One of Hong Kong’s few remaining traditional printing shops
The good old days
Kam Hing is an old-school print shop. They still use an original letterpress machine, which is unique; few of these machines are left. When you enter the shop, you see the vast collection of lead type face lettering neatly stored in wooden boxes. English letters in alphabetical order, the Chinese characters in cube shelving with the type stacked into a square or column, facing outward, for easy identification.
Central and Sheung Wan once were the epicentre of the city's printing industry. Back in the day, many family-run printing companies and small suppliers were selling paper, ink and envelopes in these neighbourhoods. Over the years, many of them closed up shop or moved east, to Chai Wan, or west, to Sai Ying Pun. Kam Hing's owner, Mr Leung, still remembers the local printing industry's heydays, when he spent more time at work than at home. "I used to work more than 8 hours a day; the company also provided food for all workers. The busiest time was 1989 when the stock markets were doing well; I worked till 9pm every day," he says.
Kam Hing still prints name cards and leaflets for their loyal customers, but keeping the business running is not easy. The traditional printing industry went south when offset printing started to replace letterpress printing. "Back then, we took on book printing orders, but now publishing companies manage this on their own. Retiring is the only option; the younger generation doesn't want to join the industry," says Mr Leung.