that's a direct translation from the chinese proverb, pak fa chai fong. which means hi-fi in HK is really like a hundred types of flowers blossoming at the same time. i am not exaggerating, i think what we have in malaysia (in terms of brands and variety) is only 10% of what you get in HK. from the established names to the totally obscure, from the very expensive esoteric stuff to the mass-market, HK has everything you can ever think of.

because hi-fi has a critical mass in HK, you find a healthy and robust primary market which in turn spins off a very vibrant secondary (secondhand) market. secondhand hi-fi shops in HK always stock high-end stuff that's barely a couple of months' old from general global release. we find the recently released audio research reference 3 preamp on sale in one of them! talking about how fickle-minded HK audiophiles are! these are the people that spur the hi-fi economy in HK!

vintage audio is big too in HK. HK is also a paradise for D.I.Yers, as witnessed from the variety of electronic shops in ap liu kai (in sham shui po). our pasar road simply pales in comparison to ap liu kai! there are also a lot of DIY cables on sale for a song in ap liu kai.

most high-end shops can be found in central district. here, you really need a local to guide you because all these shops are hidden in high-rise commercial buildings. the most interesting thing is once the elevator opens, you are already in the shop, not a chance to peer thru the glass like in most shops in kl! i find most of the sales staff very professional and friendly.

audiophile cables are also big business in HK. you can find 3 dedicated cable dealers in grandcastle (tim chi) building at the end of sai yeung choi street in mongkok. HK audiophiles actually believe that cables do make a difference and they are willing to invest in them. grandcastle houses more than 20 hi-fi shops under one roof, some of which are secondhand shops. it is a delight to visit this unassuming building.

my impression on the hi-fi scene in HK is a positive one. things here are cheaper compared to malaysia. the hi-fi population is relatively large and eventho' they have many camps, they seldom step into each other's toes. audiophiles here are definitely more mature as more people can afford the high-end stuff so very little inferiority complex exists. also, the audiophiles in HK are more online savvy. you can even find high-enders participating in online forums. there are many online hi-fi camps/clubs supporting different brands/makes and they can co-exist and live in harmony. it sounds every bit like a hi-fi utopia for me. i am envious.

unfortunately, all these are missing in the malaysian hi-fi scene. hi-fi is, and will remain, a luxury in malaysia.

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