Old Newspaper Street now known as Ladies’ Market
Cheap and cheerful
Li Yuen Street East & West is the place to go for Chinese traditional souvenirs. These two little lanes are jam-packed with small stalls that sell cheongsam (長衫), chopsticks and other China memorabilia, all good value for money. The lanes date back to 1940s, when shopping malls were not even a concept and department stores were unaffordable for many. It started with mobile carts, in the 1970s came fixed stalls.
Kim Li Yuen was a wealthy Chinese merchant from Taishan in Guangdong Province. In the late 19th century, he bought a piece of newly reclaimed land in Central. He then developed Li Yuen Street East in 1894. Afterwards, he ran into some financial difficulties and had to call on help from the other Li. With his support, he completed Li Yuen Street West in 1906.
In the old days Li Yuen Street East was nicknamed ‘Newspaper Street’. Many newspaper companies set up offices and mailboxes here. When market stalls closed in the evening, the alleys along Queen’s Road Central got crowded again and freshly printed newspapers were distributed. Starting from 1980s, Central gradually became a financial and commercial hub. Newspaper companies moved away one after another.