Gifting culture in Hong Kong

Holiday seasons are coming and all people in Hong Kong are busy clearing all the work before the holidays, planning for Christmas or New Year trip, or having headache figuring out the gift to give to their loved ones.

Gifting is one of the most beautiful things in Chinese culture. In Hong Kong, a place known as the shopping paradise, gifting is often hooked closely to the pop culture and trends. The gifts are usually “trendy”, or ones that make you look trendy without heavy emphasis on usefulness.



The most popular choice of gifts is small leather goods or accessories from luxury labels. It could be a wallet, bracelet, necklace, ring, or even just key chain, as long as they are from a big brand. To the hipster Hong Kongers, those accessories wouldn’t cost them a fortune yet good enough to maintain their face.

The lack of consideration on usefulness means that people would receive gifts that they like, but not something they might necessarily use immediately.
Gifts that are more domestic and intangible are less popular in the city. It would be rare to see one give a friend a vacuum cleaner for Christmas, even though the friend really needs one. Intangible gifts that create experience (dining, holidays, films, concerts) are less popular.

With many international luxury brands invading Hong Kong’s shopping malls, it’s hard for the citizens to avoid their eyeballs filled with the logos. But perhaps, we should really appreciate the disappearing small boutiques where you can find quality goods, or focus on the practical usage of the gift from a receiver’s perspective.

I’m not here to discourage anyone to give your friends something nice from a classic luxury label, but we all should look at whether it provides value to the receiver, be it durability, practicability or symbolic value.

In the end, nobody likes to receive a nice-looking junk that takes up space at home. There isn’t much space in Hong Kong anyway.

10 Comments on Gifting culture in Hong Kong

  1. marshavasana
    December 11, 2013 at 6:09 pm (2 years ago)

    haha almost feels like that is GIFTWELL shouting in there

    • Jin Wong
      December 11, 2013 at 6:09 pm (2 years ago)

      Well I have to say Giftwell is a pretty good idea itself 😉

  2. May Partridge
    December 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm (2 years ago)

    Nice take on shopping thoughfully!

  3. May Partridge
    December 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm (2 years ago)

    Followup to my comment: apparently I can’t spell early in the morning! I meant to type “thoughtfully.”

  4. Sean UptonMcLaughlin (@SeanUM_China)
    December 12, 2013 at 4:37 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks for the interesting article. I’ve previously experienced (and written about) gift giving in Mainland China, but have never had the opportunity to experience how it is in Hong Kong. Would you say there is a noticeable difference?

    • meaghan
      December 12, 2013 at 12:05 pm (2 years ago)

      It depends on whether you’re dealing with expats or locals. My expat friends and I never give expensive gifts to each other. (We’re all broke anyhoo) I do bring homemade treats for the office staff and a special bottle of wine for my boss. I got enough tins of butter cookies to sink a ship last year. It’s a traditional thing to give here.

  5. MR.Wang
    December 21, 2013 at 8:43 am (2 years ago)

    does hong kong have boxing day sales?

    • Jin Wong
      December 21, 2013 at 8:50 am (2 years ago)

      Yes. Not as common as in the west.

  6. Get The Deal Now in HK
    January 16, 2014 at 1:46 am (2 years ago)

    There is a new website now available in Hong Kong:, go check it out!

    It is about last minute deals in HK on food, groceries, shopping, drinks, bars, restaurants… Get The Deal Now helps local Hong Kong businesses to sell their unsold stocks by offering last minute deals to nearby clients. Instead of selling to people vouchers that can be redeemed during a 4, 5 or 6-month period of time – and sometimes even more -, Get The Deal Now offers instant vouchers. Buyers must redeem them within the same day or the same week, depending on the deal. This is a new concept, and it is now available in Hong-Kong.

    Go have a look at, it is worth the visit! Thanks for sharing =)

  7. Miss Curator
    January 17, 2014 at 2:09 pm (2 years ago)

    I think it’s the spending culture of metropolitan cities as well – see something that LOOKS interesting but is completely useless to yourself? Buy it for your friends… so that you can at least own it for a couple of days :)


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