Shopping in Hong Kong

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Shopping in Hong Kong has been categorised from a "social activity" to a "serious sport".[1][2] Few cities in the world can rival the experience from an economic, business or social standpoint.


Nathan Road shopping in Kowloon

In the early Colonial Hong Kong period, the territory served as a middleman that sold far more than it consumed. Goods were largely sold via mobile hawker units or independent shops, with the majority of trade, utilities, shipping and manufacturing handled by the Hongs.[3] The establishment of banks and deposit institutions allowed people to accumulate savings, and expand their personal finances.

With significant manufacturing outputs, the economy turned around in the 1960s, setting the mall trends in motion. One of the first modern shopping centres was Ocean Terminal. Daimaru opened the flood gate of Japanese goods to Hong Kong in 1966.[2] Deng Xiaoping's 1978 Open Door Policy also made Hong Kong the definitive gateway to China.[1] The people's mindset then begin to change from buying necessities to buying luxury goods.

Food and clothing supplies were always available for sale, but complex goods did not come about until the arrival of the major brand name franchises. In the 1970s and 1980s, items like air conditioners, fans and refrigerators were popular items that eased the hot climate. Major increases in consumer spending continued, due to the period of explosive economic growth.[4]

In the late 1970s, one of the first modern shopping development was The Landmark in Central above the MTR station.[2] In 1984, Cityplaza in Taikoo Shing was also redeveloped. A large architectural project at the time was also to connect Ocean Centre to the Harbour City shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui. The large mall construction movement continued into the 1990s with Pacific Place, Dragon Centre, Time Square, Plaza Hollywood and Festival Walk.[2] Developments also expanded into the New Territories.


Street merchandise displays
The Louis Vuitton branch in Hong Kong
Aggressive marketing campaigns are common, this one features Coco Lee
Gadget shopping
Muji stores

Ethnic food ranges from Mexican flavors to Indian dishes. The Soho district in Central is the center for Western foods. Traditional Chinese cuisines, ranging from Shanghainese, Hainanese to Cantonese restaurants are also located everywhere. Street food vendors selling local snacks, such as dumplings with fish meat and snake soup bowl, can be found in Mong Kok and Causeway Bay.

Custom tailoring is also popular and affordable in Hong Kong. The customer can draw out a design for clothing and have it made in a few days.[5] Electronics from Japan and Europe are available. A place for shopping for these appliances would be in Apliu Street and the Golden Shopping Center in Sham Shui Po. There are computer appliances centers in Wan Chai and Mong Kok.

A Japanese pop culture has become prevalent in Hong Kong Shopping. Japanese department stores have opened in Hong Kong, such as Sogo, Yata, and Muji. Japanese clothing brands, like Swordfish, Moussy, and Uniqlo, have started flagship stores in the city. If looking for a bargain in clothing and accessories, the Lady’s Street and Fa Yuen Street in Mong Kok or Jardine’s Crescent in Causeway Bay are good places to visit.

Hong Kong is the fourth largest exporter of jewelry in the world,[citation needed] mainly in the supply of jade and gold. Among the most common are Chow Seng Seng and Luk Fook Jewelry.[1]


Speciality local stores[edit]



Basic items for sale do not draw any duties, sales tax or import tax.[7] Only specific import goods such as alcohol, tobacco, perfumes, cosmetics, cars and petroleum products have associated taxes. For companies, there is a 17.5% corporate tax, which is lower than international standards.[1]

Its proximity to the manufacturing plants in China as well as being a free port provide the territory with significant advantages. Large quantities of goods are manufactured and transported from and to Hong Kong. Imports from Europe, Japan, the United States and Taiwan add international flavour to the mix.

Businesses do not always cater to high-end customers, as plenty of bargains attract regular shoppers. Transportation eases the shopping experience, as the MTR subway and an effective taxi service allow anyone to get around without geographical knowledge.

Other benefits include a mild winter climate during the two most critical shopping seasons at Christmas and the Chinese New Year.


Hong Kong is unique in the sense that the population is fully engaged in two languages so the territory is capable of communicating with eastern or western shoppers. Hong Kong, Macau, and India are the only regions on the GDP per capita top 50 list with a 50% stake in two very different language families. The law also guarantees that both Cantonese and English remain the official languages, so bilingual sales tags and sales people are common, especially in the areas frequented by tourists.

Cultural openness is also an important factor, as Hong Kong is receptive toward selling merchandise regardless of the origin. The government believes in a hands-off policy, and does not censor, restrict or modify. An example is authentic looking toy guns.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Fallon, Stephen (2006). Hong Kong & Macau. Lonely Planet city guide (12th ed.). Footscray, Vic: Lonely Planet. ISBN 978-1-74059-843-9. OCLC 62225842. 
  2. ^ a b c d Mathews, Gordon; Lui, Tai-Lok (2001). Consuming Hong Kong. Hong Kong culture and society. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 962-209-546-1. OCLC 47638448. 
  3. ^ Genzberger, Christine (1994). Hong Kong Business: The Portable Encyclopedia for Doing Business with Hong Kong. World Trade Press country business guides. San Rafael, Calif: World Trade Press. ISBN 0-9631864-7-7. OCLC 29467723. 
  4. ^ Yu, Tony Fu-Lai (1997). Entrepreneurship and Economic Development in Hong Kong. Routledge advances in Asia-Pacific business, 5. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-16240-8. OCLC 36165215. 
  5. ^ The Tailors of Hong Kong
  6. ^ Chibber, Kabir (1 April 2009). "Store Review: G.O.D. in Hong Kong". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Barber, Nicola (2004). Hong Kong. Great cities of the world. Milwaukee, WI: World Almanac Library. ISBN 0-8368-5038-6. OCLC 54544041.