Mainland Buyers Have Left Hong Kong Dangerously Short of Baby Formula

Natalie Wang , January 24, 2015 11:51am (updated)

According to the Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau, Hong Kong is running out of stock on popular brands of baby formula.

After surveying five Hong Kong districts from June to November, the results showed various brands of baby formula running dangerously low. Brands manufactured by Friso were hit hardest, with total stock depleted by as much as 68% below normal levels.

As Christmas approaches, the threat of shortage remains high, a spokesperson for the Bureau warned. The shortage has largely been blamed on traders from mainland China, who buy baby formula in Hong Kong and resell it on the mainland to avoid taxes and duties. Hong Kong retailers were warned to stock up on baby formula to ensure there remains a sufficient supply to accommodate local infants.

Last year, Hong Kong passed a law restricting the amount of baby formula permitted to cross the Hong Kong/China border to two cans per person. Despite the restriction, there have been no shortage of Chinese citizens caught attempting to smuggle much more.

Photos: Badcanto; Reuters 

Natalie Wang

Journalist based in Hong Kong.