Why are Chinese mainlanders shopping in Hong Kong?

18 août 15
According to a survey published in 2014, 84.2% visitors to Hong Kong come from mainland China, which represent one third of total retail sales in HK. On the one hand, they have brought an optimistic impact by boosting the economy in HK, while on the other hand the disorder caused by the huge flow of mainland shoppers have discontented the fellow citizens.

According to a survey published in 2014, 84.2% visitors to Hong Kong come from mainland China, which represent one third of total retail sales in HK. On the one hand, they have brought an optimistic impact by boosting the economy in HK, while on the other hand the disorder caused by the huge flow of mainland shoppers have discontented the fellow citizens.

During our study trip in HK in this May, there is a phenomenon that has aroused our attention: No matter where we were, whether in a downtown-based department store or in a corner-around pharmacy, we could always find the silhouette of shoppers from mainland China. They are coming with a shopping list mostly among which we could find: foodstuff, cosmetics, and digital devices...

People may wonder: Is it worthwhile for those mainland visitors to take a flight’s journey just to make purchases in HK? It may not sound that insane after we look into the reality and unveil the facts.

First of all, Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, where taxation policy and exchange rate are favored compared to that of mainland. With Hong Kong dollars, we could enjoy a more reasonable price of around 20% less. Moreover, Hong Kong has all advantages in terms of trade and commerce: it’s a free-tax zone for most of the goods except alcohol and tobacco; it’s an island located in the southern coast of China with an easy access. This results in the fact that some latest or exclusive models of items are only available in HK rather than anywhere else in mainland China.

Secondly, HK provides an offer of goods which are more trusted by consumers in terms of quality and genuineness. After the scandal of Sanlu milk powder occurred in China in 2008, mainlanders lost their trust in home-made milk powder and rushed to Hong Kong for purchasing baby formula of foreign brands. The demand for baby formula was at a time so strong that once there wasn’t enough supply: shelves were all empty.

As a result, the sales volume of retail sector in HK have recognized a sharp increase thanks to mainland shoppers. However, with more and more visitors flowing into Hong Kong to make a purchase, it has also brought about worries for the local market: long queues outside the boutiques, the existence of parallel trading, the out-of-stock situation, chaos in public service areas…Faced with this, concerned authorities have made impulsive regulations such as limiting the purchase of baby formula to 2 tins, replacing certain multi-entry visas to HK by one visit a week, etc. But more importantly, purchasing behavior is expected to be improved to build a healthy purchasing environment in this southern Chinese shopping paradise Hong Kong.