Where do you shop?

In particular, where do you go to buy TVs, cameras, computers, mobile phones, etc?

Our suggestions about this on batgung are around six years old. Then we wrote about visiting small stores to get a good deal, but these days I find I'm more likely to go to the big chain stores, especially if shopping with visitors.

I feel the difference in price between them has got much smaller - or maybe I've just got more cranky, and can't be bothered visiting lots of shops. So, cranky or rational - that's the question I hope you'll help answer.

Here's where I bought most recently:

  • TV: Finally got a flat-screen TV earlier this year. Saw a good offer at Broadway from our credit card, and bought there.
  • Camera: Last month bought a Panasonic compact. Not much variation from vendor's list price among the shops I checked, and not widely stocked. Annoyed to find that HK list price was 30%+ higher than US list, so bought a grey-market set in Wanchai computer centre at roughly US list.
  • Desktop PC: Had one built around 2 years ago in Wanchai Computer Centre. For what I do, this is more than fast enough, so it should be fine for a few more years. Then after it dies the next one will likely be an off-the-shelf brand like Dell.
  • Netbook: Bought one of the first Asus EEE almost two years ago when it first came out. Limited screen & storage, so will very likely buy a new netbook in the next couple of weeks.
  • Mobile phone: Bought a subsidised Sony Ericsson a couple of years ago at a Smartone shop. Nothing fancy. The rebates finished last month, so I might be tempted to get one with GPS support next year, to help pinpoint locations when I'm out wandering the hillsides.

How about you?

Regards, MrB



Hi MrB --

Before anything else, want to say a big thank you to you and Mr Tall for your ruminations on this site.  Have learnt so much from you guys.

Also, shopping is not something I do much -- especially compared to most people living in -- and visiting -- Hong Kong.  But just to get the ball rolling:-

TV: Finally got a flat-screen TV when I moved into my current abode around 1 1/2 years ago -- got it from a branch of Fortress near me.  Figured it was a pretty safe thing to do.

Camera: I too am a fan of Panasonics.  When I bought my most recent camera, walked about Mong Kok


Oops!  Posting screw up led to my posting way before I was ready to do so:-

Camera: ...did the usual thing of comparing prices, etc.  Eventually, got one from a Chung Yuen in Sai Yeung Choi Street.

Desktop PC: Don't have one.  (I have a Lenovo notebook instead -- and got that from elsewhere other than Hong Kong.)

Netbook: Don't have one.

Mobile phone: Also bought from outside of Hong Kong.

re: Shopping

Hi YTSL, Thanks for the kind words, and thanks too for your feedback on shopping.

Your camera-shopping in Mongkok is the only non-chain purchase. Did you just visit shops at random, or did you already have an idea of which are the 'real' camera shops?

Regards, MrB

Camera-shopping in Mongkok

Hi MrB --

Actually, Chung Yuen *is* a chain of stores:-



When I went camera-shopping, was told Mongkok would be a good place for electronics.  A friend suggested Man Shing (in Tung Choi Street) and Wing Shing, its sister shop on Sai Yeung Choi Street.  He also suggested I do a check on prices on the chain stores on that street -- and more than BTW, I found that different branches of the same chain had different prices.  (So it does pay to check around.)


And while this is off topic, I'm going to add that I do do quite a bit of shopping in Mongkok -- including for cargo pants (Fa Yuen Street market), sport shoes ("Sneaker Street") and hiking gear (the southern end of Fa Yuen Street and RC Outfitters on Argyle Street).

As one of the old hands

As one of the old hands on here, I was probably a commenter on the previous survey. Some of my buying habits have changed in the interim, some of which is due to better behaviour from the chain stores, some of which is due to me and the missus not wanting to be bothered with spending days chasing a 10 dollar saving.

TV: We bought a 46" Sharp Aquos for about HKD 14k six months ago from.. Sogo!  It's not the first place you'd ever think about for bargains, but they do have pretty regular sales where real brand name stuff goes for good prices.

Camera: While Man Shing in Mong Kok (and the associated shops in the area) are still the best and safest, Broadway seems to have the same prices for most of the most common gear.  (Fortress seems to delight in ignorant staff, so I avoid there.)

If you're looking at buying into a DSLR system, I'd still recommend Mong Kok and Man Ching (et al), as they'll have a better stock of additional lenses and can possibly do better deals with additional memory cards, cases, etc.  The staff will have more of a clue as well, which can help.

One thing that has not improved in the slightest is the experience of buying camera stuff in Tsim Sha Tsui:  I went looking for a second hand lens for my brother recently and my experience was pretty poor.  Not only was there very little choice in the reputable places (Matsuya and David Chan), the persistent aggravation of Copywatch salesmen and "SuitSir?" Indians has gotten even worse.

As always, know how much the full price is (check on bhphotovideo.com), and be prepared to just turn on your heel and walk away if the price is silly.  My experience with turning up to almost all HK camera shops in a Hawai'ian shirt, shorts and sandals is that almost nobody took the piss. (Learn numbers in Cantonese and say Yaomogaucho once or twice and you'll be fine.)

Desktop PC: I still build my own, although this is mainly to control exactly what goes into a PC, and not generally for economic reasons.  I've had some very bad experiences with Dell PCs at work which were impossible to upgrade thanks to non-standard power supplies and cables being too short.  I've been upgrading my PC since 1997, and this has involved new cases, motherboards, hard drives, powersupplies, etc. 

If you want to play recent games, I'd go with the computer builders in the computer centres, if you don't want to do it yourself.   You'll at least get a very standard and upgradable box where you can probably upgrade the graphics card in a few years.

Personally, I buy most of my hardware from the Golden Arcade in Sham Shui Po.  The savings aren't much over Wan Chai, so if I'm only buying one thing I'll go to Wanchai, but Sham Shui Po is better for the choice and prices.  (Plus they have a lot of unusual stuff, if you're looking for GPS dongles, Wii chargers, etc.)

If you don't want too much horsepower from a PC, I'd strongly suggest a decent laptop, and then a good keyboard/monitor/mouse home setup, so that you can plug your laptop in and get a big screen and nice keyboard at home.

Monitors: I picked up a 24" 2408WFP from Dell a while back.  They have lots of deals on their online store along with free delivery. (http://www1.ap.dell.com/hk/en/home/df.aspx?refid=df&s=dhs&cs=hkdhs1&~ck=mn)

Apple Stuff: Apple products (like Macs and MacBooks) is a fixed price in HK, so buying from the online HK Apple store (http://store.apple.com/us/selectStore?alias=hk) won't cost you extra, and there are occasional refurbished deals and there's an annual equivalent to the Black Friday sales sometime in Early December, which is excellent for Christmas Presents.

NetBook:  These things change so often it's just silly.  Probably the latest spec will always be from Golden Arcade in Sham Shui Po.  (First Floor, back corner.) Dell have some nice units, and they have very good online prices.  Also check the HP and ASUS websites before buying anything.

Mobile Phone: No clue:  my brother bought me a pair of  iPhones in San Francisco about six months after they came out and (after jailbreaking) they're still going strong. 

Re: GPS enabled smartphones

Hi there,

If GPS enabled smartphones are concerned, please pay attention to the data plan.  Most of these smartphones use A-GPS (Assisted GPS).  The phone would poll their respective A-GPS server within their carrier's network for information. 

This is actually a good trade off if you are in business or residencial areas with lots of tall buildings.  I had had sufficient 'drifting' experience with my two GPS loggers.......

Best Regards,



A friend of mine's just asked me about DSLR's, so this is what I advised.  I quite like Canon (not the IXUS point and shoot though), so the best thing is to go to their wonderful, magnificent showroom in TST (http://www.canon.com.hk/En/support/home/default.aspx) and have a good look around. Their sales people are EXTREMELY knowledgeable and you can use all their cameras, get them to try various bodies with different lenses etc.  You'll also get a good idea of the standard prices for everything.  I finally bought my camera in Wanchai computer centre as my professional photographer friend had a relationship with the Digital Concepts store there and I got a great discount and filters and stuff thrown in for the price.  Also I wanted the 18-200 lens and not the standard canon lens so I went for a Sigma.

Canon's after sales services is fantastic by the way.

TV, we just have a little one, stuck in the basement, but we went to Fortress for that (convenience, not a big price item, couldn't bother to haggle),

Cooker / oven we got at Wing On - like Sogo, they actually have quite a great showroom and the sales people are not half bad if you meet them halfway with their English and your chinese.  If you buy big ticket things you also get all sorts of discount vouchers and cash vouchers to buy stuff in their main store.

Phone from the CSL 1010 store with a call plan - customer service on d'aguilar street not too bad at ironing out all sorts of setting problems for internet access / email etc.

I'd definitely give TST a wide berth - they're real sharks there.  And do your research online FIRST, do all the product comparisons, decide what you want, don't be swayed by clever salesmen. Know your prices.  Build up a relationship in one particular store with a particular person and they'll go the extra mile for you, especially when you bring your friends and guests there later (esp. Wanchai computer centre).

shopping by visitor

Hi!  My travel companion recently bought a Canon camera at Chung Yuen in Tsing Yi.  It was slightly cheaper than what Fortress quoted down the hall.  But both were more expensive than what we could have gotten from Amazon back home in the US even with the accessories.  But that didn't matter at the time since we needed the camera there and then and the price was still reasonable anyway.

The thing that confuses me a bit is the exchange rate they used.  On the receipt the rate was 7.45 HK$/US$.  I thought the exchange rate officially ranged from 7.75 to 7.85 HK$/US$.  Any idea why this is?

Also, I found that some store clerks would speak in Cantonese really super fast.  It seemed to me they must have said something like, "HowdoyoudowelcometoourstorehowmayIhelpyou?"  Even my travel companion who is fluent in Cantonese couldn't catch what was said.  Smiling and nodding did not help any, it just encouraged the clerk to speak some more super fast!  Thankfully there was usually a clerk around who could speak English and I am at least able to ask, "Nay gong Ying-mun, ma?" since it wasn't quite obvious that I wasn't fluent...  :)

Shopping for cameras and other stuff

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Stanley Street.  Photo Scientific there has knowledgeable staff who will offer good advice and not rip you off, though you could probably save a few dollars elsewhere.  There are a couple of other good stores there as well.  Kowloon Photo Service in Woosung Street (near Temple Street market) is another good shop.

For 2nd-hand gear David Chan and the other shops in Champagne Court are the best bet, but you need to know what you're looking for.  If you buy lenses, always check them out for mould, which is a common curse in HK's climate.

One advantage of using the big chains like Broadway and Fortress is that they often have interest-free instalment offers if you use a specific credit card.

The ripoff tourist traps (mostly in TST and a few in Causeway Bay) are usually easy to recognise - lots of neon and no prices marked.

For computer gear, I recently bought a laptop from Mongkok Computer Centre.  Although there are quite a few computer malls, they differ - some have more hardware, some more software.  298 Hennesy Road is good for accessories and peripherals.  Windsor House has higher prices.

For mobile phones, there's an entire mall in Mongkok dedicated to them (plus a few porno stores).  It also has some repair shops, which may be helpful if you want to keep your older model working (the usual response at the official service centres is "old model; you buy new one").

Whatever you're buying, it's good practice to arm yourself with information first, and have an expert accompany you if possible.

The last big purchase I made

The last big purchase I made was an HTC smartphone running on Android. It was just released in October and Broadway is selling it for $3,000, but I wandered around Sin Tat Plaza in Mongkok and found somebody selling it second-hand for $1,700. This was in December, so it was only two months old -- second-hand, maybe, but hardly used. So far, no problems.

Before that, I bought a Canon 450D camera at Wing Shing Camera in Mongkok for $5,200, including lens, tripod, memory card, etc. At the time, the big chain stores were selling the same kit for nearly $6,000, which was a ridiculous price. I also found a small shop selling the camera for $5,000, but they weren't willing to include any extras (except the lens) and the sales staff was rude and impatient.