Miniso Hong Kong has shuttered all of its 50 stores since November 14 citing ongoing protest action – and reportedly won’t be paying staff for the week. A leaked internal memo was sent to staff advising them of a seven-day closure and giving them just one day’s notice. According to Apple Daily, the decision was made on the basis of ensuring “employee’s safety”.
However, staff members will not be paid for the enforced week off and any days of leave requested and falling due over the period will still be deducted from leave due. Miniso Hong Kong is one of the retailers listed by the protest movement which supporters have been asked to boycott. Store brands on the list have been targeted by protestors and graffitied for being China-owned.
Miniso Hong Kong had already attracted negative consumer sentiment since its launch in the territory, being dubbed a ‘China copycat’ of Japanese labels Muji and Uniqlo, all the while trying to position itself in the market as a Japanese design store.
During ongoing protests, activists have identified and categorised retailers as ‘blue’ or ‘yellow’ with the majority of the latter being supported as independent local businesses, versus pro-China large corporate chain stores.
Whilst protestors have been actively boycotting businesses, some chains such as grocer Best Mart 360, have been vandalised. In Best Mart’s case, protestors allege the CEO is associated with the federation behind the Fujian triad gangs which have attacked Hong Kong citizens protesting against the government.
Another company impacted is Maxim’s Group, a part-owned subsidiary of Dairy Farm International, picked on after Maxim’s founder’s daughter Pansy Ho repeatedly denounced protestors and labelled them rioters. Ho has no management role with Maxim’s Group. The company operates the Starbucks franchise in Hong Kong and a number of outlets have been vandalised, including one in Jordan yesterday.