Shopping in Hong Kong
Most people who travel here simply love the shopping in Hong Kong, with its rich diversity of goods, brands and price levels. For a lot of people it could even be called the main reason for coming here.
This is especially true of the many rich Chinese from the Mainland who go on vacation in Hong Kong for the super exclusive boutiques in and around Central with all of the most expensive global fashion brands. But there are also bargains to be had for the more price-sensitive, as Hong Kong offers a lot of opportunities to get low prices on everything from clothing to electronics.
The more average but reasonably affluent locals are drawn to the great clusters of shopping malls in places like Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui. Heavy shopping areas like these also offer a great variety of Hong Kong food.
If you would by any chance be interested in picking up Chinese antiques, make sure to head out to Sheung Wan.
Malls and markets
There are many big shopping malls all over Hong Kong, but just to mention a few there’s the brand new and somewhat upscale Elements mall under the International Commercial Centre and the gigantic Harbour City mall in Tsim Sha Tsui. Further north in Kowloon you can find Langham Place and Festival Walk.
Meanwhile, the island side houses the successful IFC mall and glamorous Landmark mall in Central, as well as lots of places in Causeway Bay like Times Square and the Japanese SOGO department store. In fact, almost no matter what hotel you are staying in, there’s bound to be a decently sized shopping mall nearby. Even areas outside of the very centre have them, including Quarry Bay’s Cityplaza, Kwun Tong’s apm mall, and Shatin’s New Town Plaza.
Many people also like the more informal street markets like the one found in Stanley Market or the Temple Street night market. But above all, there is the reigning champion of cheap shopping in Hong Kong – Mong Kok.
If you want to hunt for the cheapest offers and at the same time get a taste of “the real Hong Kong”, you should definitely make your way to the extremely busy Mong Kok district. It is a very crowded area, and there are shops positively everywhere. As more working class areas, Mong Kok and other parts of northern Kowloon are your best bet if you’re trying to locate the lowest prices.
Here you will discover that the different neighbourhoods seem to be specialising in different products, such as the stores on Sai Yeung Choi Street peddling electronic goods like cell phones, whereas Fa Yuen Street (aka “Sneaker street”) is lined with purveyors of shoes and other sporting equipment.
Most notably there’s the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street, which sells women’s clothing and accessories and all sorts of knick-knacks.
The potential for haggling over the prices is different depending on the situation. In a proper department store, haggling is simply not done, but in the street stalls you should absolutely aim to pay significantly less than their initial offer. If you don’t speak Chinese, you might try to just say: “Cheaper! Cheaper!”
Ladies Market and similar venues around Mong Kok are also good places to find little souvenirs and trinkets. If looking for clothes in particular, there are several mini malls – clusters of really tiny shops. Of course, there are also typical ordinary shopping malls as well, like Grand Century Place and especially Langham Place.
Fake brand-name products
The Hong Kong government has been working long and hard to get rid of counterfeit goods, and you can often see No Fakes” signs on stores. But there are still copies out there, although not nearly as much as in Mainland China. Actually, rich people from other parts of China flock to go shopping in Hong Kong precisely because they know that they can trust that the brands will be the real thing. Of course, many of those expensive world famous brands are made in the same Chinese factories that make the copies, but that’s another issue.
The quality of the copied goods varies but relative to the cost it can actually be very good. Foreigners who aren’t used to getting the image of big brands on the cheap often tend to like these. But many locals frown upon them in spite of their limited means.
As always, it’s really a matter of letting common sense be your guide. I can assure you that the stunningly cheap Rolexes on sale at the street markets are not real. On the other hand, if you purchase an brand name product in an expensive store in Central, you can rest assured that it is legitimate. Generally speaking all the established, proper-looking stores are perfectly trustworthy, and don’t deal with fake brand products, just like they wouldn’t in Europe or North America. If you would like to find some, you will have a better chance in the temporary outdoor stalls.
Electronics shopping in Hong Kong
Many visitors like to go electronics shopping in Hong Kong, especially in northern Kowloon with places like Mong Kok Computer Centre and Golden Computer Centre. These malls have lots of messy little stores selling computers, peripherals, games and so forth.
The smaller stores may have the lowest prices, but personally I would give out a warning about shopping electronics when you’re out travelling. It’s very difficult to claim a warranty and unfortunately there may be some dealers out there that try to scam tourists by selling bad quality goods. Granted, this may be true of other products as well, but I would think electronics are particularly risky products to buy. The best way to protect yourself from scams would be to stick to the electronic chain stores.
Finally, as you’re leaving Hong Kong, assuming you haven’t burned through your credit limit yet, you’re sure to notice that the inside of the airport holds a large high-end shopping galleria. If you’ve got some time before your flight, why not join the other waiting passengers and take advantage of your last chance to do some shopping in Hong Kong?