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From my temporary Hong Kong Bureau on the 21st floor of the Harbour Plaza Metropolis in Kowloon, I’ve got a good view of Hong Kong harbour and the amazing skyline that encircles it.
Everyone I’ve met here has had the same subject on their mind – the fate of the core category tenders at Hong Kong International Airport. It’s been an extraordinarily tense waiting game for all those who have entered the race as well as the brands that await the outcome with equal interest (if not quite as much anxiety).
Rumours are speading like Aussie bushfires and there is much talk in the industry of a ‘super bid’ in the liquor & tobacco category. But no-one – and I mean no-one – has any real idea of what’s happening with each bid, let alone the outcomes. Airport Authority Hong Kong has not only kept the lid on this one but banged it down with nine-inch nails.
The result was first expected in January, then February, then March. Today Airport Authority Hong Kong told me it’s going to be a little while yet as the evaluation process is not complete, let alone any recommendations made.
The stakes are high. Very high. There’s Mainland and local Chinese interest, Korean interest and European interest. The incumbents (Nuance-Watson and Sky Connection) have done a very good job. But given the onslaught of competition, will that be enough? The waiting game continues. Alfred Hitchcock himself could not have produced anything more suspenseful.