Find my Amazon in Hong kong!
May 7, 2007 4:55 PM   Subscribe

In summary: please recommend an online shop based in Hong Kong!

My mother is in Hong Kong and has offered to bring back some electronic goodies for me.

Unfortunately I don't want to subject her to the famed hard-nosed salesman tactics of electronic boutiques, so I'd rather buy online and have it sent to her in Hong Kong.

So can you please recommend a reputable online shop that sells electronic goods in English, and can send the goods to her to bring home for me?

Many thanks!
posted by electriccynic to Shopping (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What kind of electronic goods are you looking for? I have never been able to find any online shops here in Hong Kong, but I might be able to point you and your mother toward shops without hard-nosed salespeople.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 5:15 PM on May 7, 2007

Shenzhen-ren chipping in: they are hard nosed but knowledge is power. If you can send her in with details of what things should cost, you'll get that price. The best deals on the internet for the same piece of equipment [wholesale + a little markup] should correspond to what she'll find in an Asian electronics boutiques.
posted by trinarian at 7:35 PM on May 7, 2007

... and just to clarify further, name brand things really don't come with the massive, massive discounts some people think you'd find in HK and China. You can buy a knock-off PDA cellphone for $50 but you get what you pay for. A nice Motorola PDA is still going to cost you several hundred USD. Where the fun comes in is getting a bunch of accessories [memory cards, cases, tripods, etc] for next to nothing in the package to. You wouldn't find that on the faux Amazon site.

Try for good reviews and comments with people saying how much they bought things for. It's how I priced my cellphone before going in to haggle for it.

I can also price one or two things here in Shenzhen for you. Contrary to conventional wisdom, prices for legitimate brand electronics are about equal on both sides of the fence. My email is in the profile.
posted by trinarian at 7:48 PM on May 7, 2007

Agreeing with triniarian. Also FYI most electronics over there are sold AS-IS, as well as possibly grey market items (which won't come with any warranty in the US).

Do NOT go to shenzhen for electronics items at all, not even memory cards. Expect everything there to be fake.
posted by mphuie at 11:00 PM on May 7, 2007

Dude, come on. What's with the universal Shenzhen hate? We're a proud people and our high-end electronics are exactly the same as in Hong Kong. Even an ounce of common sense we'll spot the Sonya Riccson not-even-close knockoff vs. the real thing. Despite my own initial worries to the contrary, every major purchase I've made in Hua Qian Bei [the living, breathing Ebay of Shenzhen] has been real and works great. Yeah, the memory cards might be fake brands, but who cares if they work? What do you expect when you buy 2 gigs for $10? You don't think HK boutiques buy these cards in bulk too?

I had a small issue installing a Hitachi HDD I bought and when I called US customer support the serial matched the model perfectly. All someone had to do to fake that one is put a sticky label of any 'ole HDD.

It's one thing to clone a Sean Paul shirt or a DVD and it's cover, it's another to replicate a working PDA or digital SLR. My experience electronics shopping in both HK and Shenzhen is that they're both buyer-beware markets, but knowing what you want before you shop and a handful of common sense will protect you.

/derail protecting my turf
posted by trinarian at 11:23 PM on May 7, 2007

Trinarianand mphule are right about everything above. If you know how much something should cost in Hong Kong or Shenzhen, you will easily get it for that price. And Hong Kong prices aren't much lower than elsewhere. For instance, I bought a digital camera (Panasonic Lumix LX2) a couple of weeks ago here. Got it for a bit under US $350, after much price research. Going price in the US is about $400. Mine is gray market, without warranty. (Supposedly, comes with a one-year "shop warranty", but I wouldn't put much faith in that.) You very well might do better buying your electronics at home.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 12:34 AM on May 8, 2007

Response by poster: Home is the UK... and at the moment, US$2=£1. Which is quite a bargain when you're used to dealing with British pounds.

However, I don't really want to have to ask my electronics-blind mother to walk into the lion's den of even a reputable electronics shop and ask for a Canon A570IS or whatever. Never mind going to Shenzen - she's not going anywhere near mainland China for personal reasons...

So, any other options? :)
posted by electriccynic at 1:48 AM on May 8, 2007

I just don't think it's as bad as you think. Local old ladies shop in HK too. A few stores might throw an outrageous sum out at first, but if she's armed with a general idea of what it should cost she'll be fine.

It becomes a lions den when you start trying to get it a big ticket item down to the last few percentage points.... when you insist on spending only $100 for something that typically costs $105. You can get that extra $5 but you'll have to fight for it. If she were to fight it, passivity goes the farthest. Simply thank them for their time and walk away.

Really man, just send her in with reasonable prices. The lower they are the more she'll have to haggle, so keep that in mind. Try to package things, buying many products from the same store.

Make sure you'll actually get a good deal. Yeah, the extrange rate is good... but that's meaningless if a $780 HKD camera goes for £50, ya know? CNET is your friend. It's all the same. Like mphuie said, most [all] of it is "grey" market and the warrenty mightn't go far across the globe.

For instance, a Panasonic FZ50 retails at about 5200rmb here in Shenzhen and retails in the UK for £349 [CNet UK]. Not a giant difference, really. Just food for thought. The difference, really, is that you *can* haggle here and cut down profit margins, which seems like what you're trying to avoid.

To answer your question more directly, I don't think there is an electronic marketplace. I've Googled it before and just Googled it again. HK isn't a big place and it doesn't make a lot of sense starting a business to ship goods retail 20km away.

Last option. Have her have a local friend do the dirty work for you. Most of my Chinese friends beg to come with me to haggle. It seems pretty standard social ettique around here to help the visitor out when shopping.
posted by trinarian at 7:41 AM on May 8, 2007

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