Factory outlets are shops that claim to sell famous brand names at a fraction of the cost; some are real and some are not. Branded outlets offer ends-of-lines or previous-seasons items, wmhile some outlets have factory rejects, others are fakes so shop with care but you can find nice things if you hunt around. Good for bargain hunting, but as always watch out for cheats.
Although Granville Road, particularly between Kimberley and Cameron roads, is famous for the factory outlets they are actually spread all over Hong Kong and some of the best are to be found in nondescript commercial buildings in Causeway Bay, and other parts of Kowloon than TST.
In Causeway Bay try the Hang Lung Center — downstairs on the left, as you face the lift lobby there are expensive boutiques like DKNY, but upstairs the Factory Outlets rule! This is a favourite place for rich Japanese ladies to come to do their shopping; you will even see signs on shop doors in Japanese.
If you are in Central on Hong Kong side then check out The Lanes. Previously there were outlets upstairs in is Pedder Building in Central, but these have all been priced-out by the increasing rents. The building is still good though to see Shanghai Tang on the lower floor. Upstairs you’ll find Abercrombie & Fitch which took over the space of the very fancy “China Tee Club”.
On the south side of Hong Kong the Horizon Plaza, located in Ap Lei Chau, has some furniture and clothing factory outlets including the “Joyce Warehouse” that sells remaindered items from the famous and very expensive Joyce Boutique.
The Tourist Board publishes a brochure you can pick up called Factory Outlets for Locally Made Fashion and Jewelry, but of course, these are the larger ones that advertise and not the best prices
If you want actual wholesale outlets, where you can buy in bulk for big discounts, then what you need it the Cheung Sha Wan Road fashion shops. Although these look like boutiques at first they are actually more showrooms for factories and are really the place to buy bulk to stock your own shop! Some of them will sell retail but for the most part, they are catering to people who are buying 10 or 50 units of an item for their own stock.
Want to know more about the outlet shopping options in Hong Kong? Then read on.
Shopping for brands in factory outlets is a trend that has taken many countries by storm and Hong Kong is no exception. With the shopper’s paradise on the bucket list for fashionistas around the globe, you’ll expect no less than a world-class outlet shopping experience here.
In this guide, you’ll found broken down everything you need to know whether you are an experienced shopper or someone new to the world of brand outlets, or simply want to know where to get started quickly in Hong Kong to get the best deals.
- Types of Outlet
- Who Are You?
- Where To Go
Types of Outlet
The term Outlet shopping has been around long enough to have been used and misused in a number of ways. The Hong Kong outlets fall into a few different categories, each with their own appeal but catering to different needs. Before setting off on your next outlet shopping expedition make sure you’re clear what you are after.
- Individual brand outlets
Big brands like Prada and Nike use outlets to get rid of excess stock of unpopular lines or simply previous season’s goods that they want to get out of the way in time for the new season. Typically located in out of the way districts these stores are run by the particular brand in question, stock only their goods, and have a fast connection to the main store in town whereby old stock is shifted rapidly to the outlet as the main stores restock with new things.
Prada has their outlet store in Horizon Plaza while Nike has one in Granville Road.
As these stores are owned by the brand they are sure to have genuine quality goods, but the discounts won’t be particularly substantial unless the items are really undesirable. On the plus side, the staff will be knowledgeable about the brand and can guide you to that little something that fits you perfectly. They won’t hesitate to tell you when you need to go to the main stores to get what you need as well.
Branded outlet stores, Prada is a good example, can also be Pseudo outlets, but we will talk about that more in a moment.
- Outlet Malls
Outlets are so popular that malls have built up that dedicate all or a major part to outlets. Horizon Plaza was one of the first and grew into that bit by bit but now there are dedicated outlet malls such as the new Florentia Village in Kwai Hing along with Citygate in Tung Chung, near the airport.
Outlet malls generally have more than just brand outlets though, even in Hong Kong there are not enough brands to fill entire malls, but when you add in the department stores outlets such as that of Lane Crawford or I.T or other large-scale boutiques then you see a lot more choices. The number of brands available from one outlet mall can be much higher than the number of shops when a boutique could carry 10s of brands in one shop.
- Districts with outlets
While clearly, a district can’t be an outlet, there are areas of Hong Kong which have become strongly associated with outlets. From Granville Road to Cheung Sha Wan Road these areas are filled with smaller shops, many of which are factory outlets rather than brands. When there is a mall in such a district it tends to become the anchor point and the main place worth visiting. But in areas without malls, it can be most rewarding to stroll down roads which typically have cafes, other types of shops and various things to see as well. Great for a window shopping afternoon when you might not actually be buying anything in particular.
- Factory outlets
Literally, a factory outlet is a retail shop owned by a factory, where they sell things made in that factory which, for whatever reason, were not used by whoever ordered them. To understand this you have to remember that most brands don’t own their own factories, but rather large-scale industrial factories manufacture things to the specification of brands. This is true as much of Apple, who outsource the manufacturing of the iPhone to the FoxCon factory in Taiwan, as it is of fashion brands. But in the case of clothing and accessories, there is a lot less talk about this so it isn’t always obvious. When a brand orders a thousand of something from a factory they provide material for that thousand, plus a little margin to allow for errors. If the factory is careful they, therefore, have too much material and can make more than a thousand, say 1,050 are made. The thousand goes to the brand to satisfy the contract, and the 50 are extra. Some of these may end up in factory outlets, alongside ones which failed the quality control inspections and have some sort of defects. The overruns often have no label inside, while the defect items have a label but it has been “cut” to show it isn’t an authorised piece.
When Hong Kong was an industrial centre from the 50’s through into the early 80’s factories often sold these excess items. Often in Granville Road and in Cheung Sha Wan Road both on Kowloon, which was extremely popular with those shoppers looking for famous designs at a bargain.
As manufacturing moved out of Hong Kong, it is mostly in mainland China these days, factory outlet shops have continued to sell their products, but these days there are a lot less, some say none, of major brands. Factories are still, of course, turning out all sorts of the latest styles, and excess items do go to the outlets. You can order items from these shops as well, as they now often do focus on the wholesale market.
Today you visit Cheung Sha Wan Road mostly to browse the wholesale shops and look out for ones that also do some retail. Signs in each shop clearly say if they are wholesale only, or if they have some small but reasonable minimum like at-least-ten of something. Due to the large discounts for even small bulk orders, it sometimes turns out cheaper to buy 10 of something than two of them which can create some strange buying choices!
- Pseudo outlets
There are quite a few “outlets” which are not actually what you might think they are. There are two problems with the term outlet. The first is that many shops selling cheaper goods just put the word “outlet” onto their shop front considering it a synonym for “cheap”, or maybe they don’t even really consider that and simply note that people want outlets so they are going to call themselves that.
The second issue is that some brands have become so aware of the demand for lower cost versions of their products that they are specifically making things that go directly to their brand outlet without ever first appearing in the main stores. The may be simpler designs or the same designs made with fewer details or cheaper fabrics, but they are not the original even though they are sold from the brand outlet stores. Prada is said to do this and will label things on the accessories and garments with a label that literally says “Prada outlet”. As long as you are aware what you are getting that is fine, but if you are not familiar with this practice then you should check when selecting things!
Who Are You?
Why do you want to visit a factory outlet? There could be a number of different reasons and depending on who you are you might want to choose a different location. Read on for different suggestions depending on whether you are a window shopper, a discount hunter, or are a shopper in a hurry.
Want to see lots of great products but don’t really expect to buy anything? In that case, money is no object, and sizes mean nothing!
You’ll want to see a wide range of high fashion items, and don’t care too much if you could either afford or fit into what is on the racks. The Horizon Plaza on Ap Lei Chau would be a great fit for you if you are staying on Hong Kong island. Located more northerly on Kowloon in TST or New Territories then the new Florentia Village in Kwai Hing would be more your place to visit.
Want cheap more than branded? Then your best bet is the wholesale shops in Cheung Sha Wan Road. They can be a bit frustrating when the exact thing you want is from a “wholesale only” shop. But keep looking and there is a good chance you’ll find the same style in another shop down the line where you can buy one or two pieces. Great prices the main attraction here though the large range and the latest styles are important as well. You’ll find more street fashion, casual and leisure wear as well as something you’d wear to the office. Nothing here approaches high fashion though and while you might find a few sparkly dresses for an evening event you shouldn’t expect to see any couture brands.
If you know what you are expecting though and are prepared to walk along the very long road, don’t worry it isn’t the entire distance of Cheung Shau Wan Rd, then you’ll find a lot of steals here.
How to get there? The MTR is the easiest way, and great there is a Cheung Sha Wan MTR station but that is actually not the best way to get there as it lets you out on a northerly part of this very long road, well away from the fashion shops. Instead, head to the Sham Shui Po MTR station, and when you arrive using Exit C1 which puts you on the road near the middle of the wholesale fashion shops.
While you are there check out the side streets of Fuk Wa and Pei Ho Street which have some amazing funky choices as well.
In a Hurry
Want to get a bit of the outlet experience in a hurry, maybe a short trip to HK or simply not much time in your schedule? Then you’ll probably want to hit one of the major shopping areas which give you a range of different choices, some more like outlets than others, but still with some great options.
Causeway Bay is one of the most important shopping districts in Hong Kong and while it isn’t an outlet centre there are certainly some great discount fashion shopping to be done.
- Causeway Bay Plaza
- Hang Lung Centre
- Island Beverly
These three buildings and the streets around them and north of the Sogo Department store have a great range of boutiques. Upstairs in the Hang Lung Centre, in what are supposed to be office units, are a range of discount fashion and accessories outlets. You can’t tell what you are going to get until you start to browse the floors. Take the office lifts up and be surprised!
Where To Go
Want to see a full list of all the possible places to go in Hong Kong for outlet shopping? Read on to see your choices and let me know in the comments for any things that need to be updated.
If you have plenty of time then go to one of the areas that are packed full of fashion shopping, each one has a different style and a different ratio of boutiques to outlets to factory wholesale shops.
- Kwun Tong Factory Outlets – This ex-industrial area now houses a range of stores, with a focus on sportswear. Go here if you want to visit the Nike Outlet, see the Adidas Outlet store or Initial Outlet. They are all based in or around Camel Paint Building, a huge industrial complex which is a few minutes walk from exit B2 of the Kwun Tong MTR station.
- Cheung Sha Wan Road – As mentioned above CSW is a great choice for low-end fashions from wholesalers who are showing things directly made by factories just over the border. If you are looking to buy a 10 each of 10 styles to stock up a boutique then this is the place to come and browse. When just shopping for yourself it is less attractive but you’ll probably walk off with a few things like t-shirts and scarves if nothing else.
- Granville Road – Hong Kong Factory outlets made this road famous with ends of lines and clearance items from factories who were manufacturing for the export market. It made it one of the few places were larger styles were available in Hong Kong. That isn’t true any more as local Hongkongers have grown physically, and shops like The Gap now provide sizes for all nationalities. Still, the road has its attractions and is a mix of funky HK styles, international brands and Korean fashion influences. Mixed in with some great nearby eating choices it is a great place to visit, but you may well walk away empty handed.
- Chatham Road South – Really an extension of the Granville Road area.
- Spring Garden Lane – Right next to the “toy street” this location in Wan Chai on Hong Kong island is one of the few choices for discount fashion shops on the island. You won’t’ find bigger brands here but Bossini, Crocs and other famous but not high-end fashion companies have had outlets here at various times. Then the turnover is very fast so you will have to explore and see what is available on any one day.
- Causeway Bay – This fashionable shopping area has had outlets come and go over the years, and currently you’ll find an I.T Outlet store in the basement of Island Beverly, and a range of small shops upstairs in the office block of Hang Lung Centre.
Dedicated malls catering to the demand for outlet shopping are the trend and while some have been around for years their number is growing. The first ones were not really malls as such but simply units in cheap buildings, often industrial or warehouse units, where the greater floor space at a cheaper rent meant profits even after discounting items so much. But today arcades are being created specifically for outlet shopping and these, of course, are a lot better integrated and generally cleaner, nice and simpler to navigate.
- Horizon Plaza for branded fashion and interior decorating and furniture
- Camel Paint Building for sportswear is one of the oldest industrial buildings
- Kaiser Estate in HHung Hom has outlets for Adidas, Reebok and similar
- Citygate Outlets is a long way from town but has a lot of space to offer many choices. You’ll find all the big named brands here with discounts for items that are one or two seasons old. As the items start out as high-end premium products they are still pricey after discounts which tend to be in the 10% to 20% range.
- China Hong Kong City has a range of outlets and is close enough to the city to be not particularly cheap
- Florentia Village in Kwai Hing
- Esprit Factory Outlet Stores – Esprite has several outlet stores, the easiest to reach is the one in China Hong Kong city, but you’ll also find one in Mongkok, North Point and TST.
- Adidas Factory Outlet Stores – The Adidas outlet store in Kwun Tong is in Camel Paint building. Find it at Shop B2. The shop itself is very small and gets crowded at weekends.
- Nike Factory Outlet Stores – Also in Camel Paint, this is in Block 1 and has a range of older, discontinued or out of season items. The prices here are lower than list price, but may not be lower than the discounted price you’ll find in places like Sneaker Street. You’ll find clothing and accessories here as well at small discounts.
- Levi’s Factory Outlets – The original jeans company operates two outlets in HK. One in Citygate near the airport, and the other much easier to reach at China Hong Kong city. With a good range of products and prices “up to” 70% off you’re sure to find a bargain here.
- Shanghai Tang Outlets – Shanghai Tang has only a single outlet in HK and that is in China Hong Kong City.
- Prada and Miu Miu Factory Outlet Stores – Located on Ap Lei Chau near the MTR, and not near the other outlets in Horizon Plaza, the Prada and Miu Miu Factory outlet, also called “Spaces” offers both ends of lines and out of season items, and also the lower quality items from their Prada Outlet link. So while great deals may be had make sure you are getting what you intended. You’ll also find a new Prada Outlet at the new Florentia Village in Kwai Hing. The new shop is smaller and less busy, but both stores suffer from having a very random range of sizes available so you may not be able to get what you want. Shoes and clothes are the main products here with fewer bags or leather goods.
- Kate Spade Hong Kong Factory Outlet – Located in Citygate.
A Bit Of Everything – Department Outlet Stores
Want to see the outlet version of a department store? You’ll find these also in Hong Kong. When the department stores stock up on brand name goods, but then need to move them when the seasons change they will send them to these department outlet stores.
- I.T Factory Outlet Stores
- Dickson Warehouse
- ISA Outlet Hong Kong
- Lane Crawford Outlet
Hong Kong Jewellery Factory Outlet
There used to be an “outlet mall” specifically for Hong Kong made Jewellery, it was on the corner of Jade Street but the project only lasted a few years and then shut down. Today if you want to see jewellery shops side by side then you’ll find them in a lot of districts of Hong Kong. The area around Jade street is, of course, good for Jade and you’ll find similar styles there as well.
Check out the The Jade Plaza at 513-531 Canton Rd, Jordan. With the Jade association of Hong Kong having their offices in the floors above it is no surprise that the shop spaces should be mostly selling various types of jade.