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Running a big business, an unfathomably huge amount of capital is the basic requirement. Employing thousands of employees, setting up branches all over the city and providing a large-scale production to meet the enormous demand are impossible to the one who is short of funds. Last year, Cafe de Coral group, one of the biggest companies in Hong Kong, whose fast food chain was boycotted due to it exploitation of labour. It gave its frontline staff a nominal HK $2 per hour increase while withdrawing their free lunch break, effectively lowering rather than raising their overall salaries.

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Some even censure that what big business is doing is nothing but making money. In fact, that’s what’s happening in Hong Kong. Most big businesses in Hong Kong are now cornering the markets in different aspects. Ranging from food to housing, people are under the control of several big companies. For instance, certain supermarkets can be found at every corner of Hong Kong. Can you imagine what it would be like to live without these supermarkets? As the big businesses have monopolized the market, finding a supermarket which dose not belong to any of these big companies is as difficult as getting blood out of the rock.

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Tiny enterprises, such as grocery stores may find it hard to survive these days. The evil conduct of some of the great companies also does harm to the public. Take a look at the sky-rocketing property prices and you will surely understand what I mean. Candidly speaking, the dominating real estate agencies should take a part of the blame. Nowadays, buying housing is almost a mission impossible to the masses. The average monthly income a university graduate is less than HK $10000. So how many years he or she would need to work in order to buy a housing of several million Hong Kong dollars?

That’s why the passive multitude can just throw in the towel and succumb to this inconvenient truth. Without question, most big businesses earn money in defiance of the living of normal people in Hong Kong. More than that, the brutal treatment of workers also reveals overweening ambitions of the big businesses. Apart from the ‘Cafe de Coral boycott’ mentioned above, what those companies have done to the employees is more than cutting down the labour income. In 2008, the financial tsunami swamped the Hong Kong economy. At that time, it was not easy to find a job. Yet at the same time, it was facile to lose a job.

Despite the difficulty in seeking a new job, some big companies in Hong Kong started the dismissing trend. The others then jumped on the band-wagon by firing out tons of labour. This resulted in a surge in the unemployment rate. The red flag was hoisted and people were suffered a lot. Whenever there is an economic crisis, the employees but not the employers would be the scapegoats in the first place. However, once the company has made a profit, it is not likely for it to share the fruits with its labourers. There are always protests against the exploitation of Hong Kong workers.

Many people work all day for mere pittance. The increase in income will never catch up with the inflation rate. The disappointment of the public is a piece of convincing evidence to prove that the big businesses aim at making profits only. On the other hand, some big companies are acclaimed of their devotion to charities. Some may even organize corresponding events to raise funds for the needy. Do you really think that the motive of the big businesses is just giving a helping hand to the receivers? The answer is manifest. In doctrine, a company will not do anything that is not beneficial to itself.

Actually, what the big companies try to do is to build up a good image. With a good impression on this company, we would be more confident of its products. And hence, it leads to a rise in the consumption of its goods and services. Besides, most of such events are sponsored by many other companies. The sponsorship will eventually become a source of income. You may argue that the company has claimed that it would give the entire donation to the respective organization. Yes, it would donate the funds after the deduction of the cost. Who cares about the cost of the event? Or who can know the exact cost concerning the event?

We are not sure if the company has feathered the nest, but it is very common in Hong Kong. We should admit that the big businesses in Hong Kong are only about making money. Only a minority of them dedicate themselves to society by heart. Even though there is a long way to ameliorate the situation, it is not the problem that we can tolerate benevolently in silence. There are lots of means to express our concerns, including joining the demonstration to voice our dissatisfaction. I firmly believe that, the more we do, the better the future. So stand up now and take action!

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Kylie Garcia

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