Living and Working in Hong Kong
One of the most modern, vibrant and diverse cities in the world, Hong Kong is the gateway to China and the Far East, and is recognised as one of the globe’s major global financial centres. The entrepreneurial spirit is still very much alive here, and Hong Kong continues to be a land of opportunity. If you yearn for wide-open spaces and solitude, Hong Kong probably isn’t for you. But if you get a buzz from a life lived at a rapid pace, where skyscrapers fill the sky, then Hong Kong could be the place for you.
In Hong Kong, the employment market has a strong focus on technology. The service, gaming and mobile marketing sectors are also thriving, and the established financial and professional areas continue to be strong. Overall career opportunities are buoyant, with vacancies in many areas.
Hong Kong has comparatively low tax rates, rising progressively with higher salaries. However, the most you can expect to pay, even in the top tax bracket, is just 17%. Concepts familiar to American and European expatriates, such as sales tax, capital gains, and value-added tax, simply do not exist here; a pleasant surprise for you and your bank account!
Because of extreme land limitations, rents in Hong Kong tend to be high, and floor-space is often frustratingly small. That said, those low taxes will go some way towards compensating you.
Hong Kong has an excellent public transport network. At its heart is the modern, clean, reliable and efficient Mass Transit Railway (MTR). The MTR, which is similar to the subway or underground networks in New York and London, runs at regular intervals, and offers good coverage. The bus and taxi fares are also the envy of commuters in other major cities.
Life in Hong Kong is exciting! Well-known as a shopper’s paradise, with the emphasis on luxury, the vivid night street markets provide a lively and entertaining alternative. Dining options are almost infinite, with something to suit all pockets and tastes. Away from Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, there is a surprising amount of recreational space, with scope to explore the other islands and beaches, using the extensive ferry network or even a private junk.
This former British Colony, was returned to China in 1997, under a 50-year agreement, assuring stability, and offering residents a settled and safe living environment, and the perfect hub for exploring the Far East, Australasia and the Pacific.
Currently, Hong Kong has more than 50 international schools, offering varied affiliations and curricula.
With fees of 67,000 HKD to 170,000 HKD a year, tuition costs are likely to make the biggest dent in the family budget, but are nonetheless hotly contested. So expats with kids really need start looking into schools early in the relocation process.
There are also local schools, especially for children familiar with the language, and who have attended a local kindergarten. While these schools do not charge tuition, they will normally have more rigid teaching methods and heavy workloads, even at a young age.
When it comes to healthcare, there’s good news and bad news for those planning a move to Hong Kong. The good news is that medicine and surgery is on a par with Western standards; and doctors have excellent qualifications. The bad news is that Hong Kong has some of the most expensive medical facilities in the world.
Being subtropical, Hong Kong has four distinguishable seasons: Spring when it is warm and humid, Summer with intense heat and rain, and Autumn when it’s warm. The Winters are cool and dry. Tropical cyclones of varying strengths, and occasional squally thunderstorms with typhoons, also affect the island.
For anyone willing to embrace a different culture and way of life, there is no doubt the rewards of a move to Hong Kong can be substantial. Check out our most recent salary survey for Hong Kong now and find out what you could be earning.
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