I run essential business in Hong Kong. I lease 900 sq. ft. for $15K USD/month. My lease expires in Sep 2022. My landlord is CKAH (Cheung Kong Asset Holdings). Their after-tax profits were 30 billion HKD in 2019, and 41.6 billion in 2018. Owner Li Ka-shing's net worth is $30 billion USD. I'm RILED!

In June 2019, the pro-democracy protest started and crippled business. I requested rent reduction, but Chief Manager for Leasing refused. In Jan 2020, when COVID-19 struck, I again asked for a rent reduction, but Chief Manager for Leasing again refused. They didn't answer why they can't reduce, when other HK commercial landlords have.

Any ideas to convince them please? I'm just trying to stay alive.

Mall landlords — major property developers, such as Henderson Land (0012.HK) and Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016.HK) — have slashed February base rents and some have extended the cuts to March. But retailers say this is still too much to bear.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Neo
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


Money talks. You can't convince them to lower rent, only the market can do that. You must have a credible plan to move to less costly office space, or to drop your office space entirely and work remotely.

Only then can you negotiate from a position of strength.

In other words you need a credible Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). Look up that term, and you'll find some good advice on negotiating with crazy rich landlords and the like.

As painful as it is, "I'm going to go out of business" is the most credible of BATNAs.

  • 1
    "USD20 per square foot per year is at the very low end of the market rate for retail space where I live (near Boston, USA)." his is $200 per square foot a year. Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 16:06
  • Doh! (smacks forehead) you're right, sorry for the mistake. It's almost $200K a year for rent.
    – O. Jones
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 16:31
  • @O.Jones - I don't see the reason the cost of the author's rent is important. There is really nothing the author can do other than exercise any clause that allows them to break the lease.
    – Donald
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 17:47
  • @Donald if the rent they pay is well above market, the landlord will be more amenable to work with the person than if it is below market. Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 17:55
  • 2
    @MatthewGaiser from a quick google, looks like the rent mentioned in the question is below market rate, possibly substantially.
    – user34687
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 20:30