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

Bill passes to make Sept. 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation statutory holiday

Residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad and CRD Area F director Joan Sorley were in Ottawa for the vote

Wally Webber elected to fourth term as Nuxalk Chief Councilor

Webber took the win with 174 votes out of a total of 389

Bella Coola expected to be hottest spot in B.C. today

Temperatures are predicted to rise to 18 C

B.C. minister says rural internet is ‘railroad of the 21st century’

Jinny Sims talks details about the $50-million provincial and possible $750-million federal funds

IT’S OFFICIAL: Mt. Timothy sale complete

New owners looking toward year-round mountain resort facility

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Most Read