Moving to Hong Kong
Above: view of Hong Kong Island
Sha Tsui promenade, Kowloon.
If you are moving to Hong Kong, here is a typical scenerio: you
visit Hong Kong a couple of times at the expense of your company.
Then when you move here, you are put up in a serviced
apartment for a couple of months so that you can start working
right away and meanwhile look for a place to live.
If you are hoping to move to Hong Kong, then first on the list
may be to check out the
job market. Knowing Chinese helps in finding a job in HK, but many expatriates live
and work here without knowing much - Chinese, that is.
Here is some information you may find helpful for you to plan
to live in - some popular areas for expatriates are
Peak, south Hong Kong Island (e.g. Redhill district, South
Sai Kung, Clearwater Bay, Hong Lok Yuen (New
Territories), Pok Fu Lum, Lamma
Island, etc. A tip for making your choice: the pace of life in Hong Kong is fast, so it'll be
good to choose a place with some peace and quietness easily accessible. (see also
living in HK &
- - decent ones seem to start at US$1025 per
month (as of 2012.1),
but at those prices, you pay on the travel time to central locations of HK. Those located nearer city center seem to start at US$2000/month. more about serviced apts
of living - high, especially in terms of housing!
costs vary. You can find US$5 meals easy enough, and eating in will cost less than that unless you have more exquisite tastes!
- to ship your household belongings to Hong Kong, there are
worldwide shippers that can get you a whole container worth
of space or more. (Wouldn't it be nice if
you could just move your whole house - house, yard, and garden?)
They can provide even a shelf-to-shelf service: packing from
the shelves you have at your existing home to putting the items
up on the shelves of your new home. But then, your new home
will probably be smaller than your current one because space
in Hong Kong probably costs more, and hence not everything will
to shipping companies)
products - Hong Kong household electricity
is 240VAC 50Hz, which means that if you plug your 110VAC (USA)
lamp in directly, it will light up once - very brightly, and
then you may see some smoke. Some appliances may even explode.
If you will be in Hong Kong for just a year and don't
want to buy everything new, you can get "step-down"
transformers once you arrive to convert the electricity. But
some electric clocks may still not work if they work on 60Hz
only. When in doubt, read the label. In fact, read the instructions first
because the transformer may become a step-up one depending on how to flip a switch: changing 220 volts to 440 volts!
Plugging your 110V appliance in may not just light it up, it may set your whole
- there're many schools for English-speaking kids, plus some
for speakers of other languages. more
(links to schools)
- compared to many western countries, the income tax is lower.
And there is no sales tax... yet (as of 2012.1).
If you are an American citizen, you still have to file your
tax return with the IRS. As long as you make below a certain
amount, you won't be taxed other than by the HK government - but don't take our word for it,
you'd better check with your accountant. After all we won't
be responsible for any advice we give here especially when it's
dealing with the IRS!
- in addition to Sundays, Hong Kong has about 15 public holidays each year. more
- banks outnumber public bathrooms
by a factor of at least 30 to 1, but then of course they serve
entirely different purposes - different deposits. HSBC and the
Bank of China are now the biggest chains, but if you like to
deal with a bank from your own country, I suspect there is one
here although you may not be able to draw funds directly from
your account back home. But then you can probably access one
of the thousands of ATM machines to get what you have with some
kind of finance charge, and even get what you don't have: using
your credit card. But then, it's not as easy to get a HK credit card, so hang on to yours until you qualify!
helpers - (aka maids, or to be politically correct,
or butlers) - there are about 240,000 "domestic helpers"
working in Hong Kong
. They are usually from the Philippines or Indonesia on a work
permit. Many of the local and expatriate families have a domestic
worker to help with home chores ranging from cleaning, to child-care,
and to just about anything to be done around the home. They
are normally live-in's. There's a pretty much fixed, flat rate
salary structure, and an employer (you) will also provide the
costs of a trip back to their home country once a year. They
are entitled to take sundays off plus all the Hong
Kong public holidays.
- a great way to get you and your family plugged in and feel
more at home: Hong Kong life is more than hectic and can be
very lonely. more
(links to some churches)
- bring them or leave them, here is some info to help you decide.
more on pets in HK.
- - cell phones in Hong Kong
use a thumbnail-sized SIM card. If yours uses that, you can
probably sign up with a service provider easily and use the
same phone. If you're from US, I understand that once your cell
phone is 'unlocked', you can just get a SIM card here and use
the same phone. But of course don't take our word for it. Verify
it with your carrier first. more on mobile phones & services in HK
license - Hong Kong has an agreement with many countries
such that if you have a valid driver's license, you won't need
to be tested in Hong Kong to be allowed to drive. (US DL holders:
refer to this
- check out the job market and the pay scales. more
Setting up a business
- setting up a business is relatively easy in Hong Kong. And there're plenty of business centers where you can either rent space or just 'have a presence'. more
Anything else you want to know? Drop
us a line. Questions accompanied with good feedback always
get first priority!