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Hong Kong represents a sophisticated and intoxicating fusion of East and West. A city with strong Chinese traditions but also imbued with western culture, many Londoners will revel in the dynamic energy and unique personality of this modern metropolis. It is undeniable – Hong Kong has a soul of its own.
However, there are a few things worth considering before making the move. Here we have compiled a list of seven things Londoners should know before relocating to Hong Kong to help keep you informed before you make the big decision.
1. Hong Kong properties are amongst the most expensive in the world
Real estate in Hong Kong comes at a significant cost. The soaring property prices can be attributed to factors ranging from increasing human population to a lack of developable land.
Hong Kong occupies 1,106km2 of land and is home to over 7 million people. The amount of Hong Kong apartments for sale is less than half of the number of buyers in the locale, meaning that the ratio between available properties and prospective buyers is severely out of balance.
When speaking about the demand for real estate, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam Cheng said: “The recent increase in supply has not helped in cooling the high demand for housing in the country.”
The strain placed on the housing market in terms of supply and demand has consequently given rise to inflated rental and buying costs, situating Hong Kong as one of the most expensive cities on the planet in which to purchase property.
2. Hong Kong has a diverse cosmopolitan population
Similar to London’s multicultural and kaleidoscopic character, Hong Kong is a symbiotic ethnic landscape with an interweaving fabric of varying cultural and religious practices.
The ‘East meets West’ tag Hong Kong has been famously assigned is apt despite its pervasiveness, and is seen manifested in everything from the hospitality scene in Hong Kong to nightlife and architecture, including Kom Tong Hall and St John’s Cathedral.
The influx of expats from the US, Britain, France and other countries makes the atmosphere in Hong Kong a welcoming mix of cultures, as the extremely rooted Chinese culture meets modernization and technological growth, displaying the collective socioeconomic psyche of a blossoming metropolis.
Londoners, therefore, need not be concerned when contemplating blending in with the Hong Kong crowd and lifestyle. It is more similar to home than you might think! You can even find Hong Kong apartments for rent, so you feel at home away from home.
3. Explore Asia from Hong Kong with ease
As the world’s 13th largest trade market, Hong Kong is one of the busiest parts of Asia. Hence, the transport system in Hong Kong is one of the most efficient and secure in the world.
On average, a journey from Hong Kong to Macau (an incredibly popular business and tourist destination in China) takes approximately seven minutes by flight and an hour by ferry. But there is an enormous network of potential destinations from Hong Kong, simply pack, book and go!
4. Schooling is expensive and challenging
Although local schools are more accessible in terms of finance and education standards, public institutions predominantly teach in Cantonese, leaving only private schools as an option for most foreigners.
Thankfully, there are over 30 international schools in Hong Kong which give preference to English language-based teaching. The standard of teaching is excellent at these facilities. However, it comes at a cost. Competition for places is also very fierce.
5. The public transportation system is first-rate
The MTR in Hong Kong is one of the best metros in the world and is synonymous with the Octopus card.
Hong Kong runs an extensive and properly maintained MTR subway system which also provides fast and reliable connectivity to other parts of the country. With the Octopus card, the MTR also gives discount values on long trips, which means that buying a car in Hong Kong is not a priority.
Originally introduced as a means of payment for public transportation, the Octopus card has fast become an acceptable method of payment in stores and markets around Hong Kong due to its ease of use. This is quite similar to London’s Oyster card, but can be utilized in different contexts.
6. Areas of natural beauty close to the city centre
For those who enjoy the outdoors for their recreational activities, Hong Kong is a spectacular environment to explore. Indeed, the natural beauty of the country cannot be overemphasized.
Dragon’s Back is an urban hiking trail well-known for its grandeur and is perfect for hikers looking for a less intense path. Ma On Shan Peak, Po Toi Island, and Lion Rock Peak are just a few of its magnificent hiking trails. All of this is just a stone’s throw from the city center; Hong Kong is a blend of the countryside, the coast and the urban environment – perfect for any activity!
7. HK is dominated by finance, real estate and legal industries
Hong Kong is a home to foreign investors and businesses as the centre of Asian commerce – likely a result of its low tax economy. Hong Kong’s financial market is regarded as one of the largest in the world, accounting for over 17 per cent of the country’s GDP with no limits on currency transfers both inside and outside the country.
The real estate and legal sectors in Hong Kong have also gained ground over the years, particularly since Hong Kong’s reunification with mainland China. This is apparent in the range of Hong Kong’s serviced apartments on offer, which provide plenty of choice for potential expats.
Hong Kong is an incomparable place to travel, live and work in. These tips should give you an impression of what to expect when considering relocation to one of the world’s most vibrant and diverse places.