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An Expat Guide To Moving To Hong Kong

August 17th, 2017

Moving to Hong Kong

Thinking of moving to Hong Kong? Perhaps you’re part of a business that trades with the Chinese mainland. Or maybe you’ve just got itchy feet and want to experience a cosmopolitan hub and all the new experiences that it brings.

It’s always good to know a bit about your destination before making up your mind, which is why we’ve put together a handy crib sheet of information and pointers to help you get started.

Let’s start with the benefits

A bouncing economy: There’s plenty going for Hong Kong. It’s one of the world’s largest financial centres, joining the likes of London, New York, Dublin and Dubai. The economy is free market and vibrant, and is characterised by low taxation and free trade. Hong Kong also hosts one of the busiest trade ports in the world.

First-class infrastructure: Hong Kong is no slouch when it comes to public transport and infrastructure. In fact, 90% of Hong Kong’s denizens utilise public transport – making it the highest rate of public transport utilisation anywhere in the world.

You might live longer: There’s certainly something in the air. Hong Kong has the longest life expectancy of any country in the world according to UN and WHO estimates.

Things to know

Know your currency: It’s the dollar. No, not the US dollar, but the Hong Kong Dollar, or HKD – one of the world’s most traded currencies. You’ll need around 7.82 HKD to buy one USD.

Don’t spit: In some places on the Chinese mainland, spitting is still considered to ward off evil spirits. But you’ll be warding off a rather steep fine of HKS 5,000 if you do decide to expectorate in Hong Kong. The 2003 SARS scare have made spitting rules strict, so mouth firmly closed please.

It’s not always winter: Summer does come around, and it gets hot and sticky when it does. Maximum temperatures can hit a peak of 37 degrees Celsius.1 It’s not as hot as the Middle East, for instance, but you’ll still need an appropriate wardrobe.

Sharing seats is the norm: In most parts of the world, you’d happily plonk your bag onto an empty seat when eating at a restaurant or ordering a cappuccino in a café. That’s not a good idea in Hong Kong, where sharing seats is the norm. Costs per square foot are very high in Hong Kong, and it’s a densely packed city. You’ll be asked to share seats and tables with strangers even in fast food burger joints.

Small and expensive: Hong Kong has just been named the world’s priciest home market in the world – for the seventh year running.2 That dubious achievement means that your home will be quite a bit smaller, and a lot more expensive, than you might be used to. Hong Kong’s high property prices also mean smaller and pricier hotel rooms.

It’s crowded: Hong Kong’s public spaces are thronged, which means you won’t get anywhere very fast. There’ll be no last-minute sprinting here. So leave plenty of time to get to your engagement, and just fall in line with the undulating crowd. You’ll be going at the same pace everyone else is.

So there you have it. We hope our quick and easy notes help you plan your move to Hong Kong. Happy travels!



1. https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/1987686/hong-kong-records-hottest-day-july-almost-half

2. https://www.scmp.com/business/article/2064554/hong-kong-named-most-expensive-housing-market-world-seventh-straight-year