Do you love the buzz of the city but find yourself looking for an exciting new opportunity? As the UK continues to bear the brunt of some tough economic conditions, Hong Kong might just be the place for you! Thanks to its English-speaking population and quasi-Western culture, expats are heading to Hong Kong in their hoards to try out a brand new life. Here we tempt you with a few simple reasons to join them.
Most liveable city
First things first! In July 2012, Hong Kong was ranked as the most liveable city in the world by a new liveable cities index devised by architect and urban planner Filippo Lovato and based on data from the Economist Intelligence Unit. Coming out top of the world based on green space, urban sprawl, natural assets, cultural assets, connectivity, isolation and pollution – what can be more persuasive than that?
The great thing about relocating to Hong Kong is that your English skills will take you far. Although the de facto language is Cantonese, English is officially the co-second alongside Mandarin. Many street signs and public service announcements are given in both Cantonese and English, with English being a major working language that is widely used in commercial activities and legal matters. However, it’s worth remembering that English is not the official language and not everyone will speak it. It’s definitely worth learning as much Cantonese as you can, out of respect for the Hong Kong culture if nothing more.
In 1997, the sovereignty of Hong Kong was handed back from the United Kingdom and over to the People’s Republic of China. In the time since then, the Chinese economy has experienced the largest GDP growth (the increase of per capita gross domestic products) in the entire world: more than 330% over 16 years. It’s safe to say that Hong Kong has capitalised and established itself as a leader in the Far East.
The rate of income tax in Hong Kong is around 15% which puts it as significantly lower than most of Europe and US. This means that as well as still earning a comparable salary to back at home, you’ll be getting to keep a few extra pennies!
Hong Kong’s small size means that commuting time is cut in half, compared to the likes of London. In London, travel time can easily span over an hour getting from one side of the city to the other, adding up to a staggering 10 hours a working week. Hong Kong however is a much smaller city, meaning that you can easily meet up with friends or family in your lunch hour or pop out for after-work dinner.
Benefits of a small office
The small size of Hong Kong often means that in general the office sizes are smaller too. This makes it much easier to feel valued for your role, to work closely with high-ranking colleagues and to be noticed – work hard and get ready for that promotion!
Getting to the region is simple, with great deals on flights to Hong Kong from most international destinations. Once you’re there, public transport is a real plus point, running efficiently and reliably. Like the UK’s Oyster card, An Octopus card will help you to get around on most public transport in Hong Kong, saving you both time and money and can even be used in supermarkets, service stations and convenience stores.
Hong Kong is a great city for getting outside and enjoying some fresh air – you can go walking in the mountains and go to the beach in the very same day. At weekends, touring the surrounding islands and hiking are popular pursuits among the expat community, with everything from green forests, gushing waterfalls and sandy beaches on offer.
From the bustling and chaotic night markets to the stylish and sophisticated malls boasting the biggest designer names, Hong Kong is a shoppers dream offering something for every budget. The Landmark is the epitome of luxury shopping, while Mongkok Ladies Market has everything from designer copies to souvenirs for you to send back home.
As a former British colony, Hong Kong is overflowing with international eateries, locally run restaurants and Western fast food chains. Prices range from the very cheap to the super luxury and there’s something to tickle every type of taste bud.
So there you have it, a whole host of great reasons to relocate to the bustling and lively city of Hong Kong. Do you dare to leave London behind?