Dragon baby boom a boon to Nannies in Hong Kong
IT’S not just a baby boom; it’s a dragon baby boom.
The reason is simple: Chinese believe children born during the Year of the Dragon – the symbol of ancient emperors – will possess courage, wisdom and good fortune, and Hong Kong is no exception. In the previous dragon year of 2000, a total of 54,134 births were logged in Hong Kong, official data showed. The city’s Hospital Authority said in an earlier estimate that Hong Kong is set to welcome upwards of 80,000 newborns this year, marking a 5-10 percent rise from last year.
Nanny services are one sector to benefit. At a job fair in January, the maternity nannies were among the best paid jobs, with salaries in a range of HK$8,000-HK$14,000. A spokesperson for EasyHome Services, an in-home care services provider, said the demand for maternity nannies has been robust since last year, but this year it’s surely going to be stronger, and that the company’s quota has already been fulfilled in the first quarter of 2012, with few available nannies in the next three months.
Grace Ng Sing-ying, principal consultant of the BBcare Health Service Center, told Xinhua news agency that thrilled moms-in-waiting have begun looking for and making appointments with maternity nannies soon after they are confirmed pregnant, instead of entering at least the second trimester as usual. For nannies working a full, 48-hour six-day week, the base monthly pay has been hiked to HK$12,000 from HK$8,500 due to the tight market. Couples also show a willingness to spend lavishly on their dragon babies. Analysts say that businesses making and selling powder formulas, baby food, nursing bottles, toys, baby clothes, skin care products, and other accessories stand to reap big profits.
According to a report by the Chinese Mother Consumer Survey in 2011, over 70 percent of the respondents say they are generous with money to give their offspring a better life. Young mothers, especially those in their 20s, are unhesitating spenders although the prices of baby-related products have significantly increased.
Li Zhenhui, CEO of Prince Frog International Holdings Ltd, a manufacturer and distributor of children’s care products and household hygiene products, said he’s confident of a double-digit rise in sales this year. The company will use this opportunity to expand investment and promote the production and sales of products for the 0-3 year-old age group, he said.