Saturday, 20 October 2012

Mainlanders Still Buying

Many years ago it used to be the Hong Kong dollar was much higher than the Renminbi (RMB).

But as China's economy powered ahead for 30 years, the RMB has surpassed the Hong Kong dollar, at HK$1.23 for 1 RMB.

Even though the mainland economy has softened this year, its currency is still so strong.

So while the mainland Chinese coming to Hong Kong to shop aren't as rabid and carefree with their newly-found wealth (depending on how they acquired it), they are still shopping up a storm here.

An interesting observation is the purchase of the iPhone 5.

Apparently the 32G phones are all sold out; that's because if mainlanders are buying an iPhone 5 for a friend, then they'll get the 16G, but if they are buying for their boss or someone senior in the company as a gift, they have to get the 64G one.

That just leave the 32G one for the local market and now there's a waiting list to get that particular iPhone because 64G is over the top.

Tracking their spending habits at name brands is also a clue.

Last night I walked down Canton Road and there were no lines at Louis Vuitton, but a lengthy one at Chanel and a relatively short one at Hermes.

The reason?

Louis Vuitton is so pedestrian now -- everyone has an LV bag -- so the next step up is Chanel, and then ultimately Hermes.

Watch and jewellery stores are complaining of slow sales too, but it seems mainland customers are more discerning about what they buy now instead of recklessly spending money like there's no tomorrow.

And then there are those who are just focused on buying everyday necessities such as shampoo, milk powder and cosmetics because they know it's not fake.

Will it ever end?

Not as long as the RMB continues to rise and we Hong Kongers become the poorer cousins who have the flash but no cash.

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