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Hong Kong – The Benefits

26th Feb 2019 Chris Ingham


I am fortunate enough to work for a company with offices in some highly desired locations like Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore and of course Hong Kong.  Melbourne is regularly ranked “the most liveable city in the world” except for this year when it came a paltry second place (Hong Kong is ranked 35).  Mercer’s global survey of the worlds most expensive cities for expats found that in 2018 Hong Kong was ranked as the most expensive city to live in for expatriates however I wouldn’t swap Hong Kong for any other location at the moment and I want to highlight why.

With close to 20% of the placements we currently make coming from overseas, largely due to the nature of the roles we work on (very niche and candidate short digital and tech talent) we in the HK office constantly find ourselves banging the drum of the benefits and opportunity that Hong Kong presents people.

Unlike Australia and Singapore where additional Visa restrictions now apply and make the markets less accessible to expat talent, Hong Kong is still generally quite a smooth and easy process to apply and be granted a working Visa.  So long as you have attained a University education or work within needed sectors (of which digital and tech are high on the list) then the process is straightforward and takes 4-6 weeks.  I am yet to have a single request for our clients or ourselves denied (however some have requested additional information to process).

Hong Kong also presents a great opportunity to really build a career in a market that is traditional in mind set and currently going through a drastic change of transformation and digitisation, meaning there are an unprecedented number of roles and needs for digital and tech professionals across niche skill set areas and the local market just does not have the talent to fullfill the needs.  Markets like Australia, the U.S etc that are more advanced in these areas and have significantly more talent available with this level of experience are where we are consistently sourcing for our clients, and as such highlighting the benefits of working in Hong Kong.  The potential to drive and be at the forefront of this transformation gives people the opportunity to really develop their careers.

Having been under British rule Hong Kong has always been a location with a large number of expats and it is well set up to cater for the many needs of people.  I am ashamed to say that in 15 years of living here, I do not speak Cantonese (besides ordering food or guiding a taxi….or various other “phrases”) but that is largely to do with the fact that English has been widely spoken in Hong Kong for generations, all road signs and directions etc are in both English and Chinese and these little things make it much easier to live in a city where the native tongue is not your own.

A very safe place to live and raise a family, Hong Kongers are generally very welcoming people and street crime, violent crime etc are quite a rarity.  I don’t recall ever feeling in danger or under threat during my time here.  Public transport is excellent and the infrastructure is second to none.  Despite the huge numbers living in quite small proximity to each other, it is always generally quite easy to get around and at quite good prices.   

We benefit from a tax system set at 15% across all levels which is very appealing to professionals coming to earn a living, however on the flip side the cost of living and rent is far higher than most other countries and you don’t get much space for your money. 

Hong Kong truly is a 24 hour society with plenty of options operating 24 hours a day and a variety of events every night of the week such as the HKJC races on a Wednesday and very high end bars and restaurants and Michelin stars coming out of our ears (227 to be exact in 2018), it really does rival the best cities in the world for nightlife and entertainment.  But what else does it offer?  Hong Kong is made up of a number of smaller island such as Lantau, Lamma, Peng Chau and many more and has a huge number of beaches.  90% of the land is protected by the government and cannot be built on, this is essentially parks and mountains which offer some of the best hiking opportunities in the world and truly stunning views.  You could do a new hiking trail or beach every weekend for a year and not repeat the same one.  You can lead a very active lifestyle in Hong Kong with countless sporting clubs and leagues for avid football, rugby, basketball, cricket enthusiasts as-well as any more “niche” activities people want to take part in.  The image above of the HKJC racecourse surrounding a number of football and rugby pitches look like a sportsmans heaven rarely seen in other parts of the world.  And I get to play there week in week out.    We live in close proximity to a number of exotic destinations to travel too and with a number of public holidays each year, the chance to travel to multiple locations for relatively low cost is huge.  Places like Vietnam, Thailand, Macau, Taiwan, Philippines etc are all flights within three hours.

If you like the sound of Hong Kong and you want to explore opportunities within the Digital and Tech space then please do get in touch for a discussion on how we can assist!