Space-starved Hong Kong has long been plagued by high rents and expensive hotels, vexing university students and tourists alike.
But help may be at hand, thanks to one Hong Kong firm: tiny pods stacked up in tiers to create capsule lodgings at low cost.
Inspired by Japan’s inexpensive capsule hotels, capsule bed manufacturer Galaxy Stars HK is offering WiFi-enabled capsules that can be stacked together in cupboard-like formations to ease the high-priced room problem.
“It’s like Legos,” said Eric Wong, managing director at Galaxy Stars HK, explaining how the units can be pieced together in a matter of days. “I want to bring this product to Hong Kong tourists to relieve Hong Kong’s hotel shortage.”
Each pod, which measures 1.9 metres (6.3 feet) long, 1 metre wide and 1.15 metres high, is slightly larger than a twin bed. They come complete with bed, air conditioning, light switches, computer tables and power outlets.
Wong said he expects his main customers to be tourists. The average hotel room rate was HKD$1165 (USD$150) a night in 2010, according to the city’s Tourism Commission.
But he added that about a dozen local students had expressed interest in a capsule college dormitory near campus, offering pods for HKD$3,500 a month.
“Students are affected by a severe lack of space in university housing, so we thought, why not do dorm rooms as well?” Wong said.
The average living space for Hong Kong residents in 2011 was 12.8 square metres (137 square feet) at an average monthly rate of HKD$46 per square metre for centrally-located Hong Kong Island, according to Hong Kong housing authority numbers.
Prices for apartments in the former British colony are the most expensive in the world and they rose more than 12 percent in 2011.