Buying a camera in Hong Kong – Don’t! (Part 1)

Buying camera in Hong Kong (if you live in Guangzhou like me) just isn’t worth the trouble. I noticed this last week when I was trying to buy a DSLR camera there and got fooled twice! Luckily I didn’t lose any money and it was almost fun to see what kind of tactics the sellers use.

This is the first post of a miniseries that will have three posts in total. First we will take a look at the prices in Hong Kong and find out why there’s no need to rush to travel just to buy camera in Hong Kong. Then in the following two posts I will tell you two examples how they try to sell you a camera that you don’t want.

Part 1: Prices

I have heard so many times that cameras and other electronics are cheaper in Hong Kong than in Mainland China. But Hong Kong camera prices aren’t always the lowest, you should do some comparison first.

For example I just bought a Canon 1100d in Guangzhou from Gome at 3748RMB. That’s 413 euros and 4519HKD. But in Hong Kong at Fortress the same camera is 4980HKD which is 461HKD more expensive than in Guangzhou. In this case Gome is the best option because in Guangzhou at Suning the same camera set is 3949RMB, 4760HKD.

Or maybe you have little bit more money and want to buy Canon 550d. It’s 6446RMB at Gome (7771HKD) and 6680HKD at Broadway and at Fortress. There’s a camera you should buy in Hong Kong if you happen to be there. It’s 1091HKD cheaper in Hong Kong. Again you shouldn’t go to Suning in the Mainland because there the same set is 6849RMB, 8257HKD.

Conclusion

This is only a small comparison and maybe a weak one. But I would advice everyone to compare prices first and then decide where to buy.

Also notice that if you find a cheap camera in Hong Kong (like Canon 550d), but you live in Guangzhou, it’s possible not saving to travel over there for shopping. Hong Kong is quite expensive and if you plus the train tickets, possible metro tickets and a lunch perhaps, the camera will soon be the same price than in Guangzhou.

What about the cheaper stores?

You might ask why to go to the big stores like Fortress in Hong Kong. Why not try the smaller ones along Nathan Road like in the photo above. Later this week I will tell you two stories from that kind of shops and after reading them you will surely avoid them too.

Click here to read part 2 and find out how the scams happen!

  • Actually you can find cheaper even in guangzhou. Gome (and sunning) are more expensive but it’s safer to buy there as you will get a real invoice and real guaranty.
    But i use to buy my cameras (DC, video…) in Da Sha Tou (大沙头). There are ton of small shops selling all kind of cameras there.
    For the same product, they will give you 2 prices : the version from china (more expensive but the guaranty will work all over china. For ex, if you buy a canon DC, you can repair or change it anywhere in china in a Canon shop.
    The other “version” comes from HK. It’s what they called the grey market. It’s exactly the same product but it was brought from HK (illegaly), so it’s cheaper. And it will be only guaranty in the shop you buy it.
    I bought all my stuff in this way, and even if i admit it’s a bit risky, i never had any problem with them.

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    Thank you Mike for bringing this up!

    I bought my computer from one of these cheaper electronic markets (unfortunately forgot the name). It’s second hand and have worked well. I thought about buying my camera from there too, but after wasting a day in Hong Kong I decided to take it safe and headed to Gome.

    I didn’t know about the double prices. Is this something you have to know or do they openly tell you the difference between the products and prices?

    [Reply]

  • Justin

    Now that you got yourself a nice SLR, may we expect more pictures on the blog (and maybe more photo posts?)

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    That’s my goal Justin and I have been studying a lot about photography these two days. Especially I’ve found this blog very useful: http://www.digital-photography-school.com.

    If you or someone else have any requests or wishes about what kind of photo posts to publish, please tell me. I’m open to all kind of ideas!

    [Reply]

  • Sometimes they will talk about the “double prices” by themselves. Sometimes i just need to ask “how much for the HK version”.
    The “funniest” part for me, it’s when you want to buy a battery. You also have a choice : the real one or the fake one. And they don’t hide it, they talk freely about it. They even show you both version so you can compare by yourself. The fake ones are usually twice less expensive, but i will never take the risk to buy one.
    So for a battery or SDcard, always ask for the real version.

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    Important information, thank you again Mike! You should even do a guest post for me about your camera shop experience.

    [Reply]

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  • contrary

    The same camera in UK with cashback offer from Canon is currently HKD 3515!! In one retail outlet Curry’s you can get the camera with both 18-55mm/75-300mm Canon lenses for HKD 4688, HK and Guangzhou have been inflated/rip off prices for several years now

    [Reply]

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