Are you considering relocating to Hong Kong? As a former British colony until 1997 when China resumed its sovereignty, this dynamic city has a unique history. The local culture is a mix of both its British heritage and Chinese roots and can be reflected in its architecture, street names, trams and the much-loved afternoon tea.
Hong Kong offers something for every taste and many expats and foreigners who move here find themselves falling in love with what this city has to offer. Of course, not everything is picture perfect. Here, we've rounded up some of the best and worst aspects of living in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's food scene is varied and offers an array of choices from cheap and delicious street food to Michelin star rated restaurants. Visitors and locals line up to taste its world-famous dim sums, its mouth-watering brisket noodles and delicious egg tarts and pineapple buns. If you are a foodie you certainly won't be at a shortage of new places to try every week.
Great Public Transport
The public transport system in Hong Kong is efficient, clean and vast. With a connected network of MTRs, trams, buses and ferries there are many ways to get around. Additionally, taxis are relatively cheap and plentiful. Taxis can easily be hailed from the street, they are metered, and air-conditioned. Although not all drivers will speak English, it shouldn't be a major problem if you give them nearby landmarks or show them the address written in Chinese.
The first image that comes to your mind when picturing Hong Kong might be tall high rise buildings and its densely populated neighborhoods. However, you'd be surprised to find that there are actually many outdoor activities and ways to enjoy nature. From amazing hiking trails to vast beaches, to nature reserves and spectacular wetlands, people love escaping the hustle and bustle of the city to find some peace and quiet in nature.
Hong Kong is a city where people frequently come and go. Although this can seem as a disadvantage, it actually makes the expat community very friendly and open to newcomers. People are willing to help and it's easy to meet and make friends. There are many events and networking opportunities happening every day. Check out our blog post on meeting new people in Hong Kong or have a look at Eventbrite, Whub and Meetup to find out what's happening around the city and within the startup community in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has some of the lowest taxes in the world. Companies in Hong Kong only pay tax on profits that are sourced in Hong Kong (8.25 - 16%), there are no sales tax, nor capital gains tax. The salary tax rate ranges from 2-17% depending on your salary level. These low tax benefits are what attract many expats to move here and why many businesses choose to incorporate their companies in Hong Kong.
Ok, now that we've convinced you to take the plunge and move to Hong Kong, let's discuss some of the less positive aspects of living here.
Depending on where you come from, you may be used to hot summers. But humidity is no joke in Hong Kong. You'll be dripping in sweat within a matter of minutes of being outdoors. It's particularly bad during June to mid-September which are the hot, humid summer months. Although air-conditioning in apartments is enough for some, you may also choose to buy dehumidifiers for your home.
Expensive Real Estate
You've probably heard about the skyrocketing rental prices in Hong Kong. In fact, this city is consistently ranked among the most expensive in the world. Many newcomers are also shocked when they start their home search to find that the average size of apartments and homes is very small. It makes sense, Hong Kong is one of the most dense cities in the world and land is in short supply.
It's not easy opening a bank account
Opening a bank account in Hong Kong can be tricky. If you are opening a personal bank account for the first time, you'll need to do it in person, provide your Hong Kong ID and banks will require proof of address. If you are opening a corporate business account, the process is even lengthier and more time-consuming. Many startups and new companies have a hard time getting approved especially when they are just starting out.
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