Hong Kong named Asia's best shopping city

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 October, 2012, 3:34am

All those mainland visitors obviously know the best place to spend their money - Hong Kong has been named No 1 shopping city in the region.

It takes top slot for its large number of shops of interest, international brand diversity and long sales season of 22 weeks a year, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister company of The Economist.

Kuala Lumpur came second followed by Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore. But Hong Kong scores poorly in affordability because of its high hotel rates.

Sweden-based shopping tourism company Global Blue sponsored the study, which ranked 25 cities based on five categories: shops, affordability, convenience, hotels and transport, and culture and climate.

Hong Kong comes second for convenience and local culture, meaning there are a lot more things to do on top of shopping. But the city's strengths come at a price - it is more expensive to stay here than in Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Shanghai or Taipei.

Although Hong Kong has a reasonable number of high-quality hotels, its average occupancy rate of over 80 per cent makes it the third-hardest city to get a room. An average four-star hotel room costs nearly €200 (HK$2,000) a night, the second highest in the index.

Although residents are unhappy about small shops being replaced by chain stores, the Economist Intelligence Unit's senior analyst of custom research, Sumana Rajarethnam, said Hong Kong had done relatively well in maintaining diversity in the shopping scene.

"Hong Kong has both bargain hunts and the priciest luxury items," he said.

It is the first time Global Blue has compiled an Asian shopping index. London topped a European list last year, followed by Madrid, Barcelona and Paris.

Shopping is increasingly important as a part of tourism, especially for Chinese travellers. In the first nine months this year, they spent 63 per cent more year-on-year, with total shopping receipts reaching €2 billion globally.