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Jan retail sales up 0.9%

The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.   Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.   Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.   Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7

Voting system briefings held

Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang today chaired five virtual briefing sessions to introduce the background, principles and main contents of improving Hong Kong's electoral system to associations of Hong Kong residents in the Mainland as well as Hong Kong people doing business, working and studying there.   The virtual briefing sessions were arranged by Mainland offices of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government in Beijing, Guangdong, Shanghai, Chengdu and Wuhan.   Mr Tsang also exchanged views with the participants on the new electoral system and relevant arrangements.   He said the implementation of the improved electoral system will plug the loopholes in and eliminate the deficiencies of the existing system.   Mr Tsang added that constructing a political structure that reflects Hong Kong's actual situation, fully conforms to the constitutional order under the “one country, two systems” principle and manifests Hong Kong characteristics can thereby ensure “patriots administering Hong Kong” and enhance the governance efficacies of the Hong Kong SAR Government, thus achieving good governance, developing the economy, improving people's livelihood and resolving various deep-seated problems with a view to ensuring the continued success of the “one country, two systems” and maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.   The Hong Kong people living in the Mainland who took part in the virtual briefing sessions, fully supported the current work of improving the electoral system and said that they hoped for its expeditious completion to allow Hong Kong society to relaunch and scale new heights.   The virtual briefing session participants also expressed concerns over the composition of the new Representatives of associations of Hong Kong residents in the Mainland subsector of the Election Committee's fourth Sector under the new electoral system.   Mr Tsang explained that relevant details are being worked out in an expeditious manner for submission to the Legislative Council for scrutiny.   The subsector's composition by corporate electors will be decided based on three criteria, the representation and relevance of the association among the community and its adherence to the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”.   Mr Tsang had fruitful interactions and exchanges with the Hong Kong people in the Mainland during the virtual briefing sessions and answered their questions relating to the electoral system improvements.   Having joined these sessions, the participants said that they gained a deeper understanding on the relevant electoral arrangements, as well as the thoughts and goodwill of the country and Hong Kong SAR, and will give their full support to the work of improving the electoral system.   Mr Tsang appreciated that despite not being in Hong Kong, those living in the Mainland are very much connected to the city and hoped that they can make contributions to the country and Hong Kong.   The new Representatives of associations of Hong Kong residents in the Mainland subsector is therefore added to the Election Committee under the new electoral system.   Mr Tsang hoped that they would continue to support the work of improving the electoral system and contribute to the developments of the country and Hong Kong in the future.
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