University student Jessy Xi and her mother made a last-minute shopping trip to the Citygate Outlets mall in Tung Chung, Lantau, before boarding the plane to fly back to Shanghai last week.
During their five-day trip to Hong Kong, they bought an iPad Air, cosmetics and skin care products costing more than HK$40,000, or 70 per cent of their total expenses.
At the end of their trip, they went on a treasure hunt at Citygate Outlets, which sells more than 90 international brands including Burberry, Coach, Levi's, Polo, Nike and Adidas at year-round discounts of 30 to 70 per cent.
"We heard that it is the only factory outlet complex in Hong Kong. But things are not really that cheap and choices are also limited," said Xi, who also visited Disneyland on Lantau during her stay in the city.
Still, she and her mother spent about HK$4,000 for a half-price Coach handbag.
Elizabeth Kok, a retail portfolio director at Swire Properties, which has a stake in the mall, said two-thirds of shoppers at the outlets were local residents and office workers, while the remainder were tourists, 75 per cent of whom came from the mainland.
The other partners of the mall are Sun Hung Kai Properties, New World Development, Henderson Land Development and Hang Lung Properties.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced last month the government would reclaim 1,000 hectares of land to build an East Lantau Metropolis on an artificial island, while also expanding the Tung Chung new town to accommodate an extra 53,000 flats and a commercial hub.
Following the success of Citygate Outlets, the same consortium won the tender for a 107,920 square foot commercial site in March last year.
Close to Citygate Outlets, the site will provide about 460,000 sq ft of retail space, with the project scheduled for completion in 2017.
Newfoundworld Investment, a joint venture formed by the five developers, has not disclosed details of the planned retail mix, but market observers said the new site was most likely to be an extension of the factory outlet concept.
Newfoundworld said the design was "progressing well" and it was confident it would "provide another attraction for both Hong Kong residents and tourists".
"We hope the strategy for the development of Tung Chung will include new and unique facilities to widen the range of attractions for visitors and Hong Kong residents rather than simply duplicating existing facilities," the company said.
Citygate Outlets appealed to a broad range of shoppers, it said, and the extension of Tung Chung new town and an enhanced transport network would attract more visitors.
"More retail facilities would see me stay longer next time," Xi said.