Make it in Hong Kong and you might just break into China. This unofficial business plan has served international fashion brands well for the last decade, as well as Hong Kong’s retail and real estate businesses.
But in a shift that could prove seismic for the city’s fashion industry, brands with little to no presence in Greater China are increasingly bypassing Hong Kong and making Shanghai or Beijing their first port of call.
As a city that European and American brands identify with easily in terms of culture, language and shopping habits, Hong Kong has long benefited from its reputation as a China-light launch pad.
Causeway Bay and the malls of Central and Tsim Sha Tsui are packed with smaller labels that have little to no presence on the mainland but are hoping Hong Kong might be their gateway to China’s shopping classes.