Friday, May 20, 2011


I already have my own Nikon P500 which I bought in Singapore, but my friend asked me to buy in Hongkong.

I was apprehensive in buying in Hongkong because of nasty stories we hear. But since I was given the chance to go around, I did.

In Singapore, there was a choice of going to the reliable Funan Digimall and to the less reliable Lucky Plaza. Others mentioned Sim Lim, but I guess they weren't too happy about the place either!

First, there wasn't much hassle in Funan Digimall because it is okay to ask about the product and its price and not be worried about being hounded by the salespersons. The six-floor building is also easy to go around in, thus, easy to compare prices and whatever freebies, they wanted to give including camera bag and an 8 GB memory card. 
Some stores would add an extra % if you use the credit card, so we paid in cash. Foreign exchange in Funan was fair.
In Singapore, they also give a 7% discount for tourists which will be refunded at the airport.
Somehow, the price of the camera seems cheaper than in Hongkong.

For computer products and the like, check out places in the lower floors which has an additional S$100.00 voucher which can be redeemed in Challenger, the 24 hour computer store at the sixth floor. For Challenger itself, the price is quite high for cameras, but they have a membership thing, where they might give better deals to members...

first floor of Funan Digimall...
inside Funan Digimall...
Second, Lucky Plaza is another place to go but I warn you of this place! Especially, the first store on the left as you enter the place! The white-haired guy would hound you into buying something you were not looking for. Can you imagine, he quoted me a product worth S$180 in another store (no haggles yet and S$140 after discount) as US$400 but since he will give me a 50% discount + another 15% discount and since I still didn't buy it (thanks to my hubby who didn't give in and anyway, it was not what we were looking for!), he offered more discounts and ended with S$200.00, which is still more expensive than in the other store!
When I asked about the Nikon P500, he gave me a really low price, BUT, he didn't have the stock. He offered other "better" cameras, which I also don't know anything about!
Another impression I got from some stores in Lucky Plaza is: after all the haggling over one product, they will give you another same product but of less quality like an unknown brand compared to a more credible brand...

Never, never buy in Lucky Plaza unless you really know the prices and the specs of the electronic products you are looking for. I have nothing against the place personally, but the vibes I got while shopping weren't good... and I ended up really wondering if I got a good deal or not!
Actually, we went to Lucky Plaza for the foreign exchange since they gave good deals in that area. I heard lots of Filipinos go to this place for shopping...

in the store which I really didn't this time, I didn't realize this yet!
maybe better to shop for clothes here rather than electronic stuff!
I have equivocal feelings about this place...
In HongKong, the price range also varies. 

First, the ones in the big malls like Fortress and Broadway (all over HongKong) marks up the camera higher than the Singapore prices but are said to be more reliable in service and the like. 
In Tsim I-square, the cheapest price I canvassed was in Chung Yuen which amounted to HK$ 3600 (compared to HK 3680 or HK$ 3760 in Fortress and Broadway), but they will also give the camera bag, the 8GB memory card, a tripod (forgot to ask what kind), screen saver and maybe, if I asked for it, a voucher from Mannings, their sister company. Had I been given the choice again, I think this was a good deal! 
My friend bought a Panasonic LX5 and got a screen protector, camera bag, an 8GB memory stick and a HK$ 50 voucher from Mannings.
The place is also more reliable.

Second, the ones in Wanchai Computer Center quotes you a cheaper price, can have discounts and doesn't force you to buy BUT you also need to be wise about the prices already. The place is like Greenhills in Manila. I heard good reviews about the center from Pinoy Exchange and so I thought, I should try this place out. Aside from that, I couldn't go back to Tsim anymore for this same trip.
Different stores quoted me HK$2600 (galit pa!), HK$2700, etc.
~~For the store that quoted me HK$2600, he informed me later that the camera he had, only had a Hongkong warranty and not an International warranty! If I wanted the International warranty thing, it would cost HK3180! That's the catch!!! (Whew!) And I thought, shopping would be easy!
~~The other store would say, they had a shop warranty for that price and another HK$200 to 500 would be added for the international service warranty = = and the camera would amount to around HK$3000 to 3200! and that is without any bag, SDHC card or anything else...just out of the box!
~~And later, I found out that the camera manual is in Chinese while that in the mall had a manual in Chinese and English!
~~And the bag costs HK$ 350 while the SDHC card cost HK$ 135 to 880 (depending on the brand and if made in Japan!) and the screen saver costs HK$ 50 to 100. 
HOW MUCH WOULD THIS AMOUNT TO? Would it be so close to the price of the ones in the big malls anyway! Think about this...
Good things you can get in Wanchai Computer Center are the computer and camera accessories such as extra batteries, SD cards and memory sticks and all other battery packs, etc. These you couldn't get at the mall...
For the accessories like Iphone  and Ipod covers, I think they are way cheaper in Mongkok and with a lot more unique choices!
one of the accessory shops in Wanchai...
Third, never go to the stores in Nathan Road (according to Pinoy Exchange), although, I don't have any experience with this. I guess I listened to their advice.

So what I learned were:
1.   Canvass all around...if you have the luxury of time! If you don't have time, go to the mall.
2.   If it is too good to be true, find out the catch.
             Example is the HongKong or shop warranty vs. an international warranty OR Chinese camera manual only vs. both English and Chinese camera manuals 
3.   If you know the different canvassed prices, add things up.  The so-called freebies in the mall might turn out cheaper than an additional camera bag + an SDHC card + screensaver.
4.   Best to have researched on the product you really want to buy since the sales persons always want to sell something else, especially it they don't have the product you like! 
       Research means knowing product specifications and comparison with similar products of other brands. Sales persons tell you only things that they know about, which are not necessarily completely correct. 
5.   Assess well if you can ask the sales person about the product and prices without getting forced into products. In malls, you could usually ask about products and prices with ease and you could do that in Wanchai Computer Center also, but I warned them beforehand, "asking only!"

I had a weird experience about canvassing in the mall. I asked the same store for the same product twice (which I didn't recognize as the same and though, the guy looked familiar)...done on different days...and the guy told me, HK$ 3680 as I told you yesterday!... I was caught aback and didn't know what to say, so I just smiled! He, then said, "I remember your camera." Mmmm...doesn't pay to be distinct, huh! (hehehe)

Well, I am not a super expert in shopping in fact, these insights are from one who is a first time shopper in Singapore comparing to my first time shopping in Hongkong!  Those who frequent Hongkong eventually find their "suki" = a store they can trust to give them the best deals, and how lucky they can be!

Good luck to first time shoppers!!!


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