Shopping in Hong Kong

As they say – “When you're in Rome, do what the Romans do”. In terms of Hong Kong, that means that you should literally shop 'til you drop! Locals in Hong Kong are truly passionate about shopping, and it can actually literally be categorised not as just a social activity – but a serious sport. It is an important element in the local culture as it is just a way of life – so much so that very few cities can truly rival this shopping paradise from a social, business, and economic standpoint.

You can buy almost anything in Hong Kong. These range from electronics, clothes, souvenirs, and Chinese artwork. Hong Kong is a leading centre for luxury brands. However, shopaholics on a budget can also indulge in their favourite past-time as there are many great bargains to be had both at markets, alleyways, and shopping centres. Many of the sellers do speak some English, so there those who enjoy haggling will get a kick out of shopping here.

The reason why Hong Kong is renowned for its cheap shopping is that many basic items do not have any import or sales tax, or any duties. There are only specific imported goods which have taxes applied to them such as alcohol, perfume, tobacco, and cosmetics. There is also a low corporate tax (17.5%) compared to international standards. In addition, as it is close to mainland China's manufacturing plants and is a free port, there are huge advantages for shoppers. As a result, there are both local manufactured goods transported frequently as well as overseas imports from countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Europe, and the USA.

For those who prefer just heading to a department store, there are a number of local and international department stores to choose from.

Lane Crawford is a local department store with locations nationwide. It houses designer brands from both China and around the world, such as jewellery, home and lifestyle products, shoes, women’s-wear, lingerie, menswear, and cosmetics. Their locations include the IFC Mall, Pacific Place, Times Square, and Canton Road.

Sogo is the largest Japanese-style department store with locations in Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui. It was originally owned by the Japanese, but was bought over by Hong Kong billionaires in the 1990s.

For those who prefer to discover the unique districts of Hong Kong, here are the best ones to visit:

Central District
This district is a tourist and economic hub located on Hong Kong Island. There are shopping malls, designer boutiques, and old markets here. As there are many financial institutions in the area, there is high-end shopping found in the streets of Cat Street, Bonham Strand West and Hollywood Road; as well as shopping centres such as the IFC Mall, Landmark, Prince's Building, and the Galleria.

Li Yuen Streets – Also part of Central District are “The Lanes”. Li Yuen Street East and Li Yuen Street West comprise of “The Lanes”, which have plenty of stalls selling items. There are also affordable tailor-made items to buy here.

Located on Des Voeux Road, The Landmark is home to some of the most exclusive and chic shops in town. The only Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong is located here. It also has Sakes, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Bvlgari, and other designer name stores with high price tags.

Right next to The Landmark is the Prince's Building. This is a high-end shopping centre which houses Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Chanel, Bally, and Piaget. Alexandra House connects to the Prince's Building, and is home to Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada.

Similarly, The Galleria on Queen Street is a mixed commercial development. This is actually an office tower with 3 podium levels of shopping for easier access. It is home to sophisticated brand names such as Hermes.

The IFC Mall is located at the International Finance Centre. Here, you will find designer clothing, shoes, handbags, cosmetics, jewellery, a fitness store, audio visual stores, and more. The big names here include Anne Klein New York, Armani Exchange, Bally, Clinique, and Tag Heuer.

For something a bit more local, why not try Barney Cheng at the Worldwide Commercial Building on Wyndham Street? Cheng is an award-winning local designer in Hong Kong who creates some of the best prêt-à-porter collections and haute couture designs that have gained international recognition from as far as Australia. This designer was also personally invited to Washington, D.C. for an exhibition called “The New China Chic”, where he was invited to display his works alongside the internationally famous designers, Anna Sui and Vera Wang.

At neighbouring Sheung Wan, The Western Market on the corner of Morrison Street and Connaught Road is in a charming Edwardian-style building. However, inside is nothing but western. Inside is actually famous for shop selling dried seafood and traditional Chinese medicinal herbs.

Causeway Bay
Popular with visitors, Causeway Bay has department stores to bargain stalls all in a tight cluster. Despite its technically small geographical location, shopaholics can spend a whole day or more just walking around this area.

There are plenty of shops that specialise in youth fashion, electrical appliances, and shoes. Shopping malls here include Fashion Walk, The Lee Gardens, Times Square, and the World Trade Centre – WTC more which focus on food and fashion. There is also Windsor House which is famous for its computer products.

Located on Matheson Street, Times Square was the 1st 'vertical mall' in Hong Kong that is 9 stories tall. There is 83,700 sq m of retail space, with a mix of European, American, and Japanese tenants such as Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Brooks Brothers, Leica, Bose, Longines, The North Face, DKNY Jeans, and many more. There is also a cinema here. This iconic mall was inspired by Times Square in New York, so this is a popular sport for people to welcome the New Year especially since it is within a prime area in Causeway Bay.

For those on a budget, head to Jardine's Crescent Market. It is located close to the Causeway Bay MTR Station and is well known for its cheap clothing and accessories, as well as domestic goods.

Wan Chai
Steeped in history, Wan Chai's roads are where you will find some unique and comprehensive items. Queen's Road is where you will find Chinese furniture shops and rattan, which will even help to arrange to send your purchases back to your home overseas.

Spring Garden Lane is a great place for cheap clothes at competitive prices. Most of the products sold are actually originally for export, which means that you are also getting quality goods at a cheap price. For a bit of a multicultural experience, Spring Garden Land also connects to wet and dry markets.

Without out a doubt, one of the most famous markets is the Stanley Markets. The historic lanes here are full with restaurants, shops, and stalls. Vendors sell handicrafts, Chinese paintings, souvenirs, curios, and silk collectibles. It is open daily from 10.30 am until 6 pm every day.

This area is famous for its luxury items. Connected to the Admiralty MTR Station is Pacific Place. This mall is one of the swankiest malls on the island. There are 3 levels here with over 140 outlets. The top level is full of posh boutiques as well as Lane Crawford. The bottom 2 levels are more ordinary shops. It is also where there are upmarket hotels, restaurants, and a cinema.

Taikoo Shing
Cityplaza is the main shopping centre in the private residential area of Taikoo Shing. This mall comprises of 2 phases – Cityplaza I and II. City Plaza I has 6 floors, whilst Cityplaza II only has 3 floors. They are both connected to each other and is home to a popular ice rink. It is known for its updated seasonal décor, sport exhibitions, and art exhibitions in its public space. The anchor tenants here include Toys R Us, Marks & Spencer, APiTA, UNIQLO, and Wing On Department Store.

Kowloon has a great mix of high-end stores and street markets across its many districts. Tsim Sha Tsui is home to the big brand names, while great markets can be found in Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei.

Kowloon Tong
Festival Walk is an off-beat mall which is designed according to the principles of feng shui. This beautifully designed space has 200 shops, including both mainstream and unique boutique shops. This walk is quite busy and offers almost everything ranging from fashion to home furnishings. There are also restaurants, a cinema, and an ice skating rink here.

Kowloon Bay
Spanning over 83,000 sq. m., Telford Plaza is located in Kowloon East. There are 6 themed boulevards here with 250 shops selling stylish fashion, electronics, and more.

Nearby Telford Plaza is MegaBox which is part of the Enterprise Square Five mixed office and shopping complex on Wang Chiu Road. MegaBox is a huge 19-storey shopping centre with over 102,000 sq. m. worth of space. As a result, it comes as no surprise that this is the biggest shopping centre in East Kowloon and is also Hong Kong's largest block plaza. Shops here include Gigasports, Jusco, IKEA, Popular, Best Denki, and Sanrio Kids.

New Kowloon
Located in Diamond Hill, Plaza Hollywood is a shopping centre with 4 floors. As you can imagine by the name, its main theme is Hollywood. The main attraction here is the Stars Atrium which hosts many promotional features. Other than this, there are 100 retail stores including clothes and electronics, as well as more than 30 restaurants.

Tsim Sha Tsui
It is no surprise that Tsim Sha Tsui is one of the best shopping areas to go to. After all, it is home to the “Golden Mile”, which is basically where shoppers battle it out at Nathan Road. Running through Kowloon for 4 kilometres or 2.5 miles, this street is lined with a dazzling variety of shops. Practically everything you could ever want or need can be found here, including Chinese wooden stamps and craft-work, watches, eyeglasses, clothing, cameras, jewellery, luggage, handbags, shoes, tattoo artists, and tailors.

Nathan Road has many side streets which are also great places for shopping. This includes Granville Road which specialises in clothing, youth fashion, and silk. There are also export quality goods which are overruns available.

Although Park Lane Shopper's Boulevard is relatively small, this popular place with over 50 stores on Nathan Road is popular with young people seeking to buy fashion items. Sportswear, leather goods, shoes, hair accessories, and more can be found here.

Also on Nathan Road is the 31-storey high iSquare mall. There is 56,000 sq. m. of retail space, featuring dining, beauty, health, entertainment, lifestyle, fashion and accessories. Shops here include Jurlique, Bose, Best Buy, Lacoste, and IMAX.

Tsim Sha Tsui Centre and Empire Centre are connected via a pedestrian bridge. It offers beautiful views of Victoria Harbour, and the owners have designed these shopping complexes in such a way that alfresco diners can take advantage of this stunning view. Tsim Sha Tsui Centre focuses more on fashion, accessories, dining, watches, and jewellery. Empire Centre focuses more on watches and jewellery, and dining.

Harbour City at Kowloon is one of the most famous entertainment and shopping complexes is Harbour City. It includes the Ocean Terminal where cruise ships berth. This mall has plenty of branded goods such as Versace, MCM, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Hugo Boss, and Burberry. There are also 2 cinemas, Lane Crawford, as well as Hong Kong's biggest Toys R Us outlet.

Right next door is Star Computer City. This place is well known for its dedication to electronic equipment, especially computer-related products. Make sure to look carefully here to find some great bargains.

The flagship shopping centre is the ELEMENTS shopping mall. ELEMENTS can be found at the Kowloon Station MTR, and has plenty of well known brands, entertainment, and dining experiences. Tenants include Metro Books, ThreeSixty, Armani Exchange, Bvlgari, Calvin Klein, Cartier, Chanel, Coach, Crabtree and Evelyn, Miu Miu, and so much more.

1881 Heritage was formerly the original site of the Hong Kong Marine Police Headquarters. Today, it has been rejuvenated and transformed into a luxury shopping, dining, and hotel complex. Luxury stores include Tiffany & Co., Tudor, Wedgewood, Mont Blanc, Rolex, Royal Doulton, Cartier, Shanghai Tang, and Dunhill.

Mongkok is one of the most popular shopping areas for Kowloon locals. As you get off from the MTR station, Grand Century Place will be happy to greet you. Here you can find most of the famous brand names. However, many locals here tend to go to the many markets in Mongkok.

The Hong Kong Flower Market on Flower Market Road is quite close to the Mong Kok East MTR Station. As the name suggests, this area is full of the scent of exotic blooms and the sweet scents of beautiful plants.

A market dedicated to the fairer sex can be found on Tung Choi Street. The Ladies' Market, also known as Women's Street, is where you can find tonnes of female clothing, potpourri, towels, small rugs, dolls, and watches.

Located just around the corner is where females can drop off their other halves, with the Mongkok Computer Shopping Center and Sai Yeung Choi Street South nearby. These two areas sell consumer electronics such as computers, mobile phones, and AV equipment. Sai Yeung Choi Street is also known for its discount book shops.

There are also other interesting markets. These include the Bird Garden which is actually a garden where people sell birds, Fa Yuen Street or “Sneakers Street” where you can find a diverse range of sporting goods and rare sneakers, Goldfish Market which sell fish and various aquarium equipment, Tile Street which is great for those who want to do a renovation, and Photocopy Street which has plenty of photocopying shops where students go to photocopy class handouts and copyrighted textbooks.

Yau Ma Tei
This charming neighbourhood is home to the Temple Street Night Market and the Jade Market.

The Temple Street Night Markets is great for bargains – especially for men. Also known as “Men's Street”, there are male clothes, watches, pens, electronic gadgets, luggage, CDs, and more. There are also Chinese Opera enthusiasts and Fortune Tellers here. It does open from 4 pm, but it is better to come here after sundown.

The Jade Market is a great place to spend the morning. This is a mecca for jade collectors, and it is believed that jade protects people, especially travellers, against evil spirits. There are even valuable and rare jade carvings for sale, to small and affordable trinkets. However, make sure that you do not buy anything expensive unless you have a real expert with you.

Nearby this place is Jade Street on Canton Road, which is where a 3 ton jade stone has been placed as a landmark. Also, if you are looking for luxury designer brands in Yau Ma Tei, Canton Road is the place to go.

Sham Shui Po
The Golden Computer Centre and Golden Computer Arcade are 2 computer-related markets that are actually located in the same building. It was originally a fashion market, but this was later replaced by computer, video game, and electronics shops. It was also the original computer market in Hong Kong. The Golden Computer Arcade occupies the basement and 1st floor, and these shops sell computer accessories, computer books, electronic products, and video game machines. Meanwhile, the Golden Computer Centre sells prints, computers, and other peripherals and parts.

Also in Sham Shui Po on Ap Liu Street is a popular flea market that is open from noon until midnight. The Ap Liu Street Flea Market is where you can find both new and second hand electronic devices and products, telecommunication products, and audio visual equipment at bargain prices. You can also find antiques such as old coins and watches here.

APM is the largest shopping centre in Kwantung. Most shops close at midnight, but there are shops that remain open 24 hours. This vertical mall attracts youths around 15 to 35 years old, as APM holds regular events featuring pop stars. Shops here include Anna Sui, Quiksilver, Levi's, Calvin Klein, G2000, Birkenstock, L'Occitane, and more.

Wong Tai Tsin
Lok Fu Plaza is a local shopping centre that is linked with the Lok Fu MTR Station. There are plenty of shopping and dining options here, including Skechers, Ma Belle, Bossini, Columbia, Giordano, Yves Rocher, Pizza Hut, and Ajisen Ramen.

Lantau Island
Just a short ride away from the airport there are the Citygate Outlets in Tung Chung. This was the 1st outlet mall in the nation, and is home to 80 brands that offer up to 70% discount on beauty, sports, fashion, home items, accessories, and children's wear. This is just perfect for those who have a short layover or want to do some last minute shopping before heading off.

Tsing Yi
Tsin Yi's Maritime Square has a cinema, 130 shops, plus themed restaurants. It is close to the Hong Kong International Airport which also makes it great for those who want to do last minute shopping. Brands here include Bauhaus, Hallmark, Swarovski, The Body Shop, and the Walker Shop.

Sha Tin
Boasting gourmet cuisine and international fashion labels, New Town Plaza is a popular shopping centre in Sha Tin. Shops here include the Armani Exchange, Esprit, FCUK, Timberland, Zara, FOSSIL, Rolex, and Swarovski.