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Retail Inside the Box

Pop-up shopping and hospitality malls, constructed entirely from shipping containers – and, hence, both eco-friendly and low in construction costs – represent the latest craze sweeping Taiwan and transforming unused land into thriving commercial centres. Preeminent among these so-called container malls is Commune A7, a collection of 20 restaurants and bars that opened in Taipei's Xinyi district last December. An immediate hit with tourists and locals alike, it has been attracting about 200,000 to 280,000 visitors a month.

Commune A7's success has inevitably led to the opening of similar projects across central and southern Taiwan, with Kaohsiung's Kubic mall and the Golden Ville in Taichung swiftly numbering among the island's most heavily-featured sites on the popular social media photo-sharing app Instagram. More recently, Tainan, a southwest coastal city famed for its cuisine, gave the go-ahead for the launch of a 793 square-metre container mall in its Zhengxing Street district, one of its major tourism thoroughfares.

Looking to extend the concept, the government of the southern Taiwanese county of Pingtung has set up the You Terminal – constructed from 53 shipping containers and three used buses – as a centre for young entrepreneurs. The project's remit is to provide rent-free premises for up to a year for start-ups conceived and operated by young business people from the immediate area.

Following its launch late last year, businesses in the You Terminal are said to have achieved a collective monthly turnover in excess of NT$1 million (US$330,000), almost double the initial target. It is now hoped that the success of the venture will long continue to boost the prospects of young entrepreneurs across the region.

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Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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