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.
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.
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.