Aussie Dollars to Spend on Hong Kong Electronic Goodies
April 27, 2011 11:51 PM   Subscribe

I"m an Aussie enjoying a high exchange rate and visiting Hong Kong in a few weeks. What electronic goodies should I be purchasing, and any suggestions on how to go about it?

So the Aussie dollar is high against the greenback at the moment, and I'm off to Hong Kong in a couple of weeks.

I currently own a reasonable desktop computer, an iPhone 3 and a 10 year old fat arse television.

Is this the time to get a laptop, iPhone 4, iPad, games/media console or some other goodie?

Any advice on where and how to buy would also be welcome.
posted by jjderooy to Shopping (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Seems like you would probably want to go to Shenzhen rather than Hong Kong, although I hear that Shenzhen mostly caters to people that are doing exactly what you are. In other words, watch out for cheap electronics, as they are cheap for a reason. An iPhone is going to cost the same pretty much everywhere. An iPhone knockoff might be cheaper.
posted by jrockway at 12:46 AM on April 28, 2011

Just be aware that domestic electronics in Australia have dramatically fallen in price over recent years, and (-7% in just the last three months according to treasury!), so Hong Kong and Asia in general is no longer significantly cheaper than Aus unless you really know where to shop/shop around. I speak from experience, sadly. Hong Kong was not the paradise for electronics I was expecting.

This said, two massive exceptions to this are small electronics like USB keys, SD cards etc - I found them much cheaper in HK - and computer games of all descriptions. But things like laptops, phones, cameras etc where in the main almost the same as Aus when I was there; sometimes a little cheaper, sometimes a little more expensive but not majorly different.

If you want to get a sense of prices, a good place to look online is It's fills the niche that shopbot or static ice does over here. You'll want to use google translate.

Good luck!
posted by smoke at 2:38 AM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Let's talk Apple!

The iPhone 4 is $4988 ($AU 590) in Hong Kong and $875 in Australia. The iPad is also cheaper, and the iPad 2 was scheduled to be released today. The laptops don't seem to be worth considering; by the time you bought an Aussie power supply, you'd barely come out ahead.

(Don't forget, you only get $900 duty free on things like electronics.)

Be sure to check the warranty on any product you're considering will be honoured in Australia. I've read that Apple Stores will fix phones bought overseas but may not necessarily replace them.

There's currently no Apple Store in Hong Kong, so you'd have to find a store that sells genuine products. You could also buy from the Apple HK website and have the products delivered to your hotel.

One last thing: the iPhone 5 is believed to be coming out in September, and at that time, you should be able to buy a secondhand iPhone 4 on eBay Australia for less than the HK price. (Currently, the 3gs goes for about $350.) So that may be another option for you. I don't mean to dissuade you, because I have bought electronics in HK in the past and had no problems, but I tend to think it's not worth the potential hassle these days unless you're getting a terrific bargain.

I might be tempted by something like this, though.
posted by Georgina at 3:55 AM on April 28, 2011

How's your Cantonese?

If you're looking to browse, you can try Sham Shui Po in Kowloon. Last time I was there I had some luck at the Golden Computer Mall, and there are tons of electronics on Apliu Street. Good luck!
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 6:44 AM on April 28, 2011

Apliu Street: for extremely well-priced small electronics, power adaptors, binoculars, telescopes, iphone cases, etc. If you're a bit of a DIYer, lots of small shops on the side of the street sell LEDs, circuit boards, soldering material, etc. If you're looking for name brand stuff, this isn't the place - much of the cheapness stems from the no-name factor. To get there: take the Tsuen Wan line on the MTR to Sham Shui Po, Exit A2, Kowloon.

Golden Shopping Arcade: for USB sticks, name-brand computers, peripherals, RAM, hard drives, etc. Upper floor is dedicated to gaming, lower floors for hardware. Also located at Sham Shui Po. If you're looking for Apple stuff, look for a phone company (like One2Free or 3) advertising it, or a store with the No Fakes sticker on the front (being a government regulated program, you've got at least a lesser chance of ending up with a fake).

Wan Chai Computer Centre: located pretty much on top of Wan Chai Station, the Hong Kong version of the Kowloon Golden Arcade. I generally prefer the Golden Arcade, but if you're on the Hong Kong side it'll be closer.

Fortress and Broadway: big corporate box stores for electronics. Located pretty much everywhere and in every major mall - prices tend to be higher but filled with name brands.

Bit of a warning: barring the Apliu Street flea market, if the products in any small electronics shop (especially along Nathan Road) you're in don't have clearly marked prices, leave - those tend to be tourist traps. Don't be afraid to ask to open the box first to check the contents before you hand over your money - a reputable seller will often bring the product out to you, open up the box themselves and demonstrate that it's new and unused. Cash is also wins over plastic here: if you suspect someone's scamming you, it's easier to get a few bits of paper back rather than your card number - you can ask your hotel where the closest reputable bank for money exchange is. Also, there is no such thing as 'returns' - corporate chains may allow exchanges up to a week or two, but returns are generally not allowed.

If you've not been to Hong Kong before, I suggest downloading an MTR map/app onto your iPhone to help with navigation - the MTR corporation makes a free one, though it's unwieldy and has a largish database. Have fun shopping!
posted by zennish at 7:16 AM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yes, the little Aussie bleeder has made a full recovery, and I am working through my list of 'wants' while the going is good.

It sounds like you don't have a burning need/desire for anything in particular. I have always felt buying something just because it was cheap was a waste of money - I buy what I want/need, and if it is not on the notional list, the money stays in my pocket. Boring I know, but there you go.
posted by GeeEmm at 4:03 PM on April 28, 2011

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