Cost of Living in Hong Kong

by Jose Marc Castro on August 10, 2009

movingtohongkongIMAGE200The cost of living in Hong Kong is notably high compared to several other Asian regions. It used to rank among the top three in the past two decades in having the highest cost of living. Being a territory recognized as East meeting West, this cosmopolitan city has maintained its stature even with the change in governance since the handover in 1997.

Recently, it only made the 5th spot in all Asian states and 79th globally. The deflation was mainly due to the weakening US and Hong Kong dollar. Expatriates are looking forward to making the move since the turn of events. Living in Hong Kong is 50% more expensive than Thailand and 20% more expensive than Singapore and Guang Zhou. Despite this, expats in Hong Kong shared in a post last August 5, 2009 in the Hong Kong Expat Forum :

Its become even more quick paced and competitive and of course, more Chinese biased. HK is totally dependent on the Mainland to thrive and you can see that from the population mix to the stance of the local media. Oh yes and pollution is worse

Everything in Hong Kong can be expensive from apartment rentals to leisure expenses to basic commodities. People relatively earn more, with an inflation rate of 2% as well due to the fast-growing trade and commercial industries Hong Kong is the richest state of the Republic of China and has higher gross domestic product per capita than the United Kingdom.

Hong Kong is the 11th largest trader in the world since it relies mostly on imported products and materials for consumption and basic necessities. In 2009, Hong Kong again proved its competence in the global market by ranking 6th in per capita GDP at almost $189, 798,100,000.00, currently 34th place in the world.

Food and Drinks Costs in Hong Kong

Food and beverages in Hong Kong are expensive since almost all materials and raw ingredients come from Mainland China and other nations. The state relies heavily on imported goods and products for daily consumption of citizens. On the average, an individual can spend around 300 euros for food and drinks.

Imported meat products and canned goods and fresh fruits and vegetables are very expensive and can cost twice as much compared to other Asian countries. Dining out in a middle class restaurant costs about 80 euros. There are also authentic Chinese dishes available. Hong Kong does not export any food or agricultural product.

Beverages are also expensive including water, which is primarily bottled and imported from Switzerland and other European regions. Hong Kong has a lot of imported wines, beers, tea and coffee products. All of these come from either Mainland China, which can be comparatively cheaper, or other Western countries. Wheat and grain products are imported from China, meat and poultry come from Australia and fruits and vegetables come from Thailand and the Philippines.

Clothing and Accessories Costs  in Hong Kong

Since Hong Kong is very much a part of China, expatriates get to enjoy affordable China-made wares and accessories. These are available in wholesale or bulk in most flea and night markets in downtown areas as mainlanders boosted retail sales in the territory. Jewelry, gadgets and electronics are also very cheap but quality is questionable since some are not made of durable material. Overall, footwear, clothes, cosmetic products and other accessories are one of the advantages in Hong Kong making it an automatic shopping destination.

Hong Kong also offers high-end clothes and accessories made by the top brands and designers from all over the world. In Kowloon district, there are several shops and malls filled with all kinds of labels and brands. Tourists generally flock to Hong Kong to shop since the styles and patterns are very much updated with British standards. Street fashion is highly influenced by Western culture and one can definitely find any type of clothing, textile and style at the right price.

Housing Costs in Hong Kong

Majority of the population in reside in apartment buildings and housing enclaves. Since the space area of Hong Kong is not enough to provide land ownership to all its residents, there are a number of private and public institutions that aim to properly organize housing schemes. Immigrants will then be more safe and secure and have the best benefits in terms of living space and conditions.

On the average, a single-bedroom apartment in Hong Kong can cost around 500 euro every month including utilities and water. Prices of course depend on quality and condition. At present, Hong Kong is experiencing shortage in good and livable apartments and condominiums.

Only the wealthiest get to live in luxurious hilltop villages overlooking the China Sea. Expatriates seldom get to have the opportunity to purchase land in Hong Kong, which averages around 1 million euro at least. Housing authorities provide housing plans for rural and urban tenants and senior citizens. The government also offers a number of apartments for free to those who are earning less than average.

The worldwide recession has placed a damper on the real estate market in the territory since 2008, but this proved only for the short term as market indicators show that in 2009 steady increases in transactions and prices are being recorded.

Services Costs in Hong Kong

Transportation in Hong Kong is rampant and reliable. Taxis and MRTs are the usual modes. It is ideal to travel on foot or take the bus to save more while others ride bicycles around town. Daily transport in Hong Kong costs around five to ten euros. Health care is also given importance especially to senior citizens. Medical and rehabilitative services are not subsidized and each worker is recommended to have medical insurance.

There are a few good schools in Hong Kong and students usually study up to age 15 to 17 years old before moving to mainland China or other Southeast Asian countries to continue college. A number of notable schools in Hong Kong are affiliated with British universities that allow students pursue their degrees in Europe. As reported by an expat in February 1, 2009 in the Hong Kong Expat Forum as the following:

There are so many good schools in hong kong. ESF schools.

american international school. japanese international school. chinese international school. german international school. canadian international school.

Private education is still the best as education is never subsidized by the government.

Employment Costs in Hong Kong

It is relatively easy to find a job in Hong Kong considering that expatriates fall into the specific categories in demand. Foreign investors are always welcome but it might be harder to find a niche in the century-old competitive market. Multinational and local firms have downsized in the past decade to improve overall costs.

Hong Kong continues to dwell on the service and tourism industry while other sectors drastically changed in performance and status due to the recent changes.

Hong Kong has an employment rate of over 90%, which is one of the highest in the world. There are several low-paying jobs available but expatriates may have a harder time getting their dream job. Opportunities and company benefits are not many since firms are constantly cutting costs. Hong Kong will continue to rely on trade and imported goods for raw materials. Overall, competence and skills are essential in successfully landing a job that lasts in Hong Kong.


{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

wajeh April 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm

hi
i want to study at hong kong university.
my family consist of 4 : iam, my wife,my 2 little kids one is of 3 year and the other is of 1 year.
we are not smoker , not drinker
what is the expected living cost for us ( middle level ) per month??

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Brant July 17, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Hey,

Do you mean living in the Midlevels, or living in a middle level standard? For a place in the midlevels, considering you'll probably want a 2 bedroom, you should expect to pay at least HKD35K. If you go out somewhere like Po Lam, you might get something for 30K, if you shop around and go direct to the owner. If you want to be in Pok Fu Lam, near your school, the price should be similar. You'll need at least double your housing cost for food / transport and basic costs, plus healthcare, education for kids and all the rest. This may or may not be cheap, depending where you're from… Consider the density of people and the cultural aspects more though. I'm born and raised and wouldn't be anywhere else. I've many friends that have come and gone though – too fast paced, too expensive, too competitive…

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Student July 28, 2010 at 7:59 am

An expat student who would graduate from HongKong university with salary lets just assume the mean salary i.e. around 16k HKD per month, what do you think he will have the scope of savings considering he will have to pay the apartments costs, food and other such necessary things cost himself? An apartment for 1 i presume or rather a 3-room apt. with me and 2 other friends sharing, which ever would make it the cheapest option.

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Johan Kriel August 13, 2010 at 1:22 pm

i would like to know , i got a job offer in hong kong, my salary is 38000hk$ and housing allowance 17000hk$, will me and my wife survive on this salary?

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jessie August 17, 2010 at 10:13 am

I think this will be eough to stay at Hong Kong if u have allowance of housing.However that wld probably far from the town.But transport is goin pretty good in HK,it gives eneough options.

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JBI May 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm

its not actually 17000HK$ of renting in hong kong if you wanna survive, but you can get 6000HK$ whichs really very comfortable. im in hong kong now but i'm not hong konger lolz

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steven July 10, 2012 at 4:02 am

i think u can enjoy the heaven life in HK with such salary,, welcome

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Desmond August 18, 2010 at 7:15 am

I got an offer from a company in Central. If my offered salary is HKD 33k without any housing allowance, where would be the best place to stay in terms of getting best value in rental and commuting?

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SATISH KUMAR October 23, 2010 at 8:24 pm

satish here, need 1 help, i got a offer from company in hong kong, salary is 26,00HKD per month (includes 1000 HKD MPF for month)

can u let me know is this salary OK in hong kong i.,e very less, very good, etc,

I am single.

How much money I will be able to save,

how much will be the expenditure,

plz let me know.

Thank you waiting for the reply.please

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Deepak October 25, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I am currently working in one of the largest FMCP (Fast Moving Consumer Products) company in Africa.
I am married with one kid and may plan to seek a job in Honk Kong and thereby move with my wife and kid accordingly.
What would be the minimum salary that I and my family can sustain our selves with (keeping in mind that my wife may also take up a job as a teacher) after taking care of the monthly expenses such as Rents for Apt, Grocery, Utilities / Water, Transport etc and also education for my son.
Would there be any savings?? Pls advise asap.

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carlos November 4, 2010 at 4:33 am

I will be in HK foer one month using US dollars, what is recommended to be conservative and frugle with my money when it comes to entertainment, meals, etc. Housing is paid for,,,,

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jacknjill January 13, 2011 at 5:13 am

well the best way to be frugal would be to live in a cardboard box and wank yourself instead of visiting cheap brothels of course

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nad January 26, 2011 at 9:15 pm

This article hardly provides any concrete information.

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Ramesh kumar February 22, 2011 at 5:48 am

Anybody help me…..Tis is Ramesh from india. Iam a M.Tech Graduate. i got job offer form hong kong. i asked salary 1.5 lakhs for indian money. 28k HKD….whether is it enough or not i dont know.
How much we can save and send money to my home?
hw much we need to stay there?
anybody please tell me as soon as possible…..
Send to my mail please….
rameshkumar.gis@gmail.com

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surendra May 16, 2011 at 6:47 am

If you are not spend thrift and have no vices you can save half if you live within your means.

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rachel May 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm

>On the average, an individual can spend around 300 euros for food and drinks.

where did you get this info? i hardly believe that its true
300 euros is approximately 3300 HKD
i don't know how you got such a high level of food expenses but poverty is quite serious in hk and for those poor people they only receive salary much less than 10000 HKD a month and definitely can't afford that much

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Carolyn June 13, 2011 at 1:52 am

Hello, is any one able to advise where would be the best place to live in HK with a family, 4 children, two being teenagers? Would need to be relatively close to schools and Happy Valley. How much would be expected for rent?

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Jo-Ann July 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm

My husband, 2 sons and myself are considering moving to Hong Kong. I was wondering if my 18yr old would be able to find any jobs in the plumbing industry? Do they have apprenticeship programmes over there? Where can I find out this information? I hope someone can help with some advice. Many thanks.

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Patti July 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm

hi! I've got an offer to work at kinderkarden as an intern and they pay in US dollars it's 1665 and I would like to know if I can afford the appartment a single room nothing big just me, and would I survive with that money in HK???

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Hasin Abdullah July 21, 2011 at 4:44 am

Hello ! its me – Hasin, from dhaka Bangaldesh, doing job in a managerial position. Me org has transferred me to hk in our foreign branch office there and offered me 25K HKD monthly basic salary. still I’m single and my company will arrange my dwelling initially. My work station is located at central HK yet if I wish to stay downtown and move office daily then how wise it will be of course in terms of all probable expenditures including living, transportation, food, etc.
will please anybody suggest me the best way to think and arrange me my living and planning my expenditure there ? I will be grateful to him/her. thanks.

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Bobby July 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Hello, I just got a job offer for HKD 30K monthly, please advise, how I could rent for a reasonable apartment, if I want to move in…

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TaxSmartCPA May 11, 2013 at 12:24 am

HKD 30K monthly??? A one bedroom tiny apartment costs 20K HKD easy in Hong KOng. I will not take this job and relocate back to Hong Kong if I am offered this salary. I am original from Hong Kong citizen and currently living in New York City, which seems to me to be cheaper than Hong Kong. I get a bigger apartment here in NYC and also more savings than when I was in Hong Kong, even I have to pay more taxes here. Hong Kong's housing is insanely expensive and totally out of touch with salary… Too many people going to work there and drive up demand for housing.

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Rocky August 29, 2011 at 3:11 am

Hi guys, I am an indian national and looking for a job in Hong kong, Please let me know is there any place here from where the companies are hiring or some useful job portal.Thanks

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Dude September 21, 2011 at 4:03 am

Hi, I have an offer in hand with monthly salary of HKD30k + medical benefits. Can I save?

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Migs September 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I' been offered a Job at HK, and the sallary will be 3000 USD,
do you If i move in what will be the monthly expenditure including an Apartment for me/ Foods for th ewhole month & ocational Drink out's

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david March 22, 2012 at 11:39 pm

that 's a good standard of living you will have. go for it. as normal income is about HK$12,000

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allofasuddenpartJew November 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Is this still true now that it is 2011. Speaking of Pollution, thought NT is better than HK Island? Thoughts?

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Kesler February 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm

The main source of pollution now in HK is the traffic as industries in Shenzhen and Guangdong have moved to other South Asian countries. NT are mostly residential areas with less heavy traffic and better town planning and more parks, and also lower rent and price of goods than Kowloon and HK Island. The downside is the longer transportation time (1-2 hours from the CBD) and the transportation at late night after the MTR have stopped.
Things have been quite messed up last year. The most important part is the crazy inflation rate in 2011… which stays above 4% for all months of the year. McDonalds have raised menu prices three times in a year. Rents also surged from 5.5k HKD as mentioned to nearly 9k per month for the same living condition. Foreigners are generally welcomed in most companies, but it seemed that many companies have hurt a lot in the debt crisis, so they'll probably be less willing to pay high salaries. It's still livable in Hong Kong, but life have become harder…

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AHK November 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I am intending to have a MSc in HKUST. The courses are in evenings from 7pm to 10pm. would it be possible for me to find a job with enough earnings to cover my expenses?
thank you

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MIP January 29, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Hello to all of you!
I am an european and I've been offered a job for HKD 28k, with no housing allowance. I am 31, single and very social person. If i live a normal life – with gym, restaurant once a week, having a late night once a week or two , cinema or theatre twice a month etc. do you think i can save at all or it will be just enough to have this normal life, or it won't be enough even to have this? Please help! I need to give an answer ASAP…..

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Kesler February 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Hi MIP,
Rent will burn quite a large proportion of the salary as the average have surged since 2010. A decent 500 sq. ft. flat in most parts of Kowloon or Hong Kong Island will cost around 10k-15k HKD (bills included) depending on the location and condition. Transportation and food – around 4k a month, if you have your dinner at home. Spending on entertainment – about 2-3k HKD a month for the frequency you have mentioned. You may probably need to pay about 1k on MPF each month but I don't know if it's applicable to non-permanent residents. So if you spend within the budget you may save 11k HKD each month…

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MIP February 3, 2012 at 8:06 am

Thank you Kesler,

There is something else that bothers me. It's loneliness and balance in life….
Is there a good cultural life compared to the European countries where you can find lots of cultural events, exhibitions, performance, street art and underground arts and events.
Are the companies really so demanding and pushing and taking peoples free time so there is not a lot left for socialising and personal interests….
It seems that it is a very lonely place or that's just the impression that i get from publications in media…..how human it is, is there a focus towards the individual, are people open to communicate with newcomers and strangers….or it is a place where you go for work and that's all
May be these questions sound stupid but it is a culture and place that i do not know and i believe that not everything that you can find in the net is genuine ….
Will be happy if a person living there can share something
Thanks

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andres February 21, 2012 at 4:22 am

Hi MIP

i am Andres and i am from the Netherlands. I've been living in HK now For 3 weeks due to an internship for the upcoming 3 months.
i have to say there are several cultural communities and meeting for different fields of interests for example: Hiking there a group that arrange a meeting each week or so and they'll take you to one of the most beautiful sites in HK. Although i haven't seen any real street art like i am used to in Holland i think that if you figure out what you are looking for and actually take the time to look for it and socialize with people of the communities you definitely find cultures of your taste. In my case it was salsa and they even have realy good dancers here!

hope to have informed you a bit

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MIP February 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Hi Andres,
Thanks a lot for answering on my concirns… I took the job so i will be arriving at the end of March. I will explore and hope that will find "my" nice city places where i can ease my mind and give joy to my soul :) By the way i love hiking and dancing, so it's nice to know that i can do this too

Emm April 19, 2012 at 4:45 am

Hi MIP,

Hope you are enjoying Hong Kong. I am curious to know about the nature of your job role? I am in negotiations with an employer in Hong Kong who insists I give the expected salary but not been really successful in finding out the salary range for my kind of job. It is a mid-level event management job.

Cheers.

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Intern March 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Hi i got an internship that pays 10,000hkd/monthly is this enough to survive for 8 months

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david March 22, 2012 at 11:35 pm

HK$10,000 will not be enough, as you have to pay rent as well. I reckon you need about HK$15,000. as rent will cost around HK$4,000 -HK$5,000. there is food around HK$40 a meal times 2 meals (a day). which is H$80 x seven days.HK$560 a week.then there is travelling on top of this. so my figure is pretty acurate.

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Shekhar Prasad April 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Hi All,

I am an IT Professional from INDIA, and planning to migrate with my family to Hong Kong. I dont have any job offer as of now. I am not aware of Hongkong expenditures. What would be total cost of living (Rent for house+ Food+ Travel) for one month? Appriciate your quick response.
what salary would be good enough.

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Matt May 6, 2012 at 5:23 am

I have put together some figures after looking at a number of different sites, can something confirm that the below figures would be a realistic monthly expense if I moved to HK with my wife and 2 kids.
MONTHLY EXPENSES
•Rent HK$40,000
•Pre-School/Kinder HK$6,000
•International School HK$10,000
•General Living HK$9,000 (MTR, Lunch, Dinner, movies, clothes, etc..)
•Bills HK$4,000 (elec, gas, water, internet, phone, insurance)
•Groceries HK$7,000
•Maid/Nanny HK$4,000

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antonio May 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm

I am getting a job at Hong Kong and I would like to know if those numbers are real

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Vanessa May 10, 2012 at 1:39 am

Are the numbers stated in the aritcles in HK$ or US$? Just want to make completely sure!
Thanx

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kritika May 23, 2012 at 10:31 am

hi there,

I wanted to know what are the regular pay offers for a fresher in the field of fashion (manufacturing/designing job)? Is the industry welcoming to expats? since the average cost of living is aroung HKD 15000 for single personwhat i have known reading through the comments , is it feasible for a single non resident to stay and survive the high cost of living. Are there possibilities of PGs/ Hostels too in HKG?
Thanks

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Nick June 6, 2012 at 8:58 am

Hi

I live in New Zeland and looking to move to HK with my partner in December and was wondering if anyone would be able to give me some advice and ideas on living costs and any other considerations I need to keep in mind.

I would ideally like to have enough money for two people to survive for three months on no income, while searching for employment, but have now idea what it would cost for a couple to live (not just survive) per month i.e. rent, food, transport and other expenses.

Any advice and suggestions would be greatly appreciated

Thanks

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Milutin June 11, 2012 at 8:40 am

Hi,

I am future PhD student in Hong Kong, could anyone tell me is there possible to live with my wife with 13.600 HK$ ?

Thanks

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Gaurav June 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Hi,
I got a job in Hongkong. I have no idea about Hongkong. My company offer me aprox 3000 USD Dollar. I am married and I have one kid also. Can any one help me to figure out , how much cost i have pay every month in Hongkong, if I take 1 bhk house on rent and normal veg food.

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Sharee June 18, 2012 at 6:07 am

Hi, my husband has been offered a job over in Hong Kong for just over 45000 HKD per month for the 1st 6 months & than will receive a guaranteed payrise. Just wondering if this will get 2 children (4yr old & 1yr old), my husband & I by with the cost of living? We've been looking at Discovery Bay as he will be working at the airport, preferably a 3 bedroom place (at least) that is safe for children. I wouldn't require Domestic Help for the 1st year & for the 1st 6 months I wouldn't send my eldest son to Kindergarten/childcare, they'd both stay home with me (to save costs & get used to another country). My biggest concern is the safety of my children in a high rise building as my eldest son is a climber. Are they all child friendly? I noticed some apartments are located on ground floor or have a fenced grassed area. I need as much information as possible – all the pro's & con's I can possibly get to better prepare my family before we make definite decisions. So if you have anything else to add it would definitely be appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time.

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felix November 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm

iam from kenya and want to sturday at hong kong university anyboday to help me with information about accomodition?

felix

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Bini November 30, 2012 at 9:38 am

hi,

I got a job offer in Hong Kong Airport. Where is the best place to rent and how much should i pay for a single bed room but comfortable house?
How about having a car for transportation. is it affordable? how about getting affordable European (or equivalent) food as i am sensitive in adapting with Chinese foods?

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Zoya December 4, 2012 at 11:03 am

Hi 45000hk enough to live in hong kong for a family of 3..?

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MilAD February 8, 2013 at 10:15 am

Hi,
I have found a job in HK for 45000HK$/month.
as I have reviewd rents vary from 5000 — 45000/month.
on average, how much would an apartment ( furnished ), 1 bedroom ( approx. 80 sq.M ) cost in a middle-good level area ( preferably near Main Int. airport ) costs ? ( including utils )
also, living expense for 2 persons ( average-good living + average enteratining costs please )?
is 45000 HK$ enough ? or it is just stay alive money ?

Thank you very much for your helps guys.

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TaxSmartCPA May 11, 2013 at 12:30 am

one bed room small apartment like a middle-good level area will 20K to 30K a month

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Alex March 10, 2013 at 6:30 am

hi i have an offer to purseue my phd at CityU of Hong Kong, i will be give 14,000 HK per month. Can this amount be sufficient to cover my tuition fees, accomodation, living expence? plz note that i will be hosted in the University's campus.

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nagvendra kanoje May 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm

I got job offer of HKD 20000. Can you please suggest me some advice for reasonable living in Hong kong.
thank you

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Bhavna Sharma June 18, 2014 at 5:46 am

Hi, am an Indian and planning to migrate to Hong kong. I have done MBA in tourism from India. I want to know whether the possibility of getting a job in hong kong.
Plz help me out…..

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Paul September 30, 2014 at 5:50 am

Hello sir,
I got a job from hongkong salary of 30000 HKD. If it is enough for my family( my wife 2 kids 8 years & 5 years old)? Can i save money from my salary?.. Because i moving from india? Pls help me to give an idea..

Reply

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