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Queuing at Chanel, Louis Vuitton

Queuing at a Chanel shop along Canton Road

I was invited by AirPhil Express to join them in their maiden flight from Cebu to Hong Kong and stayed for almost a week to explore, photograph and get to know more about this beautiful place south of the Chinese mainland. Hong Kong has always been identified as a shopping mecca. Name it, from big name brands to indies, from real to bootleg. Shopping in Hong Kong is it for anything that you want be it clothes or electronics.

Passing by the House of Dior

For Filipinos, Hong Kong is always cheap, better priced than those found in the country that’s why, especially for photographers, there’s always a reference to how much cameras and stuff are being sold in Hong Kong. And for many Pinoys, shopping for cheap stuff is always a good excuse to fly out to this Chinese enclave.

But while walking around Canton Road, after window shopping in Harbour City, yeah, just looking at what’s available after a good browse of titles at Page One, I wasn’t just prepared to see a queue for branded items outside two of the brand name stores and I don’t know what to think or how to react.

All I can think of was to smile and look bewildered and take photos. These guys have money to burn and I haven’t seen such eagerness to buy designer stuff.

Lining up outside Louis Vuitton, Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Other brand name shops in Canton Road. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Come to think of it, designer brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton with items worth several thousands of dollars and these stores have a queue.

But the clients are not ordinary Hong Kongers but those from the mainland’s nouveau riche, said to be often derided by the former, who have been snapping up not only consumer goods and branded clothing but buildings and properties with the highest priced real estate paid by a mainland Chinese.

And as for these designer brands, it is quite interesting to note that these Chinese from mainland China are one of the most avid consumers of luxury goods in the world with around 80% of the buyers aged 40 and below compared with 30% from the United States and 19% from Japan.

Within four years, China is expected to be the biggest consumer market in the world, surpassing Japan and do expect plenty more queues whenever one is in Hong Kong. All these as status symbols of new wealth.

This trip was made possible by AirPhil Express. Like their Facebook page to keep updated of promos and cheap fares.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I’m open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

9 Comments

  1. edmaration
    August 16, 2011 @ 0:20

    => China has evolved a lot! While the Philippines devolved. just kiddin’

  2. gayE @ pinaytraveljunkie
    August 16, 2011 @ 10:09

    I have only seen Pinoys queuing for flip flops… But this, this is insane!

  3. estan
    August 16, 2011 @ 10:10

    @ed, grabe ang rise talaga ng china di ba?

  4. estan
    August 16, 2011 @ 10:10

    @gaye, o nga e, as in, nabigla talaga ako 🙂

  5. edmaration
    August 17, 2011 @ 14:30

    @estan. yes, super impressive ang performance nila.. Minsan sa tingin ko may good benefits din ang isang bansang diktador… kasi walang sagabal sa mga plano nila para sa bansa, yan ay kung ang plano ay maganda, sa pinas, nothing applies.. hehehe..

    @gaye PTJ. Actually mas grabe pa jan… Some days from the past Pinoys are queuing for “bigas” hehee..

  6. Marky
    September 1, 2011 @ 16:55

    Also saw this when I went there, even posted a photo on my fb wall about the people lining outside a Cartier store. Some people just have all the money, they’d lined up just to spend it all in an overpriced piece of watch and leather bag. I wonder if some of them are shoplifters lol.

  7. » Tranquil noon at Yuen Po’s Bird Street | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    September 5, 2011 @ 14:18

    […] A line of supply stores. Bird Street in Yuen Po, Mongkok is famous for the songbird owners who congregate in this strip to meet other owners, buy supplies and other songbird species. It is a beautiful but small park with moon gates, airy and the sound of chirping and singing birds make this place tranquil, a far contrast at Canton Road where mainlanders line up at high end boutiques. […]

  8. Sidney
    October 14, 2011 @ 15:12

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4912575310/

    That is in Rome…

    It is quite normal for this kind of stores… it is in part of a marketing trick. They only let a small amount of people in their stores.

  9. vivienne westwoods
    November 5, 2011 @ 16:04

    Vivienne Westwood is an amazing woman that always manages to look unique ever since ditching the teaching day job and becoming part of a duo that changed British history with their punky outlook.

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