Aji Ichiban. file photo.
Aji Ichiban, once the largest snack food franchise in Hong Kong, confirmed its closure and the entire operation has been ceased on Monday.
A spokesman on Tuesday confirmed that Aji Ichiban had shut down all branches, saying the city had seen a dip in the number of tourists amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the company suffered a big loss in business, which led to the closure of all its retail outlets.
However, he said it might resume operations in light of future circumstances.
The Labour Department said it was concerned about the incident and reminded affected employees to enquire the department if they had any questions.
Wholesale and retail sector lawmaker Peter Shiu Ka-fai said he did not know much about the closure of Aji Ichiban, but some retail businesses were indeed facing great difficulties, adding that retailers relying on tourists should take active transformation to survive.
Hong Kong Department Stores and Commercial Staff General Union Retail and Wholesale Trades Employees Association, together with Electrical and Audio Visual Trades Employees Association, said the closure of Aji Ichiban and Jumbo Floating Restaurant reflected that although the pandemic had seen gradually faded and some industries have been slightly boosted by consumption vouchers, stores and restaurants that rely on tourists are still in great difficulties.
The union was concerned that those two may not be the only affected, adding that the government should resume quarantine-free travel to avoid a wave of closure in the industry.
It would also closely monitor the arrangements for dismissed employees of Aji Ichiban, and would provide all possible assistance to the affected employees.
Aji Ichiban reported having 49 full-time and one part-time staff in Employment Support Scheme 2022, receiving a subsidy of HK$396,000. A spokesman said the four branches have some 20 employees so far, and the company will compensate them in accordance with labor laws.