Shopping in Hong Kong
Everyone knows Hong Kong as a place of neon-lit retail pilgrimage – all international brands worth their logo have outlets here, and they are supplemented by the city’s own retail trailblazers. That said, Hong Kong's reputation as a bargain hunter’s paradise is pretty much a thing of the past.
Pin this image Mong Kok is a bargain shopper's paradise. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet
So what’s worth shopping for in Hong Kong? Clothing, luggage, jewellery, cameras and electronic goods are the city’s strong suits. Excellent shops and galleries specializing in Asian art and antiques also abound.
Sales assistants in department or chain stores rarely have any leeway to give discounts, but you can try bargaining in owner-operated stores and certainly in markets.
Pin this image S.T. Shop in Mong Kok. Image by cloneofsnake / CC BY-SA 2.0
Some visitors believe that you can always get the goods for half of the price originally quoted. But if you can bargain something down that low, buying it from that shop might not be the best option. Remember that, though you might be getting that DSLR camera cheap, in turn you may also pay a high mark-up for the memory card, or worse, it may have missing components or no international warranty.
Some imported goods have a Hong Kong-only guarantee. If it’s a well-known brand, you can return the warranty card to the Hong Kong importer to get one for your country. Grey-market items imported by somebody other than the official agent may have a guarantee that is only valid in the country of manufacture, or none at all.
Whatever you’re in the market for, always check prices in a few shops before buying. The most common way that shopkeepers try to cheat tourists is to simply overcharge. In some of the electronic stores in the tourist shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui, many goods do not have price tags. The best way to circumvent being overcharged is to check around for prices in several shops before you buy.
Hong Kong has a rich and colourful array of Chinese antiques on offer, but serious buyers will restrict themselves to reputable antique shops and auction houses only. Forgeries and expert reproductions abound. Remember that most of the quality pieces are sold through auction houses such as Christie’s, especially at its auctions in spring and autumn.
Pin this image Bric-a-brac and posters for sale along Hollywood Rd. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet