STORES | Staff Reporter, Japan

Weekly News Wrap: Tokyo's Ginza stores dark despite holiday; Hong Kong's cosmetics and luxury stores face tourism bust

And Alibaba CEO endorses China's draft anti-monopoly rules on online platforms.

From Bloomberg:

The streets of Ginza—one of Tokyo's most well known shopping districts—would have usually been lit up by November, with the luxury shops dotting its main drag covered in lights and decorations.

But this year many stores and buildings are dark. Japan still has strict controls on allowing tourists into the country, meaning just a fraction of the usual shopping traffic has returned to Ginza.

To combat that, the Ginza Street Association is planning a hand-washing event at the main Ginza crossing in December, according to Eriko Takezawa, the head of the Ginza Street Association. Passersby who clean their hands will be given a handkerchief and coupon to spend at a nearby store.

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From Reuters:

Mainland Chinese visitors typically spend more per day than the average resident on baby formula, cosmetics and luxury goods, driven by a perception that Hong Kong has better quality standards than at home. That source of spending was cut off in early February, when Hong Kong sealed its borders to mainland China, with exemptions only for a small number of business travellers.

Visitor arrivals have been down 96% to 99% year-on-year every month since February, according to government figures. A travel bubble with Singapore – allowing a limited number of people to move between the cities after being tested for the virus – is due to begin this week, but is not likely to halt that decline, industry executives said.

The arrangement lets travellers forgo quarantine, but is initially limited to one daily flight of only 200 passengers each way.

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From Reuters:

China’s move to draft rules aimed at preventing monopolistic behaviour by internet platforms is “timely and necessary”, Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang said.

Speaking at the World Internet Conference, Zhang said Chinese internet companies have moved to the forefront of the global industry with the help of government policies, but regulations need to evolve.

The industry’s “development and government supervision is a relationship that promotes and relies on each other, so that platform enterprises cannot only develop well themselves, but also serve the sustainable and healthy development of the whole society,” he said.

The annual event from 23-24 November organised by the Cyberspace Administration of China takes place as the country’s internet giants including Alibaba, Tencent Holdings and Meituan face increasing government scrutiny.

Earlier this month the planned $37 billion share market listing of Alibaba affiliate Ant Group was suspended after regulators warned its lucrative online lending business faced tighter scrutiny.

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