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Business trends

Hong Kong warms to online commerce amid pandemic and protests

Convenience of traditional malls now viewed warily as customers avoid crowds

HONG KONG -- Kristy Wong, a 25-year-old marketing officer in Hong Kong, had never shopped online until the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike other young urbanites around the world looking for bargains on popular shopping sites, Wong was accustomed to buying items ranging from designer bags to birthday cakes just by walking into one of the city's more than 62,000 retail stores.

Since early this year, however, the fear of coronavirus transmission interrupted the fun of wandering around malls. Now a renewed flare-up in protests over the weekend is expected to give further stimulus to e-commerce in a city that is considered a shopping paradise but is a surprising laggard in online retail.

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