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Getting Your Shop On in Hong Kong

20130311-124025.jpgWhile any international brand worthy of its logo has at least one outlet here, Hong Kong’s reputation as a bargain hunter’s paradise is largely a thing of the past. So what’s worth shopping for? Clothing (off the peg or tailored), shoes, jewellery, luggage and, to a lesser degree nowadays, cameras and electronic goods are the city’s strong suits. Excellent art and antiques shops also abound.

Bargaining

Bargaining is a way of life at retail outlets throughout Hong Kong, with the exception of department stores and clothing chain shops, where the prices marked are the prices paid. Some visitors operate on the theory that you can get the goods for half the price originally quoted. Many Hong Kong residents believe that if you can bargain something down that low, then you shouldn’t be buying from that shop anyway. If the business is that crooked – and many are, particularly in the Tsim Sha Tsui tourist ghetto – it will probably find other ways to cheat you (such as selling you electronic goods with missing components or no international warranty).

Guarantee & Warranty

Every guarantee should carry a complete description of the item (including the model and serial numbers), as well as the date of purchase, the name and address of the shop it was purchased from, and the shop’s official name chop (stamp). A common practice is to sell grey-market equipment (ie imported by somebody other than the official local agent). Such equipment may have no guarantee at all, or the guarantee may be valid only in the country of manufacture (which will probably be either China or Japan).

Antiques

Most of Hong Kong Island’s antique shops are bunched along Wyndham St and Hollywood Rd in Central and Sheung Wan. The shops at the western end of Hollywood Rd tend to be cheaper and carry more dubious ‘antiques’ – tread carefully through this minefield of reproductions, books, magazines, Chinese propaganda posters, badges from the Cultural Revolution and so on. For Chinese handicrafts and other goods (hand-carved wooden pieces, ceramics, paintings, cloisonné, silk garments), the main places to go are the large China-run emporiums scattered throughout the territory, such as Chinese Arts & Crafts and Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium.

Clothing

The best places to find designer fashion and top-end boutiques are in the big shopping centres and malls, especially Landmark in Central, Pacific Place in Admiralty and Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong. The best hunting grounds for warehouse sales and factory extras are generally in Tsim Sha Tsui at the eastern end of Granville Rd; check out Austin Ave and Chatham Rd South as well. On Hong Kong Island, Jardine’s Bazaar in Causeway Bay has low-cost garments and there are several sample shops and places to pick up cheap jeans in Lee Garden Rd. The street markets on Temple St in Yau Ma Tei and Tung Choi St in Mong Kok have the cheapest clothes. You may also try Li Yuen St East and Li Yuen St West, two narrow alleyways linking Des Voeux Rd Central with Queen’s Rd Central. They are a jumble of inexpensive clothing, handbags, backpacks and costume jewelry.

Read more: LonelyPlanet

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