December 3, 2023


A Passion for Better Health

Growing appeal of mainland items and life style reverses stream of HK surrogate browsing, amid Bay place integration

Travellers exit the Luohu Port in Shenzhen for Hong Kong on February 12, 2023. Photograph: IC

The surrogate browsing business or “daigou” involving the Hong Kong Exclusive Administrative Region (HKSAR) and South China’s Guangdong Province is creating a comeback. But this time, there looks to be a reverse in the trend. Shenzhen’s nimble residents have uncovered a new business enterprise chance. 

“Delivery of Yidiandian milk tea back to Hong Kong. Confront to encounter handover at Kowloon Tong Station.” The 1-sentence put up on the Chinese way of living-sharing social media system Minimal Purple E book experienced, in much less than a day, garnered additional than 5,000 interactions. 

Choi Wun-lam, a 27-year-previous Hong Kong woman who will work in Shenzhen, was one particular of those who noticed the put up, indicating she has witnessed how the phrase “reverse daigou” has come to be a buzzword on the social media platforms and it “felt like a new globe has opened up.”

Given that the mainland-Hong Kong border entirely reopened on February 6, there have been increasingly exchanges in between the two cities. Having said that, significantly from the professional shopper business in Hong Kong actively patronized by mainland customers in the earlier, now, some portion-time or even skilled consumers in Shenzhen have begun ferrying items in the other route. They commenced shuttling items concerning the two cities, on noticing folks in Hong Kong had a eager curiosity for very affordable and high-high-quality food and day by day requirements from the mainland, conceiving the plan of not wanting to “return empty-handed” after a vacation.

Suitable practitioners and industry experts contacted by the Global Periods famous that the reputation of “reverse daigou” is a reflection of the accelerated integration of the mainland and HKSAR, and a new edition of “A Tale of Two Cities” and other authentic and vivid stories.

A new browsing craze

People shop for food at the 2023 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Flower Show in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, on April 8, 2023. Photo: VCG

People store for foodstuff at the 2023 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Higher Bay Location Flower Present in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province, on April 8, 2023. Image: VCG

“[I] commute between Hong Kong and Shenzhen each week. [I can] enable you invest in cakes, bubble milk tea, braised duck, and so forth. Other needs can also be satisfied as very long as [they are] not abnormal. Low-value small business, only aid to buy authorized products and solutions. [I] obey the law and do not smuggle. Sincerity issues most.”

Considering that Shenzhen resident Tang Tang posted the advertisement on social media in early March, she has received plenty of requests to help obtain products and solutions in Shenzhen and supply them to Hong Kong in human being.

“Reverse daigou” has grow to be one more primary undertaking through Tang’s weekly trip to Hong Kong aside from observing her boyfriend there. For just about every vacation, she purchases products and solutions on demand from customers from stores in Shenzhen, goes by way of customs, and then gives the solutions to her shoppers at a selected Hong Kong metro station, which requires her about two several hours.

Tang’s daigou fee is very low. She only rates 6 yuan ($.87) for a box of four cakes, and 10 yuan for a bottle of milk tea. For every get, she earns 25-35 yuan in overall.

Each time, Tang provides alongside 5 or 6 orders for a variety of treats from Shenzhen to Hong Kong. “Treats in mainland metropolitan areas like Shenzhen are identified for variety and richness, and the prices are substantially less costly than individuals in Hong Kong,” Tang spelled out. 

Most of Tang’s Hong Kong consumers are youthful office environment staff who are “nice and light,” Tang explained.

In screenshots of the chat record in between Tang and her clients, which she shared on social media platforms, a client wrote in conventional Chinese figures (the published script employed in Hong Kong) that they would propose Tang to more friends.

Fueled by such enthusiasm, 24-year-old Liu Chuanhao bravely embarked on his cross-border private buying organization immediately after graduating from college in Shenzhen.

Liu was engaged in the daigou company for Shenzhen shoppers demanding Hong Kong merchandise starting from 2020, but was soon disrupted by the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, even as a portion-time occupation, Liu’s every month daigou cash flow was all around 20,000 yuan. Presently, with Liu making normal outings across the Hong Kong border after all over again, his earnings is steadily recovering. Earning further income on the way from Shenzhen to Hong Kong has grow to be a new expansion issue for Liu’s organization.

From acquiring treats to medicated ointments, Liu is amazed with the inherent perception of novelty in each reverse daigou order he receives.

Unlike standard daigou, buyers who buy merchandise from Hong Kong and then ship them to mainland, Liu famous that his buyers would mail the products of on line invest in to his address in Shenzhen. Then he would deliver them to Hong Kong for a deal with-to-confront handover.

The daigou trade employed to be a large sector in China. In the past, these brokers gained big revenue by bringing abroad items from Hong Kong to the mainland. In some occasions, they assisted mainland individuals in circumventing significant import taxes on luxurious items. They also delivered obtain to goods that had been not easily obtainable in mainland outlets, these as selected foreign cosmetics or toddler formula.

In the latest years, even so, with far more and far more intercontinental and Hong Kong brands setting up merchants on Chinese e-commerce platforms giving lower price ranges, daigou shoppers have observed that their former aggressive benefit is slowly diminishing. “Whilst some tiny treats and every day necessities from the mainland are more and more well known in Hong Kong, we can make funds by way of ‘small income and rapid product sales,'” Liu informed the World-wide Situations.

What excites Choi, who at the time tried using the daigou company in Hong Kong but gave up, is that the entry threshold to start a “reverse daigou” enterprise is considerably decrease, with no want to run from store to keep to personally purchase items for customers or bear the threat of substantial personalized taxes on luxury items.

Choi expressed her need to check out this aspect-time career to cater to her travel expenditures through her vacations back again to Hong Kong. “Rapidly and economical shipping and delivery products and services in mainland are reliable, allowing for similar-day buy and delivery in a short interval of a few to 4 several hours or less. It really is pretty interesting to me,” she mentioned. 

Greater price and easier accessibility

People on a commercial pedestrian street in Shenzhen on January 13, 2023 Photo: VCG

People on a commercial pedestrian road in Shenzhen on January 13, 2023. Photograph: VCG

On the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Convey Rail Hyperlink, a lot of passengers can be seen carrying branded paper bags made up of mainland pastries and bubble milk tea.

Choi pointed out that due to the fact some mainland brand names have not however entered the offline retail marketplace in Hong Kong, so lots of youthful men and women in Hong Kong are eager to attempt a little something new, seeking daigou expert services by way of social media. 

“Hong Kong youth are previously proficient in working with well-known mainland world-wide-web apps this sort of as Meituan, Small Red Book, and Douyin. My close friends in Hong Kong instructed me that they would bookmark their preferred food items on these platforms, and if they are unable to go in person, they would speak to acquainted daigou buyers to inquire about rates and find their opinion,” she mentioned.

“They are pleasant. We talk in Putonghua,” Tang pointed out.

The developing attractiveness of “reverse daigou” is not surprising to the industry experts acquainted with Hong Kong and Shenzhen economies, who imagine it is an inescapable craze that solutions from the mainland draw in more and extra Hong Kong people.

The quality of numerous merchandise in the mainland is obtaining much better, becoming capable to meet global leader criteria and remaining favored by Hong Kong residents, stated Liang Haiming, an qualified on the Hong Kong financial state and chairman of the China Silk Highway iValley Exploration Institute.

In the mainland, several drink and snack, these as bread, cakes, bubble milk tea, and barbecue meals, have come to be popular between buyers in recent years through currently being delicious and thriving marketing and advertising campaigns, observers explained to the Worldwide Times. 

Since the mainland borders with Hong Kong have been reopened, Hong Kong-centered customers who like mainland products can purchase considerably more time-delicate goods like drinks and snacks with the assistance of “reverse daigou” shoppers, Liang claimed.

Deeper, all-round integration

A view of a street in Hong Kong on April 1, 2023. Photo: VCG

A perspective of a street in Hong Kong on April 1, 2023. Photograph: VCG

“In truth, a lot more usually than not, Hong Kong citizens prefer to go to Shenzhen or other metropolitan areas in the mainland to experience the attraction there very first-hand,” Choi said.

Throughout an job interview with the World Periods, Choi outlined an appealing phenomenon: At weekends or all through holiday seasons, just about 50 % of the crowds at Shenzhen’s night markets and restaurants close to the Shenzhen border are folks from Hong Kong.

In accordance to data issued by HKSAR Immigration Department, from March 22 to April 4, the full quantity of mainland site visitors to Hong Kong from the six significant ports in Shenzhen was 540,000 individual-occasions, even though the complete selection of Hong Kong people entering Shenzhen achieved 1.85 million man or woman-occasions.

Observers pointed out that with the development of the online, the information and facts gap involving the mainland and Hong Kong has step by step been narrowed, permitting extra Hong Kong persons to have a new understanding of the mainland and make fascination in exploring mainland metropolitan areas.

The perfectly-developed and practical transport network in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bigger Bay Space (GBA) also performs an critical purpose in this development. Since January 8, Shenzhen and Hong Kong have understood the mutual recognition of the subway networks by scanning QR codes, further more facilitating the vacation of individuals in both equally places. 

“The journey from my dwelling in Sha Tin to Shenzhen can take a comparable sum of time as likely to locations like Causeway Bay in the Hong Kong town center, sometimes even shorter,” Choi from Hong Kong explained.

In the course of action of speaking with Hong Kong inhabitants, Tang also mentioned that she felt many community people now have a significantly much better regional id than in former a long time, being happy to be a member of the GBA.

“The cultures in Hong Kong and mainland share the exact origins, numerous Hong Kong inhabitants have ancestral roots in the mainland. To the younger folks in Hong Kong, tasting the selection of the mainland’s foodstuff is a stage in obtaining to know the mainland’s society, which include the wealthy gastronomy,” stated Liang. It has increasingly prompted Hong Kong’s youth to additional enjoy their state and its tradition, he additional.

On some fashionable issues, Liu mentioned that youthful folks in Shenzhen and Hong Kong like the same idols, go to the very same anime conventions, and sing in unison at the same stay concerts. 

With related palates, procuring patterns, and passions, younger men and women in the GBA have shared tastes as a full. This is a indication of GBA metropolitan areas savoring deeper integration in overall economy and other factors in current years, not only mirrored in the shortening of bodily length and the slant of procedures, but also in the integration of every day daily life and psychological identity, Liang explained.

Hong Kong’s progress will be further more built-in into the GBA, seizing the prospects and dividends of Chinese mainland’s regular advancement, he said. “That is the [best] way of endorsing Hong Kong’s long run development.”