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Hong Kong - Shopping
Western brands and specific Western items are probably going to be priced higher than those that are not. However, the general cost of groceries, accessories, personal care products, and even furnishings, is reasonable.
Although some expat relocation packages offer a certain amount of shipping from the expat’s home country, it is not difficult to find the furnishings that you need in Hong Kong. Buying furnishings locally can save expenses and stress since some of the larger Western items might have trouble fitting into the small, Asian style apartments and houses. What you don’t purchase you might consider renting. There are furniture stores in Hong Kong around Queen’s Road East that specialize in both antique and reproduction furniture. In the New Territories, expats can find an IKEA outlet. There is a regular store in Causeway Bay. Hollywood Road has shops that feature crafts, art, and genuine antiques.
Some furnishings can be custom-made. You might, for instance, be able to customize your dining room table, sofa, bed, etc. with the fabric and colors you desire. They might take as long as 2 or 3 months to arrive to you, however.
Some expats might find that clothing and shoes in local stores is smaller than what they would find at home. Foreign brand clothing is on hand, though, and you should not have trouble finding popular name brands and a variety of sizes. There are also clothing shops that sell overstocks, first runs, and slightly damaged items that can be at a significantly discounted price. If you are still unable to find what you need, there are many tailors in Hong Kong that can make you items from scratch. These are very inexpensive. Customizing clothing at tailors is not only popular for those who live in Hong Kong, but popular for visitors, too.
The two large supermarket chains in Hong Kong are Welcome and Park n Shop. Most neighborhoods have at least one branch of these. At these large stores, expats can typically find many products that have been imported from Europe and the United States. In addition, local favorites are on hand as well. Some residents find that having a delivery service deliver their groceries is more convenient. Although it depends on the store, if you spend at least HK$500 you might find that you are able to have your groceries delivered to your doorstep.
For cleaning supplies, you can find most general products at department stores and supermarkets. Even the smaller markets should have at least a few basic cleaning supplies available.
Although residents of Hong Kong do shop at supermarkets, natives tend to purchase their fresh vegetables and meat from “wet markets.” At these markets, live poultry and fish can be chosen, killed and cleaned while you watch. Sometimes these markets have food that is less expensive than what you might find at the larger supermarkets.
For appliances, Fortress is possibly the most popular store in Hong Kong. It has entertainment systems, laptops, household appliances, and more. The items are priced comparatively to what you would find in Western countries and perhaps slightly cheaper. You might find that Hong Kong has some electronics that are not yet available anywhere else.
Shopping malls are popular in Hong Kong, too. These have cinemas, clothing shops, electronic stores, restaurants and more. Some of the most popular malls are the Times Square Mall, Harbour City, and the Pacific Place Mall.
There are several places that have specialized markets. For instance, the goldfish market in Mong Kok sells goldfish. There is a business card market in Sheung Wang, too. Other markets include the Temple Street Night market, Jardine’s Bazaar, Ladie’s Market in Kowloon, and the Stanley Market. Prices are not normally fixed and you might be able to haggle as much as 50% off the quoted price.
Credit cards are becoming increasingly popular as a form of payment in Hong Kong, but paying with cash is still more common. The three local banks that issue currency all put different images on their notes so it’s common for the same denominations to appear different. Bigger hotels, restaurants, and stores will take credit cards. You might also be able to use your Octopus Card at some restaurants and smaller stores.
The Consumer Council offers information on consumer protection legislation, safety tips when shopping, and other information on consumerism in Hong Kong. Should you need to make a complaint, you can do so by post, fax, or online form.
North Point Consumer Advice Centre
Room 1410 14/F Kodak House II
39 Healthy Street East
North Point Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2929 2222
Expat Health Insurance Partners
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.