Hong Kong is known for its shopping and for being a hip and fun place – yet it’s still surprising just how mant diverse and awesome online shopping choices there are in the city.
There’s a funky mix of Hong Kong-based tech startups and fashion labels that are doing interesting things with ecommerce. Many of them not only sell in Hong Kong but have also expanded across the region. Plus, this list will also look into some big-bucks ecommerce companies that are accessible to clothes shoppers in the territory.
This online fashion boutique features a growing array of emerging designers and brands – over 60 of them. About 10 of those are from Hong Kong, but the couture selection is from around the world. Featuring womenswear, menswear, and the now obligatory ‘lookbook’ section, this startup is a great blend of startup ecommerce and upstart fashion designers.
The Hong Kong-based site can be changed to Chinese, English, or French, and supports payment with one of nine currencies.
Also based in Hong Kong, ZAOZAO is described by its founders as a travel-inspired ecommerce site selling curated bags, jewelry, and accessories by emerging designers across Asia.
The site launched in September 2012 in a different form as a fashion crowdfunding platform. It then changed direction in March this year. (Update: This entry was changed to reflect the new focus of the store.)
Another online marketplace for items from up-and-coming local fashion designers is PopWeUp. It has affordable collections of womenswear, bags, accessories, and iPad cases from 50 designers.
The Hong-based site holds occasional workshops for anyone in the city who wants to learn how to make something from a local fashion label.
The PopWeUp store supports payments in Hong Kong dollars, Chinese RMB, and US dollars.
MyDress is a more accessible and affordable fashion estore created in Hong Kong. Along with outerwear, it has lingerie, bags, accessories, and skincare products. The clothing is from cheaper local fashion brands, competing with stylish options from major stores like H&M and Zara.
This online store runs in English or Chinese and supports payments and shipping for customers in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and mainland China.
Fashionable clothing often calls for a hip handbag, but those things can be insanely expensive. The idea behind LuxTNT is that you can rent couture bags – from brands like Chanel, Alexander McQueen, and Jason Wu (the Taiwanese fashion designer famous for being a favorite of Michelle Obama) – for a period of three, seven, or thirty days. Of course, you’ll have to leave a hefty deposit, which is returnable later. (Update: Added emphasis that you get the deposit back.)
The bags are delivered to your door, and a free pickup is done by a courier as well. This runs only in Hong Kong.
Kids get to join the fun with Baobae, an online store for indie designers of childrenswear. The Hong Kong-based startup also stocks cute gifts and gift hampers that you could give to friends who have just had a baby.
The site supports Chinese and English, and will ship to mainland China and Taiwan as well as to Hong Kongers. Global delivery is available only if you’re willing to spend a lot more.
Let’s move on to Hong Kong fashion designers who have their own estores. Aftermath is run by Costa Rica-born, HK-based designer Nina Ricardo. It stocks her range of vintage-inspired summer dresses and accessories that all have a nice 1950’s vibe.
As with many indie labels these days, Aftermath appears in pop-up stores around the world and also sells from this online shopfront.
The excellently named What The Frock is another online store and label that focuses on dresses created by the label. Some outfits are priced in a range that puts them up against retail favorites such as H&M and TopShop.
The Hong Kong-based site offers free shipping worldwide.
Stores like Uniqlo are making some neat T-shirts with all kinds of crazy graphics, but some people might fancy the personal touch. That’s where Snaptee app comes in.
The Hong Kong-based startup has seen over 700,000 designs submitted since it launched officially last August. It now has creative customers from over 50 countries. Snaptee’s apps were recently updated with support for the Thai and Indonesian languages and the service aims to grow its regional user-base.
Let’s take a brief detour from cool clothing to look at a site that also covers fashionable home design and accessories. The Fab-like BuyMeDesign was started up in Hong Kong as an online marketplace for Asian interior and product designers. Most of the items on BuyMeDesign are for the home, but there are also a handful of ranges of women’s handbags, plus men’s and kids’ clothing.
Aside from expanding on the web and shipping globally, this startup aims to launch a flagship street store as well.
Now that we’ve picked through a great selection of smaller sites and niche designers, let’s look at the big-name sites with lots of fashion choices. Zalora – which covers menswear, womenswear, as well as muslim attire in some countries – is a threat to nearly every startup ecommerce site in the region.
Zalora, with a huge war-chest of funding from its Rocket Internet parents, operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, and Vietnam. In Australia and New Zealand it’s known as The Iconic.
Zalora stocks clothing from a huge array of well-known mid-range brands, like Mango, River Island, and Levi’s. The company is working on an online marketplace that should launch some time this summer. That will enable a wider array of brands and smaller merchants to set up shop on the site.
ASOS is a very close rival to Zalora across Southeast Asia and Australia. As well as plenty of affordable and mid-range brand menswear and womenswear, ASOS already has a marketplace up and running. That consumer-to-consumer marketplace has a mix of new, pre-owned and vintage clothing.
ASOS is based in London, but has numerous country-specific sites and offers worldwide shipping for free.
Singapore-based Reebonz has Zalora-esque regional ambitions, and features a dedicated Hong Kong site. The estore focuses on higher-end and couture labels, so you’ll need to have a thicker (Hermes) wallet to afford most of the items. But Reebonz specializes in private flash sales, so the prices should be lower than you’ll find them in most department stores.
Reebonz has both menswear and womenswear.
Here’s a curve-ball: the massive Chinese marketplace site Taobao. The site – a household name across mainland China – came out with a special version for Hong Kong in May last year as the Alibaba-owned store slowly expands into neighboring Chinese-speaking markets.
Taobao doesn’t yet have an English version for Hong Kong – or, more surprisingly, for Singapore – but it’s likely in development. Taobao already has 1.4 million registered users in Hong Kong.
The Taobao Hong Kong site is a slimmed-down version of the main China site, with a special focus on clothing, shoes, skincare products, home furnishings, and car-related accessories.
There are plenty more options out there, from High Street retailers on the web to other niche, startup stores and indie fashion labels. It’s all a question of taste.