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

Prescribed burn set for Baynes Lake area

Planned ecosystem restoration burn to cover roughly 602 hectares over the next two weeks

Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap’s second annual Happy Camper Day Thursday

Every pint purchased April 25 goes towards sending kids to summer camp

Community choirs preparing for Mountain Voices tour

Three local choirs set for three performances in Crowsnest Pass, Fernie and Cranbrook

New lights shine on local stage

Upgrades at Studio Stage Door theatre illuminate a new era for Cranbrook Community Theatre

Cranbrook hockey player heads to U15 provincial tournament

Owen Johnson is one of two Cranbrook hockey players attending the annual event

VIDEO: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by footage allegedly from B.C. pig farm, SPCA says

PETA released video Wednesday showing dead and injured piglets next to nursing piglets

Hugs & Slugs

Slugs: Huge Slugs to the rude, abusive elderly couple at the Superstore… Continue reading

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Horgan heckled as gas prices sit at record high, could go up more

Premier John Horgan blames refiners, not taxes

SPCA investigating after newborn kittens found in Vancouver dumpster

The kittens were found suffering from hypothermia and dehydration

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Many teens don’t know they’re vaping nicotine, Health Canada finds

Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey finds youth unaware of nicotine product risk

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Most Read