Rumors of Hong Kong’s demise as a shopping paradise have been greatly exaggerated. Any trip to the city’s shopping precincts will unearth plenty of bargains yet to be found — after all, Hong Kong is still a duty free port, and a fresh market of new-money from China regularly troops here to snap up all the imports they can find.
True, the days of saving buckets full of money when shopping in Hong Kong are gone – but there are a number of products that are still cheaper to buy in Hong Kong, with massive savings for shoppers compared to UK, US, or Australian prices.
Consider this the land of the nerds. Hong Kongers love their computers, and you’ll find the world’s cutting edge technology at very reasonable prices.
Hong Kong has a number of computer markets, dedicated buildings featuring hundreds of independent sellers flogging computer hardware and software. Most of the popular ones can be found in Wan Chai, including the massive Wan Chai Computer Centre (Google Maps) and lesser (but no less important) local complexes 298 Computer Zone (Google Maps) and the adjacent Oriental 188 (Google Maps), the latter being Hong Kong’s most popular stop for authentic and pirated video games.
Caveat emptor, as many of the goods bought at these stores do not come with a warranty.
Hong Kong has long been lauded as a haven for picking up cheap electronics; unfortunately, prices are no longer as competitive as they once were and you’ll need to be a little wiser when looking for deals. To save money, you’ll need to hit Hong Kong's independent retailers, many of whom can be found at Sham Shui Po.
Local electronics haunts include Golden Computer Centre (Google Maps), Hong Kong’s main stop for everything computer- and electronics-related; and the Apliu Street Flea Market (Google Maps, official site), a pedestrianized street lined chock-a-block with stalls selling cheap no-brand electronics and secondhand equipment.
Hong Kong is hands down the best place in the world to pick up a superbly cut suit at a bargain price. The Indian and Chinese tailors here are some of the most talented in the world and continue to suit up British royalty, army top brass, and the world’s biggest celebrities.
Prices are also excellent, and whether you want double breasted, Italian fabric or a cheap and cheerful linen number, you’ll find it here. Tailors are also well geared to the globetrotting business crowd and can organize suits in 48 hrs. Some of the celebrity tailors even go on world tours!
While good tailors can be found all across Hong Kong, suit enthusiasts tend to gravitate towards Kowloon and its celebrity haberdashers: Sam’s Tailor (Google Maps); Rashmi (Google Maps); Punjab House (Google Maps); and Raja Fashions (Google Maps).
Hong Kong used to be the workshop of the world. Today most of the globe’s clothes now bear the stamp Made in China, but they are manufactured just across the border in Guangzhou. That means Hong Kong is still awash with cheap clothes.
You’ll find hundreds of shops and market stalls all over the city selling cut price clothing for little more than a couple of dollars. And, while the dresses and shirts might not say H&M or GAP, at least some of the clothing looks similar.
Sham Shui Po’s minimalls and Causeway Bay’s massive Times Square (official site, Google Maps) are good fashion neighborhoods to poke around, albeit catering to different markets: the former for cut-rate fast-fashion bargains, the latter for designer stores carrying world-renowned name brands.
Art & Antiques
Befitting one of Asia’s top hubs for conspicuous consumption, Hong Kong has everything for collectors. The antique shops and art galleries around Hollywood Road and Wyndham Street, located in Central and Sheung Wan, offer collectibles for all kinds of budgets – from inexpensive propaganda posters to massively expensive artwork by notable Asian artists.
Many antique stores in Hong Kong specialize in particular periods or certain items, all the better to find what you’re looking for (though expect to pay a pretty penny for the convenience).
If you’re visiting Hong Kong expressly to collect art, schedule your trip to coincide with one of the city’s annual art events, like the Hong Kong edition of Art Basel in March and the Hong Kong Art Week in November.
They certainly aren’t cheap, at least in the traditional sense, but Hong Kong probably squeezes more luxury boutiques and stylish emporiums per square block than anywhere else on the globe. The streets of Central are stuffed with the likes of Gucci, Luis Vuitton, and Armani, not to mention a long list of “only shop in Asia” designers and jewelers.
Many of the world’s high-end goods find their way to the following luxury shopping centers: IFC Mall (official site, Google Maps) overlooking Victoria Harbour; the massive Pacific Place (official site, Google Maps) in Admiralty; and Landmark (official site, Google Maps), attached to the Mandarin Oriental.
Not only do they drop luxury names like nobody’s business; they also combine great Michelin-starred eats with easy access through nearby MTR lines.
When Hong Kong locals look for good luck talismans, they settle for nothing less than jade – a symbol of long life, good health and good fortune in Chinese tradition. Jade good-luck charms are greatly in demand among locals, and the many, many jade jewelry shops in Hong Kong are ready to oblige.
Visit the Jade Market at Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon (Google Maps), where about 400 stall owners loudly vie for your patronage. Choose from a wide variety of jade necklaces, bracelets, amulets and assorted trinkets – feel free to dicker down, but watch for deals that are too good to be true (they all too often are – fakes and low-quality jade are all too present here).
The local demand for jade and other fine jewelry can’t be slaked by a single location – luckily, luxury jewelers like KS Sze, Chinese Arts & Crafts and YEWN; and mid-priced boutiques like Chow Tai Fook, have branches spread out all over Hong Kong.