Many professionals often get expat postings to expensive cities, and one of the most expensive cities according to the consulting firm Mercer’s global survey is Hong Kong. Asian cities do fall amongst the world’s most expensive locations for deploying expats and with the economic slowdown, many employers are weighing up the costs of hefty expat packages and often cutting back on the benefits they offer to their staff who relocate.
If you are considering a position in Hong Kong, here are some important things to keep in mind:
What expats need to know about Hong Kong
Very expensive rentals
A two-bedroom apartment in Hong Kong can cost close to USD 7000 and most expats in Hong Kong confirm that rentals are exorbitant and increasing daily. If your expat package doesn’t cover accommodation, you might consider looking for housing where property is cheaper in the New Territories further north. The reason for the high prices on Hong Kong Island is due to it being home to the thriving financial district.
High cost of living
Hong Kong ranks second to highest out of 67 countries in the Cost of Living Index and close to 72% of those responding to the survey are unhappy with the high cost of living in Hong Kong. Having said this, you can reduce your shopping costs by avoiding supermarkets and retail outlets aimed at expats and instead shop at local shops including the wet markets that sell fresh meat. Street food is also highly recommended – especially for a quick working lunch.
On the subject of working, it’s important to note that people tend to work longer hours in Hong Kong with the average for full-time employment being 48.5 hours per week versus the global average of 44.6 hours. Despite this, 71% of expats working in Hong Kong rate their job satisfaction favourably and enjoy good job security and a solid economy.
Quality education but at a cost
The InterNations Quality of Life index reports that 76% of expat parents say that education in Hong Kong is not easy to afford but 77% of the respondents were satisfied with the quality of education.
Crowded but well-connected
Hong Kong is one of those countries where driving your own car can put you at a disadvantage. Rush hour is gridlocked, parking is impossible and fuel costs and vehicle licensing fees increase annually. Despite this, the public transport system is excellent and very affordable. The Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway(MRT) has ten train lines running across all major districts and the trains run every few minutes. The MRT also runs 12 pairs of intercity trains daily across the border to Mainland China and Beijing. A host of taxis also add to the ease of getting from A to B and strict government regulation ensures they are safe and inexpensive with maximum fare tariffs in place.
Despite Hong Kong’s prices, more than four out of seven expats think their financial situation is positive and are very happy with the opportunities this vibrant country offers.
If you’re thinking of immigrating to Hong Kong and need any advice about your financial emigration, contact us today and we’ll help you on the path to financial freedom in your new home.
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