Pexels

UBC professor examines consumer conflict between Hong Kong and China

UBC professor Annamma Joy teaches in Kelowna

A UBC Okanagan professor is weighing in on the conflict between Hong Kong and China consumers.

UBC Professor Annamma Joy teaches at the Okanagan campus in the Faculty of Management. Her expertise is in brand culture and experiences, consumer behaviour, luxury brands and wine marketing, according to a UBCO news release.

Last May, she received an award for best paper from the Louis Vuitton Singapore Management University conference for her most recent research examining the relationship between people who live in Hong Kong and the visitors from the People’s Republic of China who come only to shop.

When Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997, it opened consumer opportunities that the residents of China had never previously accessed. Now, tensions continue to escalate, as those who live there feel invaded by those who shop there, the release said.

Can you explain why Hong Kong residents cling to their unique identity and why that identity is connected with luxury consumerism?

Many people from Hong Kong will say “I’m from Hong Kong, not the mainland,” and they are proud of Hong Kong’s ties to Britain. Their currency is also tied to the American dollar, not the Chinese Yuan, which is worth less than a Hong Kong dollar.

Further, Hong Kong enjoyed a post-colonial market society compared to mainland China’s communist one. The mainland has high taxes and high import duties while Hong Kong does not.

The numbers are staggering—Hong Kong’s population is 7.4 million. Yet more than 47 million people have travelled from China in one year to shop there. Can you explain what’s going on?

Because Hong Kong has strict rules when it comes to product authentication and consumers can be assured they are purchasing true luxury items. Shoppers from the mainland come over in droves to mass shop, spending thousands of dollars and often buying many multiples of the same luxury product.

What does the term ‘mainlandization’ (a refusal to assimilate to the mainland) signify for those who live in Hong Kong?

People in Hong Kong feel invaded by the mainlanders and actually resent them coming to Hong Kong to purchase luxury items. Locals feel betrayed and helpless, adding to the resentment. They want nothing to do with people who live in the mainland and do not seem themselves as purely Chinese.

Why are those who live in Hong Kong turning away from the luxury brands that have been part of their lifestyle for so long?

Many say they will no longer purchase the luxury brands the people from the mainland are flocking to Hong Kong to buy. Others will not shop where the people from the mainland are shopping. They say the stores only cater to the mainlanders and they feel ‘occupied’ and taken over. One shopper didn’t want to be seen carrying the same high-end brand as someone from the mainland. They also refuse to stand in line in the shopping districts that have been flooded by the mainland visitors

Is this a phenomenon that is taking place anywhere else in the world, or unique to Hong Kong and China?

Mainlanders have travelled in large numbers to the luxury brand capitals of the world such as Paris, London, Milan and New York to purchase luxury goods. The only pushback they receive is in terms of how many items of a particular category they purchase. In general, European stores have welcomed these shoppers and now many of these luxury brand companies have opened multiple stores in China. What has happened in Hong Kong is rather particular to the region.

Joy’s research, funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant, was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Culture, and by Routledge in a book titled Chinese Urbanism: Critical Perspectives, by Mark Jayne.


edit@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Input sought from Cache Creek businesses on Downtown Vision plan

Attracting and retaining employees and businesses are priorities

Community Futures gets more funding to continue business support program

Programs such as Business Ambassadors help small businesses, not-for-profits, and First Nations

Make Children First’s CareFairs are going out with a bang

Folllowing changes to funding, upcoming CareFairs in the region will be the last ones ever held

Support available for those looking after loved ones with dementia

Despite the growing number of people with dementia, a stigma still surrounds it

Million Dollar Bursary program is back, but only until end of month

There’s still time for qualifying students to apply for this year’s bursaries

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

B.C. child killer denied mandatory outings from psychiatric hospital

The B.C. Review Board decision kept things status quo for Allan Schoenborn

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

Most Read