Shopping in Hong Kong
Hong Kong enjoys the reputation of a leading shopping destination of the world. Not only tourists, even Hong Kongers enjoy shopping at its many animated markets, gleaming malls, plentiful department and individual stores. All these avenues of retail thus, offer an abundance of products catering to all budgets and preferences.
The strong entrepreneurial spirit of Hong Kongers coupled with a conducive business environment ensures Hong Kong’s vibrant and constantly evolving retail sector is to the forefront of the economy. Almost every global brand has a representation in Hong Kong and the city often serves as a testing ground for brand launches in Asia.
Shopping Venues in Hong Kong
If you consider yourself a mall rat, then youwill be delighted by Hong Kong’s many offerings. Malls are a ubiquitous feature of Hong Kong’s shopping landscape though, like most buildings in Hong Kong, they extend upwards rather than horizontally. Clothing, lifestyle products, homewares, beauty products and more are all on offer at Hong Kong’s many malls. Hong Kong’s malls are a popular locale for weekend recreation and thus host a plethora of entertainment, recreational and dining options as well. Spending a day at the mall is not an uncommon activity for Hong Kongers, especially when the weather outside is particularly unkind.
Prominent malls on Hong Kong island include the IFC mall, Pacific Place, the Landmark, Times Square Mall, Hysan Place and Lee Gardens, Fashion Walk, and City Plaza. The Pulseis a newly launched mall gracing the ocean front heaven of Repulse Bay. Not to be outdone Kowloon and the New Territories, also have their own portfolio of swanky malls. The I Square mall, the K-11 mall, the One, the Elements mall, Harbour City, Festival Walk, New Town Plaza, Olympian City, Telford Plaza, Mega Box, Langham Place and the World of Whampoa are some of the heavily-trafficked malls located here.
Aside from these malls, several localities have their own shopping enclaves like Aberdeen Centre, Marina Square, Koda Plaza,Repulse Bay Arcade, Shatin Centre and Plaza which host myriad stores, catering to the everyday needs of the area’s residents. Discount shopping is also available at Hong Kong’s main outlet malls like Citygate Outlet sand China HongKong City. These malls house stores that offer productoverruns as well as marked down merchandise from previous seasons of well-known luxury brands. It’s worth mentioning that Hong Kong is also home to the only Asian outlet store of luxe Italian designer brand Prada. The store is tucked away in a quiet corner of a neighborhood mall, Marina Square.
Like many other Asian cities, Hong Kong abounds with vibrant street markets. These busy centers of commerce are a magnet for Hong Kong’s many tourists though they attract locals as well with their competitive prices and huge selection of wares. Street markets are present all over Hong Kong, though some of the most popular street markets in Hong Kong are located in Kowloon. These immensely popular markets include Tung Choi Street or Ladies Market in MongKok(open from 4pm to midnight daily), Temple Street Night Market in Yau Ma Tei and the Apliu Street market in Sham Sui Po.
Fashion accessories, apparel, designer replicas, stationery and many other trinkets can be had at the Ladies’ and Temple Street Night Markets. Apliu Street market, on the other hand, is renowned as a locale for ‘cheap shopping.’ Apparel, electronics, electronic components, second-hand smartphones, audio-visual equipment, sneakers, fabrics, gemstones are some of the various products on sale at this ‘bargain’ shopping hub. Street markets are also evident on Hong Kong Island. In Central, two narrowly alleys, Li Yuen Street West and Li Yuen East popularly referred to as ‘the lanes’ offer the street market shopping experience for those shoppers who don’t want to travel afar. Prices quoted in ‘the lanes’ are somewhat higher than those quoted in Kowloon and the traders of Central are not as amenable to bargaining. The Jardine’s Crescent Market in busy Causeway Bay and expat favorite Stanley market located on the southern tip of the island are other markets worth perusing on Hong Kong Island. Aside from these generic markets, Hong Kong also hosts various specialized markets. The Goldfish Market, the Flower Market, the Jade Market, the Dried Seafood and Chinese medicine market (in Sheung Wan) and the Cat Street Antique Market along Hollywood Road) are major tourist haunts.
Other notable Hong Kong markets offering bargains galore include the Fa Yuen Street Sneaker Market, the Business Card Market (Man Wah lane in Sheung Wan) and the Shanghai Street Wedding Dress Market. Newer markets on the Hong Kong’s shopping scene include a farmer’s market, Island East Market and the stylish and hip hub of all things artisanal and cool, the PMQ market. Haggling and bargaining are quite the norm in the street markets in Hong Kong, with both shoppers and vendors enjoying the tussle over prices.
Swank malls may be the rule of the day on Hong Kong’s retail landscape. However, the territory’s old-fashioned multi-level department stores continue to attract custom until today. Outposts of chainslike Sogo Hong Kong, Wing On and Sincere offer a huge selection of products all in one place and thus, continue to be popular.
Horizon Plaza, a malllocated the neighborhood of Ap Lei Chau on the Southside of Hong Kong Island is a leading destination for furniture shopping in Hong Kong. This lifestyle mall is home to outlets of Hong Kong’s leading home décor brands like Tree, Indigo Living, Tequila Koala, Shambala, Goods of Desire amongst others. Many of the stores located within Horizon Plaza offer bespoke furniture-making services as well. Home Square located in Shatin(New Territories) is another mall offering furniture and home décor options.
Other popular (more economical) choices include outlets ofreasonably priced chain stores like IKEA, Muji, Price Rite, Jade Rattan Hong Kong and Takad. Several furniture stores also line main thoroughfares of the city, like Queens Road East in Wan Chai and Java Road in North Point and offer ready-built as well as custom-made furniture. Savvy furniture shoppers in Hong Kong also tend to cross the border into China and undertake guided furniture-buying trips to popular Chinese furniture producing areas like Shenzhen and Zhuhai. Another source for procuring furniture is the classified sections of the popular Hong Kong expat sites, Geoexpat.com and Asiaexpat.com. Expats departing from Hong Kong routinely list their furniture and other wares for sale on these sites.
The electrical outlets in Hong Kong fit the three-pronged UK-style plugs and the standard voltage in Hong Kong is 220 volts, 50 HZ. If you need to outfit your home with electric appliances, the best offerings are found at stores,which are outlets of chains like Fortress, Broadway and Sunning. These companies have a presence throughout Hong Kong and offer a wide range of products of leading global brands.
Hong Kong’s old-world department stores like Wingon, Sogo, Apita and Sincere offer a good selection of home wares as do the branches of the IKEA, Muji and Japan Home Store chains. Another good option for home wares is the large King Tak Hong store located on Queen’s Road East. Also, worth a whirl are the many small stores located within the city’s wet markets and neighborhood shopping centers.
Fashion and Apparel
Global luxury brands in recent years have made a beeline for Hong Kong, given the seemingly insatiable demand for fashion in Hong Kong and neighboring China. Mid-market brands like J.Crew, Gap, Top Shop, Zara, Massimo Dutti, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Forever 21, American Eagle Outfitters and others, have also followed suit to set up stores in Hong Kong.
Apart from these big, global brands the city also a well-established local fashion industry featuring a multitude of stand-alone stores and boutiques. However, if you wear a size that is larger than the common Asian sizes, you will probably struggle to find ready to wear apparel and footwear in Hong Kong. Some international brands like Marks and Spencer’s do carry bigger sizes in their local stores and there are also stores in Wan Chai, Stanley Market and MongKok, which sell large-sized garments, mainly export overruns of well-known brands sourced from factories in China.
Additionally,Hong Kong is also home to a thriving custom-tailoring industry renowned throughout the world. So it is relatively easy to get clothes and even shoes made to your size at the many bespoke tailoring and shoe-making outfits present throughout Hong Kong. For cheaper custom tailoring options, many Hong Kongers even head out to Louhou Commercial City in neighboring Shenzhen. The many tailors located here can rustle up garments and even courier them to your address in Hong Kong or elsewhere in the world.
Hong Kongers enjoy literary pursuits and even in this digital age; the city continues to host bookstores offering a wide variety of books and magazines in various international languages. Hong Kong’s popular bookstore chains include Dymock’s, Bookazine,Page One,Metrobooksand Swindon Books(parent company of Kelly and Walsh book stores). Other bookstores worth a mention are Elsite(the Hong Kong outpost of the famous Taiwanese bookstore chain) and Naxos Books and Video.
More specialized collections are offered by stores like Kubrick (books on film) in Yau Ma Tei, Indosiam(books on Asian art and culture), Lok Man Books(rare books), Basheer(books on design) and Parentheses(books in French). Second-hand bookstores like Book Smart and Flow Books have a loyal following amongst Hong Kongers.
For oenophiles, Hong Kong is heaven.Hong Kong does not impose any duty on the import of wine into the territory and hence the city is today one of the biggest markets for wine. Wines from wine producing areas from around the globe are readily available at supermarkets and several specialized wine stores like Watson’s Wine, Rare and Fine Wines,My Wine Man and many others.
Stores specializing in children’s wear are plentiful in Hong Kong. While several up market brands have their outlets at Prince’s Building in Central other popular options include stores like Bumpstobabes, Babies R Us, Mamakid and many more. The Apple Mall located in the midst of Stanley Market is yet another popular shopping destination for children’s clothes and accessories.
Computers and other gizmos
Hong Kongers have a passion for new technologies. As a result the city, a growing hub for tech startups hosts several specialized marketplaces or computer centers, which offer a whole host of tech-related wares including smartphones and tablets. The Mong Kong Computer center and the Golden Computer Centre and Arcade in Sham Sui Po, the Wan Cha Computer Centre (next to the Wan Chai MTR station), the 298 Computer Centre (on 298 Hennessey Road) and the Computer Mall in Windsor House, Causeway Bay are some of the best spots in Hong Kong to buy tech products.
Also, worth a mention are shopping centres like Prosperity Building (on 61, Tung Choi Street)and the Grand Commercial Centre (on SaiYeung Choi street). Both these buildings located in MongKok, are populated with stores selling upscale, high-end hi-fi systems and audio-visual offerings.
Hong Kongers have traditionally enjoyed going out to shop, as they tend to treat shopping as a recreational activity. However, online shopping is gaining popularity nowadays. The Chinese online marketplace Taobao attracts millions of shoppers from Hong Kong as do various other sites that offer shipping to Hong Kong.
The shopping scenario in Hong Kong is extremely vibrant and truly representative of the unflagging entrepreneurial spirit of the city.