, realising the spirit of innovation through the use of building materials, the ‘form follows function’ design, and the market bazaar operational mode. These elements effectively addressed the needs of urban development at the time and also solved the problems of environmental hygiene.” He continued, “The cornerstone to the successful adaptive reuse of the revitalised Central Market lies with three pioneering approaches we are using. First, we embraced a new preservation and revitalisation thinking in architecture by linking the past with the present. Second, we will provide our tenants with operational support in the application of technology and big data analysis, to help them develop their businesses more effectively. Finally, there will also be initiatives to promote the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Art (STEAM) to nurture the creative thinking of the next generation.” “I look forward to seeing the revitalised Central Market become a Hong Kong landmark that is full of vitality, and with a new purpose,” he said. Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Chinachem Group, Donald Choi delivered a speech in the soft opening ceremony of the Central Market. Donald Choi, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Chinachem Group, said at the ceremony, “Cities and buildings may change, but memories endure. Chinachem Group has always recognised the importance of preserving architectural treasures which enable us to celebrate our shared identity while enriching the fabric of community life. This is the spirit of our commitment to create ‘Places with Heart’. Over the past six decades, we have built a strong understanding of how buildings can bring a positive impact to the community and the environment. This has given us a renewed sense of purpose to create spaces that bring the community together to thrive; vibrant, bustling hubs of discovery, activity, and commerce.” Donald continued, “As one of our ‘Places with Heart’, built for the community, by the community, the revitalised Central Market aims to foster social cohesion and inclusion, sustain cultural legacy, and fuel innovation for future generations. We offer some interesting features to support local brands and start-ups; for example, a plug-to-operate concept that offers them basic fixtures and fitting-outs with the support of a comprehensive point-of-sales (POS) system, along with an attractive and flexible lease plan. By lowering the set-up costs significantly, we hope to encourage start-ups to find their footing and take their first steps on their business journey here.” A Beloved Historic Building Becomes a Cherished Modern Space As a “Playground for All”, the new-look Central Market is a vibrant community hotspot that fully embraces the “Approachable, Energetic and Gregarious” mode of operation. It follows two major principles in its operating model, which are in response to the public’s aspirations towards conservation and public enjoyment: that it will foster community building, cultural legacy, and innovation. At the same time, while preserving the collective memory of old Hong Kong, the rejuvenated landmark will breathe new life into the community through vibrant new experiences. With a total floor area of about 122,000 square feet, Central Market will not only retain the original architectural elements to illustrate the building’s long-standing history but will also showcase and lead the future with the creation of a “21st Century Marketplace” through a flexible and interactive design. There is about 56,500 square feet of leasable area with retail and F&B accounting for 70% and 30% of space, respectively, incorporating dining, shopping, work, leisure and entertainment, and cultural and educational elements under one roof. With diverse catering, retail and cultural activities, Central Market strives to be a unique leisure destination and a communal space where people from all walks of life can meet, mingle, and socialise in this approachable, vibrant, and gregarious landmark for the community. Located at the heart of Hong Kong’s most prominent commercial district, Central Market has been for decades a hub for various commercial activities. The revitalised Central Market will also support local businesses and propel high potential start-ups through a pilot-to-mass adoption process with an aim to nurture innovations that support its sustainable growth. To continue this historical tradition of Central Market as a place where people's livelihood and the economy can blossom, the second floor will showcase different small and medium enterprises and start-ups. Managing Director of the URA, Ir Wai Chi-sing (3rd from right), Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Chinachem Group, Donald Choi (2nd from left),and Managing Director of Real Estate of Chinachem Group, Dennis Au (2nd from right) take part in a traditional eye-dotting ceremony. Group photo of URA and Chinachem Group management team. A Symbol of Community, Connection and Creativity Interconnected between Queen Victoria Street and Jubilee Street, Central Market boasts an open concept design with bi-folding doors on both sides on the ground floor, defying the traditional commercial partition concept and fostering connection and engagement. The resulting large central piazza/atrium is equipped with projection and sound systems, providing an ideal venue for street performances and large-scale events. With about 100 seats for public enjoyment and wireless network coverage throughout, visitors can truly experience the liberty of being free to meet, eat, relax, and enjoy their way. The semi-open space connecting the iconic Grand Staircase on the ground floor has been redefined for community performances. Fitted with a motion sensor system and an LED projection wall, it creates an engaging, interactive experience for visitors. In addition, a 2,500-square-foot multi-functional event space is located on the first floor, perfect for open forums, exhibitions, and cultural performances. A STEAM workshop will be held on [23-29 August]. As Central Market’s inaugural community event, this workshop is a joint effort between Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and Cyberport. Online registration is open for parents to enrol with their children. A new zone, STEAM Hub, developed to inspire more young people, will be ready for operation upon completion of the phase two of the restoration work. Central Market will be open from 10am to 10pm daily. Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Chinachem Group, Donald Choi introduces features of the Central Market to the media.
Innovation meets the most ancient of relics in Tsuen Wan
In a corner of Tsuen Wan lies an exciting secret that’s soon to be revealed to the world, one that will connect today’s Hong Kong with the distant past, many millions of years ago. The Nina Park, to be opened to the public in 2023 will be a unique destination, the city’s first wood fossil ‘edutainment’ experience. And at the heart of the park’s remarkable collection of Pliocene fossils, will be technology and innovation, continually informing, educating, and looking after the parks many visitors. Dr LK Chan is the architect whose creativity will help tell the story of what is one of Asia’s largest collections of wood fossils. Viewing these remarkable artefacts as a ‘frozen moment in time’ Dr Chan, through her use of design and technology, has created a series of experiences for the park which will immerse visitors in its ancient wonders and untold stories. Standing at the centre of Nina Park will be an imposing seven metre high environmental totem. A marker to orientate all visitors, this beautiful tower will contain an interactive time capsule, a hydro kinetic clock, a projected audio-visual nighttime show, carbon countdown clock and an environmental dashboard, all to remind visitors of the fragility of the planet they live on. Alongside learning and having fun, relaxation is also an important pastime in Nina Park. Dr Chan brings innovation to bear in the designs of her surprising ‘smart bench’ which not only is a natural place to rest, but has built into it many features to improve the comfort and safety of visitors. Sit down and relax and immediately one is cooled by sustainably produced cool air and mist. Phone low on charge, the ‘smart bench’ has you covered with free induction charging pads. And there’s even mosquito repelling plants built into the surrounding structure to keep the bugs away. And all of it powered by the solar panels on top. Technology in action, bringing the past to life. “Chinachem, the force behind the creation of Nina Park, want to create a very important attraction for Hong Kong” said Dr Chan. “They really appreciate innovation. They look for it. And they dare me to try new things for them. Nina Park will be just that. Ancient and ultra-modern, together for the first in Hong Kong”.