Ask Hung Huang: Making Sense of Hong Kong’s Retail Slowdown

    This week, expert columnist Hung Huang weighs in on what the future holds for Hong Kong's ailing retail market as mainland tourists stay away.
    Jing Daily
    Hung HuangAuthor
      Published   in Retail
    Hong Kong's luxury market has been in a major slump as mainland tourists stay away. (Shutterstock)
    Hong Kong's luxury market has been in a major slump as mainland tourists stay away. (Shutterstock)
    Hung Huang. (Courtesy Photo)
    Hung Huang. (Courtesy Photo)

    In the wake of a mainland Chinese visitor slump, things have been looking grim for Hong Kong’s retail market. Sales were the worst they’ve been in 17 years in February, with a drop of 20.6 percent. Mainland tourist numbers picked up over the May Day holiday, but retailers in Hong Kong’s key shopping areas said it didn't make much difference for sales.

    In order to get an insider perspective on what the future holds for Hong Kong’s retail market, we asked readers to submit questions on the topic to Hung Huang for her Q&A column.

    For next week’s topic, we welcome readers to submit their questions about recent regulations to curb China’s daigou sales, including tougher customs inspections and a higher personal import tax on luxury goods. Submit your question via Twitter (hashtag #AskHungHuang), Facebook, email (, or Weibo (hashtag #AskHungHuang#).

    Do you think the luxury market will recover in Hong Kong? Or is it a market correction?#

    -Rebeca Guzman Vidal (#



    I was just in Hong Kong; it's a fun place to be for mainlanders, I still saw a lot of people from the mainland shopping there. The luxury market is a different story; I think the younger consumers are just not so into it. Maybe they are sick and tired of luxury—it’s the stamp of their parents' generation, it's not them. So if the luxury market is down, I would definitely say it is a market adjustment rather than temporary lull.

    I have a company that develops biometrics solutions for retail. We want to get into Asia markets. Our first solution is a face recognition technology for retail. My question is: do you think Hong Kong can be a better place to start than mainland China?#

    -Dora Gutierrez#

    If you have a good facial recognition technology, mainland China is a better place to find business customers than Hong Kong. There will be quite a few retail groups who are interested in this technology; instant sign-up is already a very popular theme among Chinese retailers.

    Hung Huang can be reached at

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