Fierce competition, no sales tax and some wealthy consumers make Hong Kong an excellent destination for shopping.
Popular shopping items include consumer electronics, watches, custom clothing, shoes, camping equipment, jewellery, expensive brand name goods, Chinese antiques, toys and Chinese herbs/medicine. There's also a wide choice of Japanese, Korean, American and European clothing and cosmetics but price are generally higher than in their respective home countries.
Most shops in Hong Kong's urban areas open at about 10AM until 10PM to midnight every day. High rental costs in Hong Kong, ranked second worldwide according to Forbes, makes it no surprise that the best bargain shops could be located anywhere except the ground floor. Shops recommended by local people may even be up on the 20th floor in a building that won't give you a hint that it's a place for shopping.
Many shops accept credit cards. In accepting credit cards, the merchant will look carefully at the signature rather than looking at picture ID. In addition, merchants will not accept credit cards with a different name that the person presenting it. All shops that accept credit cards and many that don't, will also accept debit cards and ATM cards as payment. The term used for debit card payment is EPS.
Be careful when shopping at stores that have neon-lighted signs of famous brands. Some have complained about the products they purchased from there.
Where to Shop
The venue is adjacent to Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀), a popular hang out for the locals, with many shopping malls, gourmet, bars, cafés and cultural experiences. Also close by in Jordan (佐敦), the neighborhood just north to Tsim Shui Tsui, you can also find a lot of rather local gourmet fare.
- Nathan Rd is the main artery of Kowloon peninsula with a typical Hong Kong urban landscape, a chaotic mix of skyscrapers and Cantonese style old buildings, of merchandising stores and residential buildings, it even has an Anglican Church in the mix. Once called the "Golden mile" of Hong Kong, the streets lined with a chaotic array of neon signs hanging from the buildings are world famous. It is also a major shopping strip for both locals and visitors, with all kinds of small stores to huge department stores for everyday needs.
- Tsim Sha Tsui is a major shopping area for locals & visitors with a number of major Shopping Malls. You can find most of the world-famous luxury brands in these mall, although they are most frequented by tourists from Mainland China.
- Mong Kok (旺角) has a huge choice of shops and markets in an area of less than a square kilometre. You can also find many Cafés, and gourmets from local street food, to high end Western dishes. It is rather a local hangout, where you can find clothes, sports shoes, electronic gadget and karaoke. Visitors may find Tong Choi St & Fa Yuen St interesting, as they are the few remaining street markets in the territories.
- Wan Chai (灣仔) is much more than a couple of blocks of girlie-bars populated by drunken American sailors; after all, the World of Suzie Wong was just a work of fiction set in Wan Chai during a bygone age. Located between Causeway Bay and Admiralty, Wanchai has an inner-city feel that makes it an interesting but safe area to walk around at any time. Wan Chai has traditional street markets that, unlike many other neighbourhoods, are still outdoors. In the so-called wet-markets, butchers hang animal carcasses on large hooks that overshadow pavements and fishmongers have stalls with live fish that do their best to escape. Between Johnston Road and Queen's Road East are numerous alleys that are worth exploring if you are looking for traditional family-run shops selling anything from tropical fish to cheap clothing.
- Central (中環), previously known as Victoria, this is 'downtown' Hong Kong and may be defined as the area within walking distance from Central MTR station. Head north towards the harbour and you will find modern buildings such as the IFC shopping mall. Alternatively, make your way uphill towards the mountain to see some of the oldest parts of Hong Kong.
Shopping Malls are everywhere in Hong Kong. Locally renowned ones are:
- IFC Mall  – Located near the Star Ferry and Outlying Islands Ferry Piers in Central. Has many luxury brand shops, an expensive cinema and superb views across the harbour from the rooftop. Can be reached directly from the Airport via the Airport Express and the Tung Chung line.
- Pacific Place  – A big shopping centre with mainly high-end brands, and has a wonderful cinema. Take the MTR to Admiralty.
- Festival Walk  – Another big shopping centre with a mix of expensive brands and smaller chains. There is also an ice skating rink there. Take the MTR East Rail to Kowloon Tong.
- Cityplaza  – A similarly large shopping centre with an ice-skating rink. To get there, take the MTR to Taikoo on the Island Line.
- Landmark – Many luxury brands have shops here: Gucci, Dior, Fendi, Vuitton, etc. Located at Central, Pedder Street. It used to be a magnet for the well-heeled but has since fallen behind in its management.
- APM  – All new 24hr Shopping centre in Kwun Tong. Take the MTR to the Kwun Tong station.
- Harbour City [Huge Shopping centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on Canton Road, to get there take the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui, or take the Star Ferry.
- Langham Place  – A huge 12 storey shopping mall adjacent to the the Langham Place Hotel in Mong Kok. Mainly contains trendy shops for youngsters. Take the MTR to the Mong Kong station and follow the appropriate exit directions.
- Elements  – Located next to Kowloon Station. Just like the IFC Mall, there are many luxury brand shops, a cinema and an ice rink. The International Commerce Centre, the highest commercial building in Hong Kong starting from 2009, is right on top of this shopping mall.
- Times Square  – A trendy multi storey Shopping Mall with some luxury brands, with food courts at the lower levels, and Gourmet dining at the upper stories. Take MTR to Causeway Bay, and exit at "Times Square". Crowded on weekends. A popular meeting point for teenagers.
- Citygate Outlet  – Located right next to Tung Chung MTR Station, the Citygate is a rare outlet mall with many mid-priced brands, some of them being Adidas, Esprit, Giordano, Levi's, Nike, Quiksilver and Timberland.
- Laforet, Island Beverly and Causeway Place. Best places to find cheap stylish clothes, Asian style. Mostly girls clothes, but also bags, shoes and accessories, highly recommended if you are looking for something different. Immensely popular with teenagers. These three shopping malls are all located near exit E, Causeway Bay MTR station.
- New Town Plaza, a 9 storey shopping mall covering 1,300,000 m² retail area in Shatin, New Territories. Diverse variety of shops, consisting of sports brands, luxury brand shops, cuisines from countries in different continents, sports, etc. can be found in the mall, which is estimated to be one of the malls with highest footfall. The mall is linked with a number of shopping centres nearby, including Phase 3 of New Town Plaza with a Japanese style Department store, YATA. 30 bus lanes are available for accessing the shopping mall. Taking the MTR East Rail to Shatin is another possible way.
Street markets are a phenomenon in Hong Kong, usually selling regular groceries, clothes, bags or some cheap electronic knockoffs.
- Ladies Market – don't be fooled by the name. It is for both sexes for finding cheap clothes, toys, knockoff and fake labels. Located in Mong Kok and accessible by MTR or bus.
- Temple Street – Sold items are the same as in the Ladies Market, but there are more street food vendors, a handful of fortune tellers and a few Chinese opera singers. Illustrated in hundreds of Cantonese films, this street is seen as a must by most tourists.
- Flower Market – Prince Edward. Follow your nose to the sweet scents of a hundred different varieties of flowers.
- Goldfish Market – A whole street full of shops selling small fish in plastic bags and accessories Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok.
- Bird Market – MTR Station Prince Edward, exit "Mong Kok Police Station". Walk down Prince Edward Road West until you reach Yuen Po Street "Bird Garden".
- Apliu Street – MTR Station Shum Shui Po, this is the place where you can find cheap computer goods, peripherals and accessories. However, this is the worst place to buy a mobile phone, as they tend to be even more dodgy than small stores in Mongkok.
- Stanley Market – A place for tourists rather than locals, shops sell everything from luxury luggage items to cheap brand name clothes. Accessible with the number 40 minibus from Causeway Bay. Also, no.6 and 6A bus from Central, and no. 973 bus from Tsim Sha Tsui.
- Textiles – Sham Shui Po MTR exit. Several square blocks around Nam Cheong St. (between Cheung Sha Wan Rd. and Lai Chi Kok Rd.) hold dozens and dozens of wholesalers to the textile trade. Although they are looking for big factory contracts, most shops are friendly and will sell you "sample-size" quantities of cloth, leather, haberdashery, tools, machinery and anything else you can think of to feed your creative impulses. Ki Lung Street has an outdoor street market selling smaller quantities of factory surplus cloth and supplies at astoundingly low prices. Haggling is not necessary.
What to Shop
- Antiques and Arts – Head for Hollywood Road and Loscar Road in Central. Here you will find a long street of shops with a wide selection of products that look like antiques. Some items are very good fakes, so make sure you know what you are buying. Try Star House near the Star Ferry pier in Tsim Sha Tsui for more expensive items.
- Books – Hong Kong houses a fair choice of English books, Japanese, French titles, and huge range of uncensored Chinese titles. Prices are usually higher than where they are imported from but it is your last hope to look for your books before heading to China. Try Swindon Books  on Lock Road in Tsim Sha Tsui and Page One  in Times Square (Causeway Bay) and Festival Walk (Kowloon Tong). Dymocks, an Australian bookshops, has eleven stores, including in IFC and the Princes Building. For French books, visit Librairie Parentheses on Wellington Street in Central and Japanese books are sold in Sogo Shopping Mall in Causeway bay. The biggest local bookshop chain is the Commercial Press and usually have a cheaper but limited English titles. For looking for Chinese books, local people's beloved bookshops are all along Sai Yeung Choi Street. Called Yee Lau Sue Den (Bookshop on second floor), they hided themselves in the upper floor of old buildings and offered an unbeatable discount on all books.
- Cameras – Reputable camera stores are located mainly in Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok but tourist traps do exist, especially in Tsim Sha Tsui. The basic rule is to avoid all the shops with flashing neon signs along Nathan Road and look for a shop with plenty of local, non-tourist, customers. Only use recommended shops, as shops such as those on Nathan Road are likely to disappear on your next visit to Hong Kong. For easy shopping, get an underground train to Mongkok and head to Sai Yeung Choi Street, where you might find some of the best deals. The Mong Kok Computer Centre and Galaxy Mall (Sing Jai) are always packed with local people. Several camera shops like Man-Sing and Yau-Sing are known for their impolite staff but have a reputation for selling at fair prices. In the 1990s and early 2000s, most shops didn't allow much bargaining, but this has changed since 2003 with the influx of tourists from mainland China. While it is hard to tell how much discount you should ask for, if a shop can give you more than 25–30% discount, local people tend to believe that it's too good to be true, unless it's a listed seasonal sale.
- Computers – The base price of computer equipment in Hong Kong is similar to those in other parts of the world, but there are substantial savings because there is no sales tax or VAT.
The Wanchai Computer Centre, Mongkok Computer Centre and Golden Computer Arcade on Sham Shui Po are all a few steps away from their corresponding MTR stations. Also electronic equipment is available at the large chain stores such as Broadway and Fortress which are located in the large malls. The major chain stores will accept credit cards, while smaller shops will often insist on cash or payment by ATM card.
- Computer Games and Gaming Hardware – If you are interested in buying a new Playstation, Nindendo DS and the like, the Oriental Shopping Centre, 188 Wan Chai Road, is the place to go. Here you will definitely find a real bargain. Prices can be up to 50% cheaper than in your home country. Be careful to compare prices first. There are also a few game shops in the Wanchai Computer Centre. The back corners in the upper levels usually offer the best prices. You might even be lucky and find English speaking staff here. However, be careful to make sure that the region code of the hardware is compatible with your home country's region code (Hong Kong's region code is NTSC-J, different from mainland China) or buy region code free hardware (like the Nintendo DS lite).
- Music and Film – HMV is a tourist-friendly store that sells a wide range of more expensive products. For real bargains you should find your way into the smaller shopping centres where you will find small independent retailers selling CDs and DVDs at very good prices. Some shops sell good quality second hand products. Try the Oriental Shopping Centre on Wanchai Road for a range of shops and a taste of shopping in a more down-market shopping centre. Alternatively, brave the warren of CD and DVD shops inside the Sino Centre on Nathan Road between Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei MTR stations. Hong Kong has two independent music stores. White Noise Records in Causeway Bay and Harbour Records in TST. Hong Kong's leading department store Lane Crawford has CD Bars in its IFC and Pacific Place stores and there's a good CD bar at Saffron Cafe on the Peak.
- Camping and sports – A good place to buy sportswear is close to Mong Kok MTR station. Try Fa Yuen Street with a lot of shops selling sports shoes. There are also many shops hidden anywhere except the ground floor for selling camping equipment. Prices are usually highly competitive.
- Fashion – Tsim Sha Tsui on Kowloon and Causeway Bay on the island are the most popular shopping destinations, though you can find malls all over the territory. In addition to all the major international brands, there are also several local Hong Kong brands such as Giordano, Bossini, G2000, Joyce and Shanghai Tang. The International Finance Centre in Central has a good selection of haute coutre labels for the filthy rich, while for cheap knock-offs, Temple Street in Mong Kok is the obvious destination, though prices are not as cheap as they used to be and these days, most locals head across the border to Shenzhen for cheaper bargains. There is also Citygate Outlets, an extremely large factory outlet mall containing most of the major foreign and local brands located near Tung Chung MTR station on Lantau Island.
Tourist going to Ladies Market or any markets nearby please be aware that there is basically no price tag on the items shown in the market. Most of the time, the price the merchant will quote you is double the price. Haggle with them and ask to reduce the price at least by 50%. In fact similar clothing items (lower price but fixed) can be found in brick and mortar shops nearby too(e.g Sai Yeung Choi street)
- Tea – Buying good chinese tea is like choosing a fine wine and there are many tea retailers that cater for the connoisseur who is prepared to pay high prices for some of China's best brews. To sample and learn about Chinese tea you might like to find the Tea Museum which is in Hong Kong Park in Central. Marks & Spencer caters for homesick Brits by supplying traditional strong English tea bags at a reasonable price.
- Watches and jewellery – Hong Kong people are avid watch buyers – how else can you show your wealth if you can't own a car and your home is hidden at the top of a tower-block? You will find a wide range of jewellery and watches for sale in all major shopping areas. If you are targeting elegant looking jewellery or watches try Chow Tai Fook, which can be expensive. Prices vary and you should always shop around and try and bargain on prices. When you are in Tsim Sha Tsui you will probably be offered a "copy watch" for sale. The major luxury brands have their own shops that will insure you are purchasing genuine items.