In the same manner as Japan, Hong Kong has taken a novel approach in an attempt to ease the pressure created by a chronic lack of available space by unveiling both hotel and potential university dorm capsules.
Reported by Reuters this week, a company called Galaxy Stars HK will be manufacturing single dormitory pods to try and maximize the amount of available accommodation in a city notorious for high costs and limited available facilities.
Galaxy Stars HK is the maker of the 'capsule bed', described as:
"Although it is not luxury, it can provide economic, safe and comfortable accommodation. The capsule is made from steel and strengthened fire prevention ABS plastic and has been improved upon since its introduction. The design concept is that of an astronaut in the cockpit.
The Inside design is spacious and comfortable with good air circulation. It provides a number of necessary facilities for daily needs, such as: power switch, lighting, air-conditioning, TV, fans, smoke detectors, computer tables, vanity mirror sets, and so on."
Taking this as inspiration, the company plan to produce pods that are six feet long and have a three foot by four foot opening. Installed blinds ensure customers will get as much privacy as possible. The wifi-enabled capsules are able to be stacked up in cupboard-like formations. They come complete with a bed, air conditioning, light switch, computer table and power outlets.
Eric Wong, managing director at Galaxy Stars HK, explained why the units could help alleviate the space issue and how quickly they can be assembled:
"It's like Legos. I want to bring this product to Hong Kong tourists to relieve Hong Kong's hotel shortage."
Wong stated that he expects the main customer base to consist of tourists. According to Hong Kong's Tourism Commission, the average cost of a hotel room was HK$1165 in 2010.
However, not only tourists have expressed interest in these affordable, albeit cramped quarters. Students in the city have also already filed their interest, with pods near campus being offered for HK$3,500 ($450 USD) a month. Traditional campus accommodation is nearly impossible to secure, with extremely long waiting lists and tough entrance requirements.
"Students are affected by a severe lack of space in university housing, so we thought, why not do dorm rooms as well?" Wong suggested.
There are no current fixed dates for launching capsule dormitories, however the MD indicted there is enough interest to potentially open one soon due to interest of at least 15 same-gender students keen on the idea.
Prices for apartments and housing in the city are the most expensive in the world, and they rose more than 12 percent in 2011.