The Complete Guide on Moving to Hong Kong
15 minute read
Time and time again, Hong Kong has proven to be true business heaven for entrepreneurs from all parts of the world.
The region is well known for its many great policies and conditions that make doing business successfully much easier when compared to some other parts of the world.
- First of all, the region is known for its free trade and investment policy as well as simple taxation. People also get to enjoy complete freedom when it comes to capital movement.
- The government of the region is fair and quite efficient. Their main priority is to make the region an attractive destination for life and business. Also, the locals especially take pride in the overall great rule of law.
- Finally, the local people are very skilled. Entrepreneurs rarely have any issues when it comes to finding the right talent to fill positions.
And while you have most likely heard of the business benefits Hong Kong has to offer, this region is also great for life in general. The standard of living is great, the region is diverse. So, instead of only basing your business in Hong Kong, why not go a step further and move there?
If that sounds like a good idea, keep reading. Below you will find all the necessary information about the region and its culture.
But before diving deep into the so many benefits of living in Hong Kong, it is important to know the essentials of old Chinese life principles.
This article covers Wear, Eat, Live, and Transport – 衣食住行. These are the essential aspects of Chinese life philosophy and definitely something you need to acquaint yourself with to start your life on a positive note in Hong Kong.
Note: At the time of writing this article, 1 HKD = 0.13 USD. This will help you get a better idea of the prices in Hong Kong.
Wear (衣) – Climate in Hong Kong
One important factor for anyone interested in moving to Hong Kong is the region’s weather. Hong Kong’s climate is subtropical. For almost half of the year, it tends towards temperate.
- November and December always bring pleasant breezes, a lot of sunshine, and generally comfortable temperatures. The locals love these months the most.
- January and February tend to be cloudy with occasional cold fronts followed by dry northerly winds. Temperatures often drop below ten degrees Celsius in urban areas.
- March and April are milder, while summer months are humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms, especially in the mornings.
- Finally, July through September are the months when Hong Kong generally goes through tropical cyclones. But, know that gales are also not unusual at any time between May and November.
Winters in Hong Kong can be somewhat chilly, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 19C. But due to the northeast winter monsoon, the temperature during winter can even drop below 10 degrees. This season usually starts in December, while it becomes cloudier towards February.
So, prepare your boots, coats, and warm sweaters if you decide to spend time in Hong Kong during the winter months.
Hong Kong’s summer months start in June and finish in August. These months usually bring frequent typhoons and it can get really hot.
The air is humid and the heat can be scorching hot. Tourists are often advised to avoid Hong Kong during this season due to the possible summer showers, typhoons, and thunderstorms.
Temperatures usually exceed 30 degrees during the day. Continuous sunshine and low breeze can often result in extreme heat indices. These usually last from July to August.
Bottom line – should you come during this season, pack your T-shirts and shorts, but also bring an umbrella.
Rejoice, this is absolutely the best time to go to Hong Kong!
Autumn brings low humidity, clear skies, and warm temperatures. It is great to be outdoors and the city is perfectly warm. Not for a moment will the heat overwhelm you.
The weather during autumn is very predictable, so you won’t ever need to worry about sudden weather changes.
T-shirts and shorts are still the best clothing pieces. But, you won’t need an umbrella. However, pack a sweater or two if you plan to stay the whole season.
Spring in Hong Kong is from March to May. This season is quite unpredictable.
You should expect a raft of rains and steamy humidity. Many days bring clear blue skies.
However, some abound with rain showers that generally result in rainstorm warnings.
Bear in mind that humidity is generally mild. However, as the summer approaches, it can get really hot.
Be wise and bring shorts, T-shirts, and waterproof clothing garments if you decide to visit during this season. Also, pack a sweater for evenings.
Eat (食) – Eating in and out
You are what you eat. The diet you follow is a major factor when it comes to your overall health.
Fortunately, in the case you decide to move to Hong Kong, you will pretty much be spoiled for choice in terms of food available.
Hong Kong cuisine has two to three major influences. Its main influence is Cantonese cuisine, while British cuisine also plays a major role. It is worth noting that Hakka, Teochew, and Shanghainese cuisines have also influenced the way the region’s dining habits.
It is clear that no one will be disappointed by the variety of dishes offered. Hong Kong is a place of diversities, an international hub, and it has an unlimited range of foods. Dining in every class is easy.
You will be able to enjoy everything from the famous roadside stalls all the way to the fine dining venues. Some people claim that the region is a proper Gourmet Paradise due to the complex combinations and international gourmet expertise.
So, when it comes to food, Hong Kong has something for everyone!
Live (住) – Rent and buy
Hong Kong is an extremely desirable place for life. The region has a strong economy, its people enjoy a great standard of living, and the environment is diverse so it makes blending in quite easy.
However, thanks to these numerous perks and amenities, the housing prices are high. In general, Hong Kong is quite expensive when compared to some other regions around it.
For example, it is estimated that a family of four would have monthly costs of around HK$60,000. A single person, on the other hand, would have to spend around HK$44,000 to live a decent life in Hong Kong.
These two stats alone show that this place is more expensive than a platter of other regions. It is by far the most desirable region and the most expensive one in Asia.
Property in Hong Kong is the most expensive property in the whole world. What’s more, the proportion of people who rent homes is rising.
Numbers also tell a story. In 2016, almost half of the homes were owned by occupants, and the number of households renting had increased to almost 47%.
Fortunately, there are some indicators that this property market is about to slow down. That is, there is a chance that we will see another dip following the one caused by the current COVID viral outbreak.
This trend showed its first tendencies in 2018. In August 2018, after the whole two years, the prices dropped. This was followed by owners cutting prices in some areas by as much as 10%.
As a foreigner, you can buy property such as condominiums in Hong Kong and rent out with no restrictions.
However, bear in mind that Hong Kong is not open to Afghans, Albanians, Cubans, North Koreans, and Chinese from the mainland (unless they are permanent residents in another country).
There is only one freehold property in Hong Kong and that is St. John’s cathedral. This is the only exception. Every bit of land apart from this one belongs to the government and land tenure is on a renewable leasehold basis.
Land leases have in the past been granted for 75, 99, or 999 years, and at present they are being granted for 50 years.
Usually, a buyer pays 5% of the purchase price as a downpayment when a preliminary sales and purchase agreement is signed. Once a formal agreement is reached, another 5% has to be paid. The rest of the balance is paid at closing, which can take from six to eight weeks.
Transport (行) – Public and individual
Traffic in Hong Kong is quite pleasant. It is fairly easy to get around in Hong Kong thanks to its great public transportation system and infrastructure. However, if you decide that you need a car to get around, things might get a bit complex.
Hong Kong’s public transport system has satisfied all the needs of commuters for quite some time now. It is important to know that land transport in Hong consists of taxis, MTR (Mass Transit Railway), buses, minibusses, and tramways.
If you need sea voyages, you can also travel on ferries.
Cash is accepted along with the special Octopus Card. This card can be used to commute via the MTR, buses, ferries, or trams.
It is worth noting that you can easily get around on foot or on MTR if you are planning to live in the city center.
Bear in mind that the locals love the MTR. This is the most popular public transport system and it is very convenient. It connects Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories, and Lantau Island.
When it comes to taxi services, the city has a few companies and you will never have any trouble waving down a cab wherever you might be.
Just know that there are extra charges added to the counter readout for driving through paid underground tunnels. Also, if you have a lot of baggage, there is a fee for that too.
Owning a Car
If you are looking to buy and own a car in Hong Kong, it is fair to say that the system isn’t as favorable towards car owners as in some Western countries.
First of all, it is worth noting that car ownership is an expensive luxury in the region.
A registration tax has to be covered once the person buys a car. There is an escalating tax rate based on the value of the vehicle. That rate ranges from 40% to 115% and it applies to the annual registration fee. Know that this fee can reach HK$10,000 and even more.
Gas in Hong Kong is expensive too. The liter is sold at HK$ 15.00. This is around US$8 per gallon.
However, what bugs people the most is parking. First of all, it is often quite difficult to find a parking space. And even when you do, you need to pay around HK$ 150 per day for a monthly parking space.
This price is accurate for areas close to major business hubs. Expect an hourly rate of HK$ 30 if you are lucky enough to find parking nearby. Unfortunately, home parking is also quite expensive.
Bottom line is that having a car is a luxury for most people in Hong Kong. Commuting to work, taking cabs, using the MTR – these options pay off better.
Thanks to the region’s geographical features, one can enjoy many different activities.
Hong Kong is a modern city that is always buzzing with life. However, there are various parts of the city, including the region that offers beautiful landscapes without skyscrapers and buildings.
Let’s take a look at some perks that Hong Kong offers as a metropolis. Then you will have a chance to see what the region’s nature has to offer when it comes to outdoor activities.
Hong Kong has exciting and diverse nightlife areas from speakeasy venues all the way to the sophisticated bars that serve connoisseur drinks.
However, whatever you like when it comes to nightlife, you will find it in some buzzing nightlife districts of Hong Kong.
- For instance, Knutsford Terrace offers alfresco spots and upstairs bars with a laidback atmosphere.
- Lan Kwai Fong is the unanimous city’s party central brimming with over 90 bars and restaurants.
- SoHo is a true gem for wine connoisseurs. There are also some great dining facilities and chic bars along Hollywood Road.
- Finally, definitely visit Tung Choi Street which is the famous stretch of local haunts right by Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok. If you like colonial-style pubs, sports bars, and live music clubs, Wan Chai Bar District is also a must-visit.
Outdoors and Hiking
Even though most people know Hong Kong as a bustling city of skyscrapers and busy business people, there are many patches of untouched land that wait to be discovered. The region has a lot of beautiful mountains, sea caves, and country parks full of waterfalls.
Place the High Island on top of your bucket list when it comes to outdoors. Sai Kung is your jumping-off point, from there hire a taxi to take you into the verdant Sai Kung East Country Park.
The High Island Reservoir East Dam boasts a paved trail that takes people to one of the most tourist-friendly parts of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark’s otherworldly hexagonal rock pillars.
For a more demanding hike, definitely check out Sai Kung East Country Park. Follow the MacLehose Trail Section 2 from the East Dam shed. This leads you on a wilderness hike to the secluded beaches of Long Ke, Sai Wan, and Ham Tin beaches.
There, one can enjoy spectacular panoramas of the sparkling coast that abound with surfing vibes and gorgeous sunrises.
Did you know that Hong Kong was named ‘Asia’s World City’ thanks to its cultural diversity?
Yes, the city is a mixture of quite a few nationalities nowadays. For the past ten years, the demographic picture of Hong Kong has changed quite a bit. The number of non-Chinese ethnic people has increased tremendously.
Even the government of the region explained that his kind of surge was mainly due to the influx of new people from the Philippines, Indonesia, South Asia, and Caucasians from Europe and America.
According to a government report from 2016, around 580k people from different ethnic minorities live in Hong Kong. This is roughly 8 to 9 percent of the city’s population.
Therefore, Hong Kong is a perfect mix of foreigners and the local population with a lot of cultural influences from all across the globe.
Can I immigrate to Hong Kong?
The government of Hong Kong offers immigration options to suitable candidates. A candidate with good qualifications or decent skill sets and work experience can apply for the visa and they will most likely get it.
- Should you decide to migrate to Hong Kong, you need to be at least 18-years old. Your English has to meet the grade too. The average IELTS score to apply under the work visa of Hong Kong is 6.0.
- The remaining requirements include a piece of evidence that you haven’t broken the law before. This just serves the purpose of showing that you are in good standing with the law.
- Finally, the last requirement is basically to have an adequate amount of money. To be precise, candidates have to possess enough funds to support themselves once they arrive in Hong Kong.
Wrap Up – Is it worth moving to Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is clearly a stunning place to live and do business. The multiethnic environment just goes to show how appreciative the locals are of foreigners who show interest in their homeland. All in all, Hong Kong is worth every consideration no matter the duration of your stay.
It would be nice if you could stay for a longer period of time, but if that isn’t the case, even living there for a couple of months will provide you with lifelong experiences.